Odious To Joy
This week saw the United Kingdom’s image demeaned worldwide by the sight of a group of its elected representatives turning their backs when the European anthem, Ode To Joy’ was played at the opening of the newly-elected European Parliament.
It was a shameful and puerile attempt to garner cheap publicity by the Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage and, in the view of some, it was reminiscent of the Nazi party turning its back on the speaker of the Reichstag in 1926.
Indeed, it may be considered more than shameful as Farage has been identified as an alleged fascist on more than one occasion.
In 2013, the Independent newspaper ran a story headed “Nigel Farage schooldays letter reveals concerns over fascism” in which it reported that “Channel 4 News obtains a letter about Ukip leader Nigel Farage, from his days as a schoolboy, in which teachers are quoted as accusing him of being “racist” and “fascist”. Later, a former schoolfriend ‘outed’ him in a similar manner.
Farage has, of course, denied those claims, but one can’t help but recall Mandy Rice-Davies’ response when rebutting Lord Astor’s denial of an affair at the time of the Profumo scandal: “Well he would, wouldn’t he?”.
And then? Well, we then had the unedifying and grossly offensive sight of former UK minister Anne Widdicombe seeking to compare the UK’s exit from the EU with the emancipation of slaves during the nineteenth century. That is the point at which, for once, I agree with one of the Conservative party’s current ministers, David Gauke, who recently said:
“A willingness by politicians to say what they think the public want to hear, and a willingness by large parts of the public to believe what they are told by populist politicians, has led to a deterioration in our public discourse.”
“Rather than recognising the challenges of a fast-changing society require sometimes complex responses, that we live in a world of trade-offs, that easy answers are usually false answers, we have seen the rise of the simplifiers.”
“In deploying this sort of language, we go to war with truth.”
Here’s the limerick:
So, Farage and his execrable chums
Showed the electorate that if it succumbs
To the lies they propound
They’ll soon turn around
And show that they’re nothing but bums.