Politicians love to invoke history. It's fodder for Syria, tax policy, welfare reform and what to do about the environment. The late historian Tony Judt once argued that we suffer from a dangerous illusion, namely "'that we live in a time without precedent . . . and that the past has nothing to teach us''. Sure enough.
Joey Barton should not be allowed another chance to grace a football pitch. There is no place for behaviour like his on a football pitch, or indeed off a football pitch. He is a common thug that deserves another stint behind bars - maybe he will be able to make proper sense of his favourite philosophers then.