Last Thursday, me, myself and my second oldest son cruised the 100 or so miles up a fluid M6 to the noble English town of Penrith, Cumbria.
We breezed all the way up at around 85, it was a bloody perfect warm blue sky evening, hardly any traffic on the road, everyone seemed happy apart from the suicidal insects totalling themselves on my windscreen.
We pulled into the Penrith Rugby Union Club car park at around 7:25 – just five minutes to go to the start of the meet. Walking toward the club-house we looked westward across the pitch, the brooding peaks of the Lake District punctured the sky. Saddleback and Skiddaw, cathedrals in stone dominated the horizon as we stood routed in admiration at this fantastic display. A setting Sun and a palette load of subtle hues seemed to rubber stamp our very reason for being there….. this was England, cradle of the democratic process, giant of culture, research and progress – and it was damn well worth fighting for.
We strolled into the hall, there were about 50 people in there – and I have to be honest, most of them were crusties (and I include myself in that category) which was a little disappointing – where were all the young ‘uns? We sought out the bar, bought a couple of scoops and a raffle ticket - and meandered back to the hall. I greeted Christine Constable, speaker for the English Democrats. We’ve met quite a few times before – and no doubt will be meeting her a lot more in the future as more and more of my time is dedicated to furthering ‘the cause’….. Just then, a woman came up to me and said "Are you Alfie?"
And I was.
Scilla Cullen from the CEP had just introduced herself. She seems a very nice lady – and she was first up with her talk, which was basically about the just cause for an English Parliament. She was then followed by Christine, who gave a more political slant to proceedings and expanded the discussion to other issues including Europe etc.
The BBC was there, doing a report for last Sunday’s Politics Show. Obnoxious reporter, Max ‘hair dye by L’oreal’ Cotton swanned around wearing a beige safari suit with built in designer creasage - honestly, it was straight out of the John Noakes workwear wardrobe. He prowled around, privately rubbishing the arguments here, attempting to belittle us there…… "I mean, if a Scottish Nationalist stood in Chester, would you vote for him?"…… He threw that one to me and my mate Ed whilst he was having a fag break outside…… What the hell did that mean – is he on summat or what?"
Fortunately, we didn’t have to ask him what drugs he might be on - the fittest girl in the entire Universe had just sashayed past us. She had just come out of the adjoining gym and wasn’t so much wearing clothes as parading in spray-on paints…..
Just then, Max had to rush off to attend to something or other, sort of near to where the girl was walking……
Back to politics. The evening was a great success – and I have to say was reasonably reported by Max on Sunday, although I was a little disappointed that the only part of my anatomy to get on the telly was my right foot.
Still, I managed to win a bottle of red wine in the raffle….
And when I came out of the meeting with dusk gathering all around we climbed into the car, a new kind of determination sort of grew out of me. I resolved to double my efforts - to fight for the cause, to shout as loud as I could to let the good folk of England know what is going on in their country…….
It’s the least they deserve.