Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Call of Duty

Battle Joined
Hung over is not as term I would use to describe how I felt this morning; being at death's door comes close but not quite close enough after a visit to the Wine (and port, and cognac, and a few glasses of Fino) show at the Business Design Centre last night.

I'm feeling a lot better now having somehow risen, Lazarus-like, to make it to the Pro-Referendum rally outside parliament today. Greater love hath no man, and all that.

The numbers were not enormous, but the crowd was in good voice and good order too - even one gentleman with the misfortune to have an uncanny resemblance to David Miliband was left unmolested. Fortunately for someone who does not hanker after full withdrawal from the EU the speakers, a who's who of thinking Euroscepticism, targeted the bulk of their fire power on the manifest injustice of Labour's lie over the referendum rather than the EU itself.

I suspect that I would have been very much in the minority in my own views. Outside the established political parties I could identify five different campaigning organisations represented, all of which, as far as I'm aware, advocate full withdrawal. Actually there were six, but as this blog is not in receipt of any public funding I feel no obligation to mention the last one's badly shaven baboons.

There are many views on how our relationship with the EU should evolve and it is important that even those who may even advocate more power for Brussels, but understand the desperate need for the public to have their say in the fundamental ways our country is governed, must be able to feel part of the campaign for a referendum. Much of the more positive media coverage of the referendum has come when some of those not fundamentally opposed to the reform treaty have come out in favour of a referendum as a matter of principle and it's important that these people are not alienated from the cause.

Much credit though to the organisers and the speakers. Farage was on good form, was he not, after what I have heard wasn't the greatest of keynote conference speeches, before retiring to the nearest pub for ale and nicotine, while Steve Radford of the Liberal Party injected a bit of fire. Dan Hannan confused the baboons, invoking not only Shakespeare but Plato too for good measure and contrasted nicely with the plain speaking Neil Herron. Jens-Peter Bonde brought a European flavour to proceedings, as well as potentially good tidings from polling in Denmark. I think that, for me, the best effort was by MEP and Freedom Association Chairman Roger Helmer, who claimed to be a newcomer to politics by megaphone, which if true makes it an even more impressive effort.

Also in evidence was a good cross section of the population in the crowd. Certainly those of a certain age were slightly over represented, but hardly overwhelmingly so. As with any such event there were the usual Bildeberg conspiracy theory loons and their ilk as well as the lower primate life forms, but they were the few and most seemed just like normal people who want their say.

Anyway, it's time for some hair of the dog.


Chris Palmer said...

Yes, you're right, a pity about the baboons - it's a free country I suppose.

If it's the same person I think I too saw, are you really sure it wasn't actually Miliband?!

Dusanne said...

I think the best thing that can be said for the simian brethren is most of their squealing from the sidelines brought nothing but disdainful stares. As you say, it's a free country - it's just a shame that their self serving banners will probably end up in a few selectively cropped pictures before long.

As for the Miliclone - nah...that would smack of being willing to engage in real debate rather than simply lecturing - way too far off the party line!

Thanks for dropping by.