What, if anything, strikes you most about this picture? My first thought was that the Beeb was keen to show Douglas Carswell only in proximity to the Raving Loonies – have a look at the shots they’ve been using.
My second thought was that, in so doing,they were spitting on a great British tradition – the eccentric. Can you imagine a platform like that in, say, France or Germany? We send things up over here.
The story really isn’t the point here though- its the individuality, its the eccentricity (in England’s that’s a virtue)- there is a line in the Lord of the Rings when Gandalf tells Frodo that what’s worth fighting for is all the absurd Bolgers and Boffins and Bagginses- that’s the same sense you get from Wallace and Gromit.
These two characters are crackers, they are mad, their lives revolve around inventions, cheese (particularly Wensleydale) and tea- but in some sense they are the essense of the whole of Western civilisation. Civilisation isn’t just Michelangelo and Machiavelli, its Wallace and his efforts to get to the moon, its loving Wensleydale and its a dog knitting in a chair and rats with shades over their eyes, its merry eccentricity which is a value all to itself.
The absurdity of life is in many ways its essence- when we talk about freedom often we lose sight of the fact that freedom isn’t just a political issue- its a personal issue as well. Put simply in a totalitarian state like North Korea, you can’t live a life based on Wensleydale and tea- you can’t just decide to build a rocket to go to the moon (theoretically you could in the West) and you can’t be madly, loveably, endeeringly and frustratingly often eccentric.
That’s the reason its important to be free- its so Wallaces and Gromits continue to flourish in our society.
Amen to that.