The certainty of mowers, life and the EU

I took my ageing, ailing mower to the menders last week. They told me straight away what was wrong with it and guaranteed a price to fix it. The certainty was comforting. In an uncertain world, the more things that can be nailed down, boxed up and laid out, the better. We have a natural urge to seek certainty.

Mowers are simple. At least they are for the folk who fix hundreds of them a year. Mowers lead narrow lives with a single purpose: they are predictable.

Other things are less predictable. Like life. We are complex creatures, leading a complex, interconnected existence. We cannot know what will happen to us, who we will meet or how the dice will roll. Very little is certain about our lives.

The same, I suspect, is true of the current situation in the EU. There is no-one who has fixed hundreds of sputtering monetary and political unions. I’m reasonably certain that no-one can know with much certainty how things will turn out.

Yet, from both the Leaves and the Remains, I hear a great deal of certainty. (There will be some who are actually certain; and some who have only a hunch and are pretending to be certain.) But whichever way things go after the 23 June, we shall still be in an unpredictable situation.

I’d feel a lot more comfortable with less-certain talk. Sadly, because of Mower Syndrome, that doesn't earn votes.

See also Government doesn't get complexity