The arguments seemed to boil down to it being the right question, but the wrong time or the wrong question at the right time. Whatever it was, the upshot was that democracy is too dangerous thing in the hands of the general public and the whole thing has been shovelled into a dusty corner.
You can understand the politicians’ point of view. They’re still twitchy after the Arab Spring and the last thing they want is a European Autumn, not without checking the layout of the local sewage system first.
The phrase that popped up several times was that we needed to ‘get ahead of the curve‘. Indeed, one politico interviewed on radio went as far as to suggest that it would be a very bad thing to be ‘behind the curve‘. But what exactly is this mysterious curve?
I wondered if it perhaps referred to where getting ahead of the curve of the wave sees you bowling along happily to the theme tune of Hawaii 5-0. whereas get behind it and you’re floundering around, spitting out salt water and seaweed.
Or maybe it is a baseball term. I’d heard of being thrown a curve ball, but somehow I think Tory politicians would be more into cricketing metaphors.
I had to look it up in the end and here is the explanation from UsingEnglish.com:
Ahead of the curve: literally refers to your position on the statistical bell curve, where the top of the curve represents the median, average result. By being ahead of the curve you represent the top percentile of results that either has the advanced skills or understanding that sets you apart.
Are you any the wiser, because I’m not. At least not as far as a seemingly simple question such as should we or shouldn’t we is concerned.
Perhaps it’s because I’m behind the curve. Or out of the arc.