while the worst are full of...well, probably not passionate intensity, but the impression of it is enough for some. The fact remains that Farage, loathsome as he may be, is A Personality and journos seem to love him, while they still turn down factual pieces about the EU's essential nature. Oh dear, Cameron, Clegg, Miliband...is it surprising that Ukip got away with murder? The main parties should have been spelling out messages like this
and, on a smaller scale, this
instead of which we heard little, as usual, about the calm, sane facts which would highlight an imperfect but well-meaning institution. Let's put it into perspective: a majority in this country WANTS the European project to continue, as do 75 per cent of the French. This is not a wipeout, it's a warning to get the message out there. And it might not be a bad thing if, given far right and left wingers now in some of the seats, the complacent elements were forced to limited compromises which would show the Greeks, for example, that they mean good and not harm.
In the meantime, after all the unsavoury facts about Ukip's representatives emerging in the papers over the past month, people still vote for it. Which means they're either disenfranchised old codgers, bigots, covert racists, hatemongers who think their day has come and it's time to have a bonfire of 'all that political correctness', or just plain stupid. Wake up, people! Would I be quite so rude to my Tory confreres? Absolutely not. Just check out what Ukip stands for, set grinning Farage aside for a moment and take a careful look at its spokesmen down in the cesspit. Farceurs like John Lydon Sullivan, who tweeted 'I rather often wonder if we shot one "poofter" (GBLT, whatevers), whether the next 99 would decide on balance, that they weren't after-all' (sic). There's an inspired rejoinder to this from my blogpal Jon Dryden Taylor here.
I'll leave you with the superb Stewart Lee* whose act was sent to me by friend Peter. For some reason the YouTube clip isn't downloadable so watch it here. The deliciously orchestrated wind-back-history 'they come over 'ere' rhetoric which is the heart of this genius turn starts around 2'57.
Bloody Latvian, coming over 'ere, knocking a national treasure into best-ever shape (Andris Nelsons pictured above by Richard Battye); bloody Finn, bloody Austrian, stealing plum Strauss roles from our girls and boys. Read my Arts Desk review of the Birmingham concert Rosenkavalier. Perfect it wasn't, but when it delivered, it was the tops. More anon on the preceding German Opera Discovery Day in the classy CBSO Centre: a palpable hit, I think I can say, with Dame Harriet Walter and other superb actors (plus two fine singers and pianist) saying they learned from the lecturers, said lecturers stunned and moved (to tears, in my case) by the performers.
*I think I love this man. From his Wiki entry:
'Lee caused controversy on his If You Prefer a Milder Comedian tour with a routine about Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond. Referring to Hammond's accident while filming in 2006, in which he was almost killed, Lee joked, "I wish he had been decapitated and that his head had rolled off in front of his wife". The Daily Mail termed this an "extraordinary attack" and, having been doorstepped by a Mail journalist, Lee quoted the routine by replying "It's a joke, just like on Top Gear when they do their jokes".
'Lee subsequently explained the joke:
' "The idea of what's acceptable and what's shocking, that's where I investigate. I mean, you can't be on Top Gear, where your only argument is that it's all just a joke and anyone who takes offence is an example of political correctness gone mad, and then not accept the counterbalance to that. Put simply, if Clarkson can say the prime minister is a one-eyed Scottish idiot, then I can say that I hope his children go blind." '
Watch the 'it's only a joke, just like on Top Gear' sequence here - because this one is downloadable. If you don't have the patience for the full works, zoom in at 6mins to see bully and sidekick impersonated.