I had the radio playing in the background a couple of weeks ago â French radio, naturally. 80, perhaps 90,000 people were converging on Paris to demonstrate. They had come from towns and villages across the breadth of France. The rural French are so fond of marching on Paris, which is viewed by most as another country, as indeed it was until a mere few generations ago, that it barely created a ripple in my concentration on other matters. Until the announcer started to interview a French journalist live.
âWho are these peopleâ? the Parisian journalist queried. âWhere do they come fromâ? âWhy are they doing thisâ? âWho is mobilising themâ?
Perfectly reasonable journalistic questions when you see them in black and white on the printed page. You needed to hear those questions delivered in the original whining, querulous, baffled and positively petulant tone to understand why I promptly pricked up my ears to pay attention.
The answer, of course, was that they were that strange breed known as âvotersâ; ordinary Joeâs or âPierreâsâ in this case. Widget makers from Lille, nurses from Bordeaux, farmers from Limoges, dockers from Marseilles. The everyday people who toil away providing the tax money for metro Paris to exist and pontificate on the matters which interest them.
They had taken their precious day off from that toil to stomp the Parisian cobbles and let the government know that whatever metro Parisâs view of Gay marriage, it was not shared by these voters. It was not the demonstration which interested me, but the genuine bafflement with which it was greeted by those in the capital. So long insulated in their world of smart dinner parties, opera and theatre, haute couture, week-end breaks in Morocco, the entire glossy magazine world that is so dependent on the creative and imaginative input of metro-man and woman, that they could only view these angry voters as creatures from another planet. Neanderthals who must have been âmobilisedâ by some malign force, rather than the bed rock, the corner stone, of French life, perfectly capable of forming their own view.
When the Conservative party were campaigning in the shires, David Cameron said nothing to the Birmingham widget makers, the Bristol nurses, the Welsh farmers, regarding his intention to change the definition of marriage. When the Lib-Dems agreed to shore up the Conservative share of the vote and allow them the keys to No 10, not a word was said about legislating to allow gay marriage. Once in power in the âbig cityâ, free from the constraints of appealing to the âuneducatedâ masses, the progressive agenda came tumbling out of the closet into the Cabinet.
The United Kingdom is not so united.
In the shires there are the âbigotsâ as Nick Clegg was supposed to have referred to those who cling to quasi religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman. A supremely political move. The âbigotâ word was contained in a pre-released draft of a forthcoming speech, thus appeasing the gay lobby, but then quietly removed, allowing Clegg to tell the nation that this was ânot what he thoughtâ at all, at all, at allâ¦
In metro-land, there are the âprogressivesâ, a small sector of the general population who abhor the âsemi-paganâ beliefs of the man on the Clapham Omnibus. Once free of elections, it is they who pull the strings of our Politicians. It is in London that the fortunes are made that shore up party finances; it is in London that the elegant soirees are held where financiers and ship builders, Europhiles with their promise of lucrative futures in the EU, and those who would see a secular Britain hold sway.
The man in the shires wants a government that will organise a good education for his son, not send him to Timbuktu to slaughter Jihadists fleeing Libya. He wants a police force with time to ensure the streets are safe for his wife and daughter, not field hundreds of officers to fret over a footballer being called a âpoofterâ by an enraged fan. He wants a local hospital that will care for his Mother compassionately, not starve her to death whilst concentrating resources on training midwives to look for signs of genital mutilation carried out 30 years ago on Somalian refugees.
If you ask the ordinary man in the shires whether it is important to chase Jihadists from one country to the next, he probably doesnât have a view, beyond âplease donât use his son to do soâ; if you ask him whether it is a good idea to call a footballer a poofter, he might agree that it is not in an ideal world, but could he have the ideal world first please? Enquire of his views on genital mutilation and he would tell you its barbaric, but letâs sort his Motherâs care out first.
Mention the Equality Act and he might even say that those who wish to engage in genital mutilation are as far removed from his life as those who wish to engage in homosexuality; let them get on with it but donât mock his religious beliefs, and whilst you are about it, can his local landlord and all the customers please have a cigarette with their beer as they always did in the past. He might be tempted to ask whether Maria Miller has actually read her words back to herself:
It is not the role of government to tell people what to believe. However, the State does have a responsibility to treat people fairly.
âTelling people what to believeâ is precisely what the government is doing. And negating its responsibility to treat people fairly.
I have an idea. Rather than seceding from the EU, why donât we leave London in the EU, and secede from London?
Let London continue with its obsessive belief in progressive politics. Let it continue as a strange land more concerned with how and by whom a fox meets itâs death; its fixation on Somalian female genitalia; its desire to rewrite the bible as Adam and Adam, Eve and Eve; its fascination with bombing desert lands.
I really donât have a problem with any of their beliefs, they are free to hold them â I do have a problem with them imposing their beliefs on the rest of the country.
The Shires could return to a collection of villages where the bank manager made a decision whether to lend you money based on his knowledge of you, not the diktat of head office based on their need for gambling funds to play the global casino; where the local hospital hired nurses based on their caring nature, not their ability to write an essay on treating transgendered patients sensitively; where policemen knew who the local villains were, not how to write a poem on diversity; where the midwife was more concerned with checking your babies heartbeat, not agonising over whether to report on the state of your clitoris; where marriage was a public statement of your intention to raise your children honorably, not a political tool to appease your financial backers.
âWho are these peopleâ that rule over a farming nation that imports most of its food, a nation comprised of immigrants dating back to Viking days that requires lessons in integration; a nation that created more inventions, and more industry than any other, that now depends on the global gamblers known as financiers to survive; a nation that tamed a wild, inhospitable, wet and windy landscape to create verdant and productive farmland; that sent its children to the village school and saw them emerge sufficiently educated to train as engineers and doctors, that now requires a quota to allow them into the universities; that delivered healthy babies in one room hovels that now die neglected in high tech hospitals?
London is as far removed from Britain as Paris is from France â and I am more baffled by our political masters than they could ever be by us.
âWho are these peopleâ? âWhere do they come fromâ? âWhy are they doing thisâ? âWho is mobilising themâ?
Indeed! Secession, itâs the only answer.