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It is fun to be tugged towards behaviour you can neither explain nor justify

The most popular reasons for not going to the moon included "not enough to do" (23%), "would rather visit places on Earth" (10%), and "reject premise that safe return could be guaranteed" (9%).

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A Trip To The Moon

Last year YouGov ran a poll to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. The question: if it was free and safe return could be guaranteed, would you want to go to the moon? A majority of respondents declared that they would not.

Now, I realise the last decade of trying to subsist in this country has felt like being trapped on a cruise ship slowly sinking into a vast ocean of hot tar, but despite everything this result really sent a slug of morose energy down my crinkled spine. I don't know if I want to live in a country where the average person wouldn't pull a sickie to pop up to the lunar orb.

The most popular reasons for not going to the moon included "not enough to do" (23%), "would rather visit places on Earth" (10%), and "reject premise that safe return could be guaranteed" (9%). Who are these people? What vital element of childhood awe has been stripped from them that the objectively pointless trial of being blasted towards an empty orbital rock holds no romance, no inexplicable pull on the adventure gland?

Four years ago I was offered a trip to search for the lost city of El Dorado in the jungles of Columbia. The area in which our search would take place was listed as a potential location of armed militias and the habitat of two of the three insects ranked at the top of the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. The trip would need to involve at least one survivalist and one person capable of shooting another human being.

The project never acquired the funding and I never needed to make that final decision, but for all its dangers I could never completely talk myself out of it. I couldn't betray some leftover afterimage of my child self. The part that doesn't want to admit, once and for all, that I'll never discover the mythical South American City of Gold.

But can you imagine? Can you take some time out of your busy life just to dream about it? Are you capable of that kind of active daydreaming? If so, place yourself in that scenario, construct the scene in your mind's eye. You've taken a couple of months off work. You return to the office with a few scars and a tan, casually explaining to your co-workers that you found El Dorado and that it'll be on the news later. I can't stop thinking about it. I couldn't possibly shut the door on that slim possibility somehow slithering its way into reality.

We are still a country that dreams. My only wish is that, if we absolutely must have a dream that doesn't make sense on paper and is actually very likely to be dangerous with no measurable benefits, can it not be something plucked from the annals of childhood fantasy? Why does it have to be Brexit?

If there's anything to be taken from Brexit, it's that at least the British public can be motivated by an implausible dream. I wish the dream we chose wasn't based around street party-fuelled imperialism apologia and a misremembering of the 1950s.

Why spend all that effort rocketing yourself to the moon when it only takes a bit of grit and a couple of misleading buses to transform your own community into a desolate landscape that betrays no sign of life?

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