Monday, July 07, 2008

National pride

Reflecting on the papers this morning, one was struck about how dull they all were – lacking in passion and interest. One flicks through in desultory fashion, hardly bothering to read most of the stories.

This is in stark contrast to the weekend, where we learn that 125,000 people turned up to watch the Vulcan fly at Waddington Air Show. That says something about our nation, where an icon of British greatness can attract such a huge audience.

Thousands were prepared to drive out to the middle of nowhere, spending hours in traffic queues (it took us over two hours to travel the last ten miles – see picture) all for a few minutes of wonderment and pride.

And it certainly was the Vulcan that was the draw. Throughout the air show, with all the stands and other entertainments, you often wonder why people come – so few seem actually to be watching the aircraft. But, when this great beast took off, everything stopped as attention focused solely on the aircraft.

When politicians talk blithely about "Britishness" and about restoring a sense of pride in our nation, therefore, it just demonstrates how out of touch they are. That pride never went away – it is simply that what we regard as important differs from the ideas of the prattling politicians.

In other words, the passion still exists – it is just that the politicians have lost their ability to harness it. The world goes on without them and the more they posture and preen, the less interest we have in their affairs.

Perhaps if David Cameron had turned up at the Air Show, he might have demonstrated an affinity with the "common man", but the interests of us "oiks" would never hold any attraction for him and his ilk. And then, the "carbon footprint" would have mortified him.

The same goes for the "colleagues" and their grand "European" experiment. They talk glibly about addressing the concerns of "European citizens" but, in truth, they know diddly squat about what makes us tick. No wonder the majority of us, quite rightly, have little interest in their grand project.

On that miraculous Saturday, therefore, when the Vulcan took to the skies again – there was perhaps only one regret – that the bomb bay was not filled with ordnance, with the destination Brussels via Westminster. All we can do is live in hope…

I'm off to London, so light blogging from me.


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