Some years ago when I was a councillor, I attended a big public meeting called by London Transport, as it was then. The occasion was 'Consultation' on a plan to improve the bus services for a huge, sprawling, isolated council estate (covering 2 entire electoral wards, if that helps to convey the scale) that was fairly dependent on said buses. LT's plan was radical but clever and - history records - was in due course implemented with great success.
But that was all in the future. At the meeting, speaker after speaker rose from the floor to thunderous applause, and they each the same two points: (1) the current bus service is crap; (2) nothing must be fundamentally changed. As Einstein said: "Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results".
This, then, is the human condition, the very basic stuff of politics.
Michael Portillo's TV essay on the Great Euro Crisis (Wednesday of last week) brought all this to mind**. There he was, interviewing every Greek and German citizen high and low that he could lay his camera on, getting them to illustrate his thesis and, sometimes, to agree with it flat out; namely that current euro set-up lay at the root of their problems. But with a single and non-representative exception, none of them would abandon the Euro.
Innate conservatism ? Fear of something worse ? Expression of deep-seated support for the federast euro-project ?
Probably not quite the last of those; although we in this island have very little intuitive grasp of how far enthusiasm for that project runs in many quarters. But the humano-political condition was on full display.
And something else, which is fairly germane to these considerations: no-one was particularly exercised over the anti-democratic aspects of the major political interventions of the last 9 months' and more. Oh yes, democracy comes a pretty poor third, or worse, after 'jam tomorrow' and 'grass is greener'. The senior German minister interviewed, Wolfgang Schäuble was particularly sinister on this: MEPs are elected, he beamed - what more do you want ?
Not hard to see how demagogues play their hands in such circumstances, and how Europe ended up under the totalitarians in the 1930's. One way or the other. Yes, London Transport simply ignored all those speeches from the floor.
Well. What else could they do ?
** Literary allusion: geddit ? small prize for correct answer
UPDATE Purplepangolin was on this like a shot, identifying it as Yeats (and jolly apposite, too as I think you'll agree). As prize, he has nominated that we give publicity for this good deed - which we hasten to do. Support Martin House Hospice and Alastair Green's run !