Somehow, I have found myself on the email list of the Quora website.
This is a site where users can ask and answer questions of each other.
I guess that most of the users are American as the most frequent questions refer to guns, fundamental Christianity and the Beatles.
Amongst these are those asking advice on various conspiracy theories – most often the view that the earth is flat and some mysterious group is trying to fool us into thinking that it is round.
I haven’t bothered to post an answer as I feel that if you believe that, there is perhaps a deficit of intellectual rigour in your life, and if you need help in persuading your friends, then either change your friends or do a bit of reading.
I feel much the same about most of the other strange ideas which come up. The moon landings were faked, which according to an answer on Quora is the view of almost half of Americans (bear in mind that 68 per cet of statistics are made up).
There are aliens at Area 51, the twin towers were blown up by the US Government … the list goes on and I thought I had heard them all.
Not so. On the way to the Straw Bear event in Whittlesey, I fell into conversation with a fellow drinker on Ely station who believed the closure of a vast number of pubs over the past few years is a Government plot.
The logic behind this theory is that pubs provide a place for like-minded people to meet together and plot the overthrow of the regime.
He suggested that first coffee shops and later pubs were the centre of revolutionary ides and that closing them down would leave would be anarchists nowhere to meet and therefore the Government remains strong and stable.
It’s an interesting idea, and it’s true that the Littleport riots started off in the Crown and that the die-hards were eventually cornered in the George and Dragon.
One of the consequences of the introduction of the Beer House Act in 1830 was the creation of a number meeting places that were effectively out of bounds to the moneyed classes and which may have been centres for planning illegal protests such as the Captain Swing movement.
And yet the very event that we were travelling to surely disproves the theory.
Why would the Government allow such a huge gathering with the pubs so full the we spent most of our time in the car parks at the back, patronising the pop up bars?
But what if the Morris dancer’s tunes had subliminal messages of obedience woven into their rhythms?
The sheer number of people would account for the fact that there needed to be well over 20 dancing groups and that you were never out of earshot of the fiddles and bells.
As someone once said, ‘Guilty feet ain’t got no rhythm’. In this godless age, perhaps it’s Strictly Come Dancing that is ‘the opium of the masses’.
And what of the coffee shops?
Maybe there is a secret Government department developing new drinks. Can you imagine revolution being plotted over a skinny flat white cappuccino latte? By Jove, I think Martin was on to something. I must go and check with the experts on Quora.