Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world

MAY 22nd 2014


My last post but one considered whether I should or should not vote for UKIP in the election for the European Parliament on May 22nd. That date has come and gone, and I did vote for UKIP. So did a great many other people in the UK. Many others in other European countries took corresponding action. The extent of this vote has rocked political establishments, most noticeably in France.

My hope is that the vote will strengthen the hand of David Cameron in his attempts to reform European institutions. I am not seriously seeking a total withdrawal from Europe because isolation so often leads to stagnation. I know that change is inevitable. Some of the things I loved are going, and won’t come back. Like the peaceful all-male atmosphere of an English Public House. And  globalisation means that people from poorer countries will naturally become aware of better holes to go to and will want to make the change. Is it morally right to try to stop them?

A few days later the BBC news showed Cameron in Brussels mouthing the words that UKIP voters want to hear. The news also commented than supporters of the EU were saying “It will be alright when the recession is over. The feel-good factor will make everybody love Europe”. I doubt it. I think that the real strength of the opposition is a dislike of external rule. It is worth remembering that one reason the British Empire folded was the desire of local people for self-determination. Many colonial territories were economically worse off after independence, but nobody asked the British to come back. The desire to reject foreign intervention is very strong.

Pursuing the idea of non-interference I noticed a comment by Mrs. Farage that “Nigel (UKIP leader) drinks and smokes too much.” Close beside it was a report that UKIP intends to target the labour heartlands. I wonder if the image Farage projects is a conscious signal of solidarity to people (like me) who rather object to being told what to do by institutions like the Nanny State. It is hard to oppose worthy government edicts, but what about freedom to live my life in my own way? If in my view the immediate pleasure of alcohol and nicotine outweigh future (uncertain) pain, why must I stop? My own father smoked heavily and, when told that it might kill him, replied “Something else will probably get me first”. Just deny me the use of the NHS if you feel I am anti-social. G.K.Chesterton ended one of his poems with the line “But whether he went to heaven or hell, that was his own affair”. I also remember that the prohibition experiment in the USA failed.

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