On the Stump
There are just two weeks to go until polling day and certainly in Keynsham and NE Somerset it feels as though "election fever" has pushed the mercury up to 95. As one goes about the place meeting 'ordinary' people and listening to their 'concerns' one is invariably struck by the realisation that most issues that bother constituents generally cut across party lines. Whether worrying about drunken neighbours taking pot shots with air rifles, or the threat of uncontrolled mass immigration into the hamlet of Stanton Wick, it seems that on a local level at least, most people simply want to 'get on with their lives' and eat occasionally. Oft-times one finds oneself rather touched by the comparative innocence of residents, fretting about minor things such as subsidence, bin collections, their healthcare and pensions, or imminent eviction, when the far greater threat to their lives and indeed those of their progeny sits, bloated and impious across the English Channel. As most people are slowly realising, the greatest issue facing this really rather lovely nation of ours is the European Union and our relationship with it. Indeed, until the good burghers of Britain are given a say in the matter, the question of our membership of this meddlesome bestial leviathan will remain unresolved. Only by voting Conservative will a referendum on our membership be guaranteed.
There has been much speculation about the role "UKIP" might play in forming a coalition if Nigel and his excitable chums win enough seats on May the 7th. It has long been my view that with their firm old fashioned values, hatred of "common" markets, fondness for the Commonwealth, dedication to our armed forces, disdain for political correctness and winning ways with white working class men of a 'certain vintage' UKIP members are natural partners of the Tory party. During the "dark ages" of the Blair years many of these voters grew weary of metropolitan politicians, prancing about the place, kissing each other and introducing unworkable legislation such as the "minimum wage" or "human rights and equality legislation".
It was perhaps not surprising therefore that the early "noughties" saw a rise in extremist parties, as these chaps, fed up with limp, faddish and foppish policies drifted to the Lib Dems, the National Front or the BNP. It is to Nigel's considerable credit that he has wooed them back into the mainstream with promises to close our borders, send back immigrants that aren't pulling their weight and generally return things to the way they were in the early 1950s, before interfering EU bureaucrats imposed petty legislation and the dreaded ECHR on us all. There is much to admire in the UKIP model and one trusts that if enough of these likeable eccentrics are elected, they will help form the next coalition government. A rainbow of two colours closer in hue than 'yellow' and blue.
St George's Day
Finally we turn to St George's Day. An annual celebration of all that is wonderful about England. Naturally we have all had to put up with the usual socialist yahoo nonsense about George being a Syrian sheep farmer called "Kevin" or other such balderdash. All quite irrelevant. The wonderful thing about patron saints is that they don't change with the fashion of the times. Having a dragon spearing, maiden ravishing knight as our protector and guide is a rather inspiring thing. However, in our devoted veneration of the great man, we should not forget that England itself has produced a rich and varied list of saints closer to home.
One's particular favourite is Saint Eormonberg of Thanet, a Seventh Century Princess who spurned the overtures of a foreign king, intent on stealing her lands, by winning a miraculous wager with a leaping fawn and a bucket of cheese. Having fended off this French speaking barbarian she reigned happily over her people for many years before ascending into heaven on a fiery cloud. If Mr Farage is reading, he would do well to take note.