As the smoke settles on the Clegg / Farage discussion, so begins the next big 'Yes' / 'No' debate. I am, of course, referring to the sound of the new 2014 Formula One engines. I admit, for those who show little or no interest in this sport you would be forgiven for thinking this is an irrelevant debate wrapped in banality. But how wrong you would be.
Last week I Tweeted, "They sound beautiful...balanced and throaty with a whisper of turbo. A refined mechanical orchestra." This was then re-Tweeted by the excellent @SkySportsF1 and thus initiated a mini Tweet-storm the likes of which my meagre and baron Twitter feed has never seen.
If you thought the Euro-debate was divisive, just ask an F1 petrol head for their opinion on engine noise. As you've doubtlessly ascertained, my position on the matter is quite clear. I love the sound of the new engines. They have a wonderful gurgle which is unsurpassed; a mechanised note that midnight chavs can only dream of as they parade their Saxos and Corsas in the MacDonalds car park having just aimlessly reversed in to the accessories aisle of Halfords.
And the soft breath of a turbo? Well, that's a sound increasingly forgotten with the evolution of modern cars. It conjures up idyllic memories of my friends Fiesta RS Turbo where, in 1991, I had my first experience of the 'whistle' accompanied by the inevitable lag followed by a chest jolting punch of speed. What fun we had showboating this vehicle in the MacDonalds car park at midnight. (Chavs had yet to be invented so this was merely youngster having a jolly time in a car.)
Twitter, it seems, was far less nostalgic and unmoved by my observations.
"@flub5568 - No no no no no they sound awful just like the boy racers cars." They wish (see above)
"@ClareNorth - Disagree! Where are the roars? The deep wails? The banshee screams? Louder the better!" You've got to love her passion for a racket, but I'd much rather have a siren song than a banshee wail.
"@rafasturias - Then go see a refined mechanical orchestra. We want f1 engines. And f1 engines are loud & furious, not refined." I think this chap's getting confused with NASCAR.
"@terryemail - They sound more like a Dyson than an F1 car!" If that were true, I'd hoover more.
"@JeffHirst3 - Next you'll be saying put a vase with pretty flowers on the front wing." Yes. With fairy lights round the cockpit.
"@f1nutt - An orchestra also needs to be loud Beethoven & Tchaikovsky would agree!!" Beethoven was deaf and Tchaikovsky wrote Swan Lake. Which was quiet in places. I think.
And so it continued. It seems, therefore, passion for F1 encapsulates every aspect of the sport. Not just the drivers, the technicalities, the teams, the tracks...but the sound too. This, we've learned, is an aspect far more critical than anyone could have imagined. Let's not forget, they're not just turning the volume down for the sake of turning the volume down; there are numerous technical and developmental reasons why the 2014 F1 cars sound so different (excellent). But for some, I guess it introduces a further taming of the sport. One more step away from the insanity of mid-20th Century racing when the cars were raw, visceral and unpredictable. I get that. But for me, F1 has always been about hard racing wrapped in evolution and the new engines are part of that paradigm.
Such are the many facets of F1, different people take different things from it. And that fact alone makes it dynamic and exciting and why tinkering with the engine creates such a fuss. There is no right or wrong, in or out; just another opinion. Fortunately, I like it. And that's a good thing because the days of drum-splitting, glass-shattering aural craziness are over as the rumbling and whistling march of change has arrived.
Let's face it, if Manchester United played better by singing 'Call Me Maybe' on the pitch, would there be any complaints from the fans? If the wins came and the games were good, they'd soon get over it.