THE BLOG

Fluttering From the Guttering

24/11/2014 15:02 GMT | Updated 22/01/2015 10:59 GMT

What a load of sanctimonious, opportunistic hooey. Pigs don't see that much hogwash. Have you ever spied so many people falling over each to ingratiate themselves with a person they would not want to be actually associated with if he was giving away free money?

The phoney furore about the man with the van and the flags of St George fluttering from his guttering is as comical as anything we have seen this year. Emily Thornbury, a lady who until recently was the Shadow Attorney General, is now doing even less than that job must entail because she took a picture of a house bedecked with three inelegantly hung England flags and shared it on the World Wide Wait. She captioned the photograph "Image from Rochester", which was both accurate and a fireable offence.

There followed a competitive scramble from the country's leading political lights to align themselves the closest with the owner of the flags and the van that was parked beneath them. Ed Miliband was reported to have been angrier than he has ever been over the "disrespect" shown by Ms Thornbury.

It is easy to tell when Ed is angry because he looks like an irate plasticine dummy, as opposed to a constipated one. David Cameron was so happy he could hardly speak, but forced himself to claim that it is Labour that sneers at the lower orders and that therefore it is the Tories that truly represent the hard working man who works hard at working hard.

Nick Clegg did not say much as he was still winded at having been beaten by the Greens at the Rochester and Strood by-election, the event that precipitated this whole farce.

The red-tops gleefully joined the fray, keen to shore up their dwindling readership and protested at the white van man's predicament at being so cruelly exposed by an uncaring elitist snob of the party that is supposed to be on his side.

The whole wobbling edifice of manufactured and bug-eyed outrage was gilded by every middle class commentator who felt compelled by the direction of the tide to express outrage on behalf of the wronged flag flier. And they are all lying through their teeth.

The politicians you can forgive for their mendacity. They are desperately seeking voters. Since Ukip double parked its Austin Allegro on their streets, the three stooges have resembled the screaming figure on the bridge of Edvard Munch's most celebrated image.

Since our Nigel's club tie, blazer and 19th hole foghorn act started stealing the headlines, the main three parties have been in a collective spin and are gripped with an urgency to cling on to any wavering vote they can. Hence the desperate currying of favour with people that would normally be so far out of their orbit that they would need the Philae comet lander to reach them.

What is less excusable is the panicked rush by the public and the media to appear to be the most empathetic to the cause of the resident flag flier. Can we be honest with each other for just a moment? There is barely a person in the country who would not die a little inside if their neighbour's house were to suddenly sprout three England flags on its front.

The well educated, middle class types who write down to their readership on the rabid tabloids would drop their Waitrose shopping all over their driveways if they came home to find a sight like that abutting their property.

Like it or not (I don't) the Cross of St George is tainted by association with the far right. It is an indication of our meekness, our wish not to make a fuss, that we English have allowed a tiny number of people to appropriate our flag for their own ends. Outside of an international football tournament it transmits a signal that sends an involuntary judder coursing through the viewer, especially if dangling from the front of a house and triply especially if there are three of them, hanging as though out to dry.

Almost none of the folk who have rushed to ally themselves with the tattooed, shaven headed, ex-cage fighting second hand car salesman would actually like him, or anyone who looked like him, as a neighbour. Who do they think they are kidding?

We know that our politicians lie and obfuscate for their personal benefit. It is a shame that we and the media, those people that are supposed to transmit the unvarnished truth, are in any way different.