Food and Politics

Posted on 16 Oct 2014, by Barry Verber

Lunched yesterday with a good friend and seasoned parliamentarian in the Colony Grill at the new Beaumont Hotel ( though strangely all you see on the impressive white facade is No 8…uber chic no doubt ). This new Corbin and King eaterie fashioned in their true style is in it’s third week only and is aleady packed out. A great location just off Oxford Street opposite Selfridges in a quiet backwater, a hotel, restaurant venture as cool as you like. The menu, both for lunch and dinner is stylish yet straightforward and both my friend and I had a very good lunch to which I will revert in more detail on another occasion. Being in the company of a politically aware friend prompted a lively discussion and made me think more about my current sense of anger.

I have found lately two phrases creeping more and more into my daily vocabulary, the more prominent being ” I just don’t get it ” and the lesser being ” What’s the point ? “, both no doubt mundane but nevertheless seemingly unavoidable, for me at any rate. ” What’s the point ? ” I ask my politically savvy friend ” in the unattractive Mr Farage ? ” He is at best an anachronistic throw back to the 1960’s wanting the United Kingdom to close it’s borders and get rid of all those nasty foreign people, and, at worst, an out and out racist, attracting the same class of bigotted middle class, middle aged men in their tweeds with a pint in one hand a fag in the other. My savvy friend asks me to calm down and tells me that there is a huge swathe of like minded people in the UK prepared to vote for him and his cronies, the traitorous Carswell and Reckless and no doubt other soon to be defectors, and that the balance of power may switch from Clegg, a fallen idol, to Farage, a man of the people ( in his own words ) come May of next year.

It’s truly frightening that these political dinosaurs can gain such traction even in the current febrile political atmosphere. And, another thing ‘ I just don’t get ” is Farage telling Cameron, via a Sunday red top, that he can keep the Tories in power in exchange for a guaranteed early referendum on exiting the EU. This coming from a political parvenue !

And another thing… let us suppose there is a referendum on our European membership, how many people, outside the politicians and the chattering classes, will have a clue about what difference it will make if we are inside Europe or not ? Very very few people understand or are indeed interested in, the complexities of foreign trade agreements, European law or human rights to name but three key issues. No doubt the unpleasant Mr Farage will campaign on immigration and keeping Johnny foreigner out, but he will end up portraying himself as a separatist, an advocate of isolationism rather like Alex Salmond, and we all know what happened to him. ” What’s the point ?”I ask myself. Hopefully, the UK electorate will ultimately see the same sense as the Scots. Mind you, now that Nicola Sturgeon has been elected head of the SNP unopposed, I see that she is not ruling out a second Scottish referendum post 2016…some people never learn. What’s the point ? I just don’t get it…

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