‘Fruitcakes and loons’, cheese and tea

secret strength of britain

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.

Years ago, a fellow blogger at the time, Gracchi, wrote a post for NO, in which he said:

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.

12 comments for “‘Fruitcakes and loons’, cheese and tea

  1. James Strong
    October 10, 2014 at 7:38 am

    The extremely uncertain power and meaning of images.
    You could just as well say that the picture shows Carswell as a serious man, a man of weight and substance in contrast to the eccentric.

  2. James Strong
    October 10, 2014 at 7:40 am

    You might also say that the picture shows that eccentrics in a by-election have as much right to be at the front as anyone else.

    • October 10, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      Absolutely bloody do have that right.

  3. October 10, 2014 at 7:50 am

    I had no idea that JR Ewing was standing against Carswell at clacton in fact I thought he was dead.
    I thought they got the bread vicker Giles Wattleandaub or whatever his name was, which to my mind WAS sheer lunacy.
    I love a good eccentric I have a very eccentric Uncle and love him to bits, i’ve always been drawn to eccentricity all my life and I think it’s nice to see JR stood at the front next to Carswell and wouldn’t have assumed anything sinister in it unless it was pointed out to me but then I am very naive on occasion.

    • October 10, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      It just adds that je ne sais quoi, non?

  4. Nope
    October 10, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    “you can’t just decide to build a rocket to go to the moon (theoretically you could in the West)”

    That depends which “West” you mean. Here in the UK you bloody well can’t. You can’t built your own design of aeroplane unless it weighs less than 115 kg.
    You can’t build your own autogyro or helicopter.
    It doesn’t matter if you are an expert engineer, craftsman and pilot. Unless you are an established manufacturer. Rules are rules.
    So much for encouraging innovation etc.

    Sorry to go off post

    • October 10, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      You didn’t go off post at all – you were dead on post.

  5. Furor Teutonicus
    October 11, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    XX Can you imagine a platform like that in, say, France or Germany? XX

    Yes. We DO.

    What is your problem?

    Another expert on Germany because he once had to sit in Frankfurt (Main) airport, due to fog, for two hours on his way to Mallorca?

    • October 11, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      You have your loons to, do you?

      • Furor Teutonicus
        October 12, 2014 at 4:31 am

        Certainly do. Trouble is with this Proportional crap, they stand a much better chance of getting into Parliament than the do in the U.K.

        Merkel being a perfect example.

  6. October 11, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    I always remember that the Original ‘Raving Loony’ Lord Sutch, who was both an extremely likeable bloke and a seasoned campaigner, stood on such statements as ‘why was there only one Monopolies Commssion’, a question which has never been satisfactorily answered, as well as votes for 18-year-olds, all day opening for pubs, and abolition of the 11-plus.

    He was a nice man, ultimately doomed by his battles with depression; but one hell of a sight better than just about all the present crop of politicians, and a great deal more honourable as well.

    • October 11, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      The day this sort of thing disappears is the day we go down the gurgler too.

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