I’d rather be a Ploughman than Icarus


Can we trust our parachute?

Today, Tuesday 15th January 2019, will be a historic day in UK politics as the BBC is predicting Mrs May faces the biggest defeat any government has suffered in 100 years.

Yesterday she suffered a defeat in the House of Lords, and today MPs will be debating her deal, with voting expected to take place as from 7pm, depending on any amendments that are allowed.

So why do we feel so uninvolved? I currently work in a large office complex which gets 20,000 visitors a month. People come and go and no-one talks about BREXIT.

Just ask yourself how you would ask Paul’s excellent question


Judging from the replies, most people are shrugging their shoulders and getting on with it. 

The people who are talking about BREXIT – seem as sick of it as the people coming and going in WeWork Moorgate. Infact I met one MP yesterday at Prospect the Union who was quite candid about his state of mind.

In expressing my exasperation with the situation, I am not dismissing the work of those on either side who passionately campaign in one direction or other, I admire Gina Miller and Ros Altmann for their categorical support of remaining, my own partner is as categoric in an opposite view. But like the vast majority of people I know, I’d rather discuss stuff that I can be a part of – and I feel excluded from the BREXIT debate.

icarus 3

I love this image of a Plowman, getting on with his life, while Icarus falls from the sky, his wings collapsing having soared too close to the sky. Auden wrote a great poem about it which has stayed with me since school.

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

For Paul. Ros and Gina, the events unfurling in Westminster today may be the focus of attention, the rest of us will turn on the news tonight to find out what has or hasn’t been accomplished and then have supper or go to bed.

We had our say, we know what we voted and we know that the country split pretty well 50 -50 but that “leave” won. Now we are leaving, but it seems – not on the best of terms.

We’re being told that the Prime Minister says that parliament will be held to account for whatever happens next and she is right. I can remember us joining the EEC and I remember drinking beer with Nigel Farage in the Westminster Arms hearing him talk of leaving it. I have met with Gina and Ros a few times in the past couple of years but I’ve never discussed BREXIT with them or anybody else. It is not something that I can get involved with – I have devolved the decision to Paul Masterson and 650 other MPs and by their fruits they will be judged. Theresa May, as she usually is – is right.

That I can’t be bothered to take sides on this issue isn’t unusual. That meeting at Prospect didn’t take a view on what was going on in Westminster, we were too busy trying to figure out how CDC might improve the pension saving experience of hundreds of thousands of ordinary people.

I don’t know what Paul Masterson’s view on BREXIT is and I don’t want to know, that he is keen enough to turn up at our meeting and (as a conservative politician), speak on behalf of collective pension provision is enough.

We’ll keep plowing, while those who are trying to fly high, risk doing an Icarus and falling fast to their nemesis!

icarus 2

The fallen Icarus – wings clipped when he flew too close to the sun

I can’t say that no view is a good view, but I’d rather be the Ploughman than Icarus.



About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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1 Response to I’d rather be a Ploughman than Icarus

  1. Dave C says:

    Did you vote for PR or not?

    If you voted no, then you’ve got the MPs you deserve.

    Judging them is irrelevant, if you let party politics and fear of job security dictate what your “kind of” democratically elected MPs do.

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