Game of Thrones

I want to get the clichés out the way first. Yes, it’s hard to compare a book to the TV show or film. Yes, any adaptation of an original work must of course by its very nature be adapted. Yes, there are compromises, creative and commercial, to be made when taking any rich literary work, especially one as realised and meticulously fleshed out as A Song of Ice and Fire, and converting it to the screen.

Yes, I know. I’m fed up of having to preface any discussion or review of this nature with a disclaimer like the above. But everyone does, because you can be sure that if you don’t say it, the very first thing you’ll hear in reply when you point out where the TV show or film isn’t that great, is that you shouldn’t compare it to the book(s). I want to acknowledge that objection from the start. Yes I know books and films of the same story will be different (thank you for that insight), and whilst one should never criticise works simply for deviating from source, it seems unobjectionable to me that they can be compared as one would any two artistic creations; judged by what they are, and what they could be.

As a child I read Lord of the Rings and loved it. Reading and writing has always been in me, from as early as I can remember, but so infectious is Tolkien’s prose and parlance I found it impossible not to emulate his style, tropes and even plotlines in my early fictional writing (something that even certain adult established writers do…) The very fact that so many, young and old, still love and enjoy Tolkien seems to dispel the idea that one grows out of the Father of Modern Fantasy — but I would suggest that Tolkien is loved most by those of a certain mind-set or those with particularly naïve politics who hold quixotic simplistic utopian worldviews. To put it another way: Tolkien might have made it all possible, and set the standard for which epic fantasy could and should reach, and written really good stories — but others have overtaken him. George RR Martin is one such person.

What makes A Song of Ice and Fire such an addictive, fascinating and enjoyable read is not the goal of this article, and indeed would require far more words than I’ve written here. What can I say that hasn’t already been said many times by those more qualified than me? ASOIAF, as us Westerosians say, is a story that grabs you, sucks you in, and makes you really feel part of an exciting, dirty, dangerous, terrifying and sexual world. We are right there, alongside our characters – the evil ones and the less evil ones – as they play their part, play with others, or simply try to survive. I’m not convinced that “life-affirming” is the intended psycho-emotional response to Martin’s story-telling, as such there are no real heroes in the true sense – just people who, for the most part – love or hate them – are doing either what they think is right, or what is necessary, for themselves, their family or their cause. What it is, in any event, is very human. Oftentimes we see the very worst of humanity, but we shouldn’t kid ourselves that the very worst characters of Westeros or Essos (for me, Gregor Clegane is the worst) are just caricatures of bad guys, the sort that we wouldn’t really find in the real world. Oh, we do. They have existed, they do exist, and they will exist.

Religion and sex are also perennial and important aspects of humanity. I would insist that one is profoundly more essential and natural than the other, and one has historically waged war on the other throughout the ages – but I digress. Martin himself has noted how these two features of life which frequently feature in his work, are notoriously absent from Tolkien’s. This isn’t to imply that Martin’s work is better than Tolkien’s for this reason, but I think it does make it more adult. If not more realistic (its characters certainly are) then at least more relatable. Much more so is Lord of the Rings a book for teenagers – not because of the lack of sexuality, but because of its overly simplistic politics, lack of intrigue, two-dimensional characters, unsophisticated prose (at times), and perfunctory supplications made to the reader’s attention and concentration. At the risk of sounding magniloquent, LOTR is easy reading and ASOIAF is not. That is certainly not a criticism of easy reading. The point is that there are many story-telling styles and what makes ASOIAF such a success is its many rich and complicated stories and how they are told.

ASOIAF is often praised for its “adult” nature – which many seem to think is a euphemism for body parts on display. But as I said above, what I think makes it “adult” is everything else. Perhaps this is why the sexual content of ASOIAF and HBO’s Game of Thrones is, if not the first thing mentioned by one viewer introducing a newcomer to it, probably in the top three things to talk about. Sex happens in ASOIAF because human beings have sex: sex with members of the opposite sex, or the same sex, with older partners or underage ones. Rape occurs and is frequently threatened or boasted about, but rape has been a shameful feature of human conflict throughout the ages – and not at all solely in ancient times. Allied soldiers pillaged cities and raped the defenceless women and girls of fallen German cities after the Second World War. We can agree that WW2 was just and necessary and we were the good guys, but perhaps Lena Headley’s Cersei puts it best: “when a man’s blood is up, anything with tits looks good.”

The foul and unflattering manner of death is also a constant feature of ASOIAF. War, whatever the motivation or necessity, exacts an atrocious price in human suffering and misery. I don’t need to enumerate the abominations which people have inflicted on others. One cursory inspection of, to name just one example, the experiments which Nazi “scientists” performed on prisoners of war is enough to guarantee insomnia for many nights. Martin’s great novels are not cynical or anti-human – but they are good stories, and appreciable parts of the story consist of war and violence. Whilst the human form can be beautiful – in the shape of a striking underage girl, it can be grotesque – such as the crushing of a skull or a lance through the back of the throat. The story is not allegorical and certainly not didactic. In this sense, and I am by no means appealing to moral relativism, it’s not whether these things are good or bad, but rather that they simply happen. Martin has no choice but to tell us the story as it unfolds, (he’s said it has taken on a life of its own): we are reading a history of the world told through the eyes of its contemporaries. For me it is as though Martin were saying: ‘I didn’t want to put child murder, rape, incest, violence, torture, betrayal, heartbreak and pain in my story – but I had to! I’m just telling you what happened!’

Child sexuality is not exactly inconspicuous either. It is not present to furnish the plot with shock-factor, or superfluous intrigue, but because modern attitudes to this sensitive matter are after all modern – and sexuality (especially of the female kind) was historically not treated with respect or deference until some agreed-upon age of consent was reached (and in some parts of the world today, especially religiose ones, there is nothing resembling respect for women). I paraphrase Martin: ‘once a girl menstruates, she’s a woman.’ The number of consecutive years elapsed since her birth is irrelevant. At least, that’s how pre-modern cultures viewed the matter. Again, Martin is telling a story set in a certain time. The contentious and controversial feature of underage sex (consensual and otherwise) is necessary and natural for the setting.

Each turn in the story is a seamless corollary of what came before. Seamless, and by that I mean natural, but not necessary. You never feel that anything in ASOIAF is necessary, in that the characters, so simultaneously powerful and impotent, try to make the right choices, or make bad choices, or make no choices. But one thing that these stories do not feel is this: contrived.

Now, bearing in mind everything I have said above (surely no didactic segue is required), I turn to HBO’s TV adaption of the Martin masterpiece: Game of Thrones. A show that has made fantasy “cool” and brought the genre to such heights of fame and notoriety that it’s no exaggeration to suggest it might have changed television forever. Will we see a whole slew of low or high-fantasy epics brought to the screen? Has GoT paved the way? Has HBO shown that, given the budget, there is a huge audience for television drama that has dragons instead of doctors, knights instead of lawyers, decapitations and exploding skulls instead of court-room set pieces and crime scene investigations? Did anything Jack Bauer go through match Ned Stark on the steps of Bailor’s Sept? When was the last time anything on screen evoked the sense of betrayal, loss, despair and jaw-dropping silence which the Red Wedding did?

The modern TV audience are drama junkies. If that sounds pejorative, I’m ok with it. But if you want drama, drama, drama, you’ll find an endless supply in A Song of Ice and Fire — and it’s why, when Game of Thrones sticks to its source material, it almost always succeeds. One, because it’s hard to go wrong when the material is that good, and two, because the show is so well acted, well directly, well scored and well shot. Technically, the show is almost flawless. Aesthetically, the show is beautiful. But dramatically, the show is oddballish, bordering on bipolar.

Game of Thrones is quite literally two shows in one. There is the mature, adult drama which takes its witches, wizards, dragons, monsters and knights seriously. A show that has an actual story to tell and means to progress that story logically and sensibly through use of character development and exciting action. In other words: the story to be found in the books themselves. The second Game of Thrones, almost invisible in season one but obtruding more and more as the seasons progress, is the show we see now. This show is the one which appeals to what I imagine television executives think is their primary demographic: flesh-craving licentious drama addicts, easily titillated by penile or vaginal endeavours, shocked by guts and gore like a caveman seeing fire for the first time, and one too stupid to keep track of more than five characters or plotlines at a time.

Which isn’t to say that it’s easy to keep track of so many story arcs and people (try reading the books!), but that brings me to another point: if so much time wasn’t spent on gratuitous and egregious insertions of patronising audience titillation, I suspect there would be more than enough to show the numerous plotlines and characters memorably – no, unforgettably! I’m not surprised so many people who watch the show can’t remember who’s who and who is doing what. Why? Because most of the time they aren’t doing anything! We can afford ten minutes here and there to witness so much gay sex (because sexual egalitarianism keeps the rowdy feminists quiet) or embarrassing attempts to justify full frontal nudity, but Daenerys’s prophetic dreams in the House of the Undying? Noooo. Why drop hints or foreshadow the truth of Jon Snow’s parentage when we can have Petyr Baelish expound his inner motivations and ambitions over lesbian soft-core porn? Who is the Knight of the Laughing Tree? What about the kind of man Rhaegar Targaryen really was? What did Ned promise Lyanna before she died? Who killed Pate? Who is the third head of the dragon? What are the as-yet unrealised betrayals Daenerys will experience? What of Quaithe’s other thrilling prophecies? Who is the Prince that was promised? Who is Azor Ahai? The glass candles are burning – don’t tell me we don’t have time for any of this when so much precious time is wasted by lewd bilge.

And the sex misses the point anyway. To take one example: in one of Catelyn’s earliest chapters, we join the story as she and Ned have finished love-making. In Cat’s head we hear her describe how her loins ache, sorely but sweetly, from Ned’s eager and rapid thrusts into her. She can feel his seed still present and hopes it will give them another baby, before they both get too old. We discover that, although their marriage wasn’t born of love, they did fall in love. This is what a love scene should be about!; an intimate look into the private lives of our characters. We learn something about them, and if we can experience their sexuality vicariously as audience members, so much the better. This is the sort of love scene that could be shown respectfully and erotically on screen, that would appeal to an understanding and adult audience, but come from the story, advance the story, enliven the characters.

But no, we are obviously too dumb to appreciate the emotional nuances of consensual caring copulation, and besides, how would we know the characters actually had sex unless we all-but-saw the act of penetration itself?

The only exception to this I can think of is Robb’s love scene with a forbidden young girl, through which he violates a marriage oath and causes his own downfall. This scene was handled well, precisely because it encapsulated the passion of two young frustrated lovers. I daresay we did feel something for these two characters as a result. (Ironically, this love story was substantially different from the books.)

And that’s just on the matter on how condescending and intellectually insulting the show’s use of pornography is. That aside, the complete abandonment of crucial and exciting stories and character developments is completely baffling. Even when you know what’s coming, Game of Thrones can deliver emotion and impact when it tries. But even more flabbergasting is waiting for a momentous and shocking reveal, and it not coming because entire plot-points have apparently been removed. I won’t spoil anything by elucidating this point, but one might suggest only a heart of stone is required to neglect certain rather pivotal story elements.

As I alluded to earlier, prophecy and portents are a huge aspect of the written story. I know it is much harder to get away with the sort of foreshadowing on TV (for example, for the Red Wedding) as was done in the books – but the psychological and dramatic reaction of seeing the eventuality of so many clues pay off, is a priceless joy. It is one of the great pleasures in ASOIAF. It is rewarding and stupefying, and leaves you kicking yourself, when you finally realise that you should have realised it all along! Such is the art of great plot twists – of great pay-offs to long running arcs; it was obvious all along, in hindsight. Not only that, the anticipation of unresolved mysteries and prophecies leads to so much fan speculation which in itself is an inestimable component of the fun. Most of this is absent from HBO’s Game of Thrones. Don’t kid yourself that so much time has been spent with so many characters, they are doing their best to get through such a colossal adaptation. That notion would have more substance if it weren’t for the omission of so much good, the inclusion of so much padding, and (in my opinion) so much unnecessary deviation from source. For just one example, I have to ask why the incredibly minor characters of Grey Worm and Missendei are shoe-horned into a boring and distracting side-plot? Don’t the writers have enough material to be getting on with, without making up plotlines of their own which cannot be anything other than irrelevancies in the grand scheme of things? Why should we care about this? Instead of confecting a flimsy pretext to see Missendei naked (which I am by no means opposed to under the right circumstances), might there not be other things that time could be better spent on? Say, for example, the other fifty characters and their stories?!

I find myself in the odd situation of seeing a show that is simultaneously dragging out affected scenes and inconsequential characters, yet rushing through the source material and skipping the sight-seeing. I’ve no doubt the destination of the ASOIAF saga will be stupendous, but the journey must be every bit enjoyable and jaw-dropping. The creators of GoT have all the time in the world – why don’t they use it?

I’m not saying that Game of Thrones must stick religiously to its source material. As someone who considers Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings not only great adaptations, film masterpieces, and significant improvements on the books, I know that changing key story elements is not only necessary, but actually desirable for the transition from script to screen. What I cannot understand is how a story as complex, clever, interwoven, interrelated, intricate and delicate as A Song of Ice and Fire can possibly be improved by the removal of so much of what made the books great. I simply cannot see how mammoth changes to certain characters’ deaths and destinations, which must necessitate the most unlikeliest contrivance of story-telling or their complete abandonment, make the story better, or at the very least, something remarkable and different. And I think that is what makes me so angry and disappointed with Game of Thrones: the fact that I do have expectations of it — I wanted to see this wonderful and exciting story on screen. But after a magnificent first few seasons, that doesn’t look like it’s what I’m going to get. It would have been better to have read the books or watched the show, but not both. If it seems that one has failed the other, I know which one I’d point the finger at.

For all that I can pretend I’m watching a stand-alone TV show, I can try to see Game of Thrones as exciting, dramatic and addictive. Yes, we want to tune in every week to see what happens next, but when the shock and awe die down, what will we really be left with? Is this a show that people will re-watch time and again? I’m nowhere near as sure of that as I was after its first season. I thought Game of Thrones would change the television landscape, not just because of the story content, but in its approach and style. It has changed television. It has so much of the world talking. It could be the most famous TV show in the world right now — it’s almost certainly the most expensive. But what price has it paid for such roaring success? How much has it abandoned its understated, clever, and often patience-testing literary sires, in exchange for appealing to the masses? In decades to come, A Song of Ice and Fire will still be read and loved by millions – and perhaps it will have had as big an impact of written high fantasy as Tolkien did so many years ago. What will Game of Thrones’s cultural impact be after so many years? What will its legacy be? A ground-breaking drama renowned for its acting, storytelling, emotional realism and capturing the hearts and minds of a generation? Or that show that was like Spartacus, only with dragons? When I first saw Game of Thrones I felt sure I knew what type of show it would be. Now, I just don’t know.

It’s not even that Game of Thrones is bad. It’s not bad. It’s good. It’s very good. But I don’t think it’s special. And it could have been. It should have been.

And the saddest irony, or perhaps l have too much faith in my fellow primates, is that I don’t think the mainstream TV audience is as titillated with tits, awed by asses, bloodthirsty or cynical as studio executives think they are. Maybe TV consumers can appreciate good stories, and can understand political intrigue, prophecies and portent, character struggle, internal conflicts and huge armies of supernatural power – without having them wrapped in the obligatory sexposition scene every episode? Seven hells – maybe a show with dragons can be taken seriously for its own sake?


Why I Will Vote UKIP

I believe in immigration and gay marriage and I’m voting UKIP. I believe in national sovereignty and individual responsibility and I’m voting UKIP. I care about the economy, the rich, the poor and the helpless, and I’m voting UKIP.

But when some people ask me why, there is no little surprise in their tone. Personally I’m astonished by their astonishment. How can anyone who’s experienced such a soulless sea of liars, hypocrites, cravens, traitors, and ultimately useless leaders we seem to have had forever, not find this small dedicated party that genuinely believes in something and doesn’t attempt to shy away from its beliefs, the most refreshing event in politics for a generation? Well, given the quite despicable and shamelessly biased coverage UKIP has received by the mainstream establishment media I guess quite a few people are less than enamoured by the only libertarian and truly conservative party we’ve seen in decades. I wouldn’t wish the mistruths and misinformation, ignorance and ignominy, disregard and disrespect that UKIP has had to endure these past few years on anyone, even my political enemies. So much for the British predilection to route for the underdog.

Even if you don’t agree with UKIP’s policies and ideology, you are compelled to concede that they are about more than playing the vote-grabbing game, and to call them simply populist is languorous and callow. It is undeniable that they have forced extremely relevant and important matters into everyday political discussions. Who was talking about radical Islam, immigration, foreign aid, taxation, the NHS and political correctness ten years ago? No one! Topics, for those too pusillanimous to raise or confront, which do concern the people of Britain are now being talked about by our leaders because UKIP forced the issue. For the second consecutive election and only the third since 1929, we will have a hung parliament next week. Can anyone claim this has nothing to do with UKIP? Clearly they are doing something right, and that is: raising salient and sensitive topics, trying to represent the people of Britain and act in the best national self-interest of our country. In other words, fulfilling their obligations as prospective politicians qua politician. Say what you will about UKIP, and many people have said many things many of which are nonsense, but in my opinion I see the only practical, common sense, real world manifesto out there.

If you want open door immigration, to give more power to the EU, more “progressive” taxation, multiculturalism, political correctness and misanthropic futile “green” politics, they aren’t for you. They will never be for you. They won’t change this fact to get votes. But I suspect that more and more people have become as sick to death of these insipid trite and regurgitated bromides as I have. Guess what? I’m proud to be British, proud of freedom, proud of capitalism, proud of individual responsibility. I do believe the undeniable and painfully obvious fact that some cultures are better than others. I believe that religion is dangerous. I believe that radical Islam is one of the greatest threats to our planet today. I believe that whilst an elite cadre of politically motivated scientists and “celebrities” cry wolf over climate change, that Iran, North Korean, and ISIS are the real enemies at the gate. And because of this climate of fear over what we say and do nowadays, I have to follow such a statement with ‘and I’m not a racist, and I care about the environment, and the poor’, in case anyone thinks I’m a neo-Nazi because I don’t buy the Guardian and I don’t watch the BBC, and I don’t think the NHS is Great Britain’s cultural apex.

Here, I limited myself to a triumvirate of topics with which I hope to best espouse UKIP. One disclaimer: I represent no one but myself. I am not an apologist for anyone. This is my opinion, and whilst I know I appear recalcitrant when I say I genuinely don’t care if you agree with me or not, the truth is I hope this does strike a chord with the honest undecided.

I am pro-gay-marriage

I believe that the State should recognise the lawful union of two human beings regardless of gender. I believe this because the State has no right to oppose those private choices of citizens which do not impinge on the freedom of others. Note: I am not saying that getting married is itself a fundamental Right. Rather, the State has no power to deny marriage to gay people because in a free society everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. Private citizens may choose to associate or not associate with other private citizens, but the government has no such freedom: it must be fair and impartial to all citizens with respect to the law. The government cannot choose to NOT associate with its citizens.

However, because I won’t claim a contradiction, I can’t force private citizens to enter into discussion, negotiation, business or contractual arrangement with other citizens against their will. The government must treat every citizen equally, because whilst all things not explicitly granted to the government are denied, all things not explicitly denied to citizens vis-à-vis criminal actions, are necessary legal.

UKIP’s stance on gay marriage is important because Nigel Farage explained in his own words his objections to it, namely his fear that private organisations would be forced to marry gay people if they didn’t want to. I am certainly not a religious person, but the church (any church) is a voluntary private organisation of free people and who they choose to deal with, or not, is their choice. It doesn’t matter if you agree with them or not. The same goes for cake makers who refuse to create wedding cakes for gay couples. To those who disagree: it’s their life and their property, and you’re a fascist.

In my opinion, forcing private citizens to act against their will, under penalty of fines or prison (!) in order to satisfy the “rights” of other citizens (even for a noble cause) is a gross and evil contradiction. This issue is more important than gay marriage. Why? Because the very principle of recognising gay marriage depends on seeing all people as politically equal. That principle must apply to all private citizens, even the ones we don’t agree with, or it means nothing!

In other words, if you feel you won something by the legalisation of gay marriage, but didn’t understand the price we paid for it — violating the rights of innocent citizens (who may or may not be bigoted religious zealots), I really pity you. I almost hope you choke on the irony, and I say this as someone who wanted gay marriage as much as you did.

I believe UKIP would fully support gay marriage but would not force any organisations (such as churches) to perform a marriage against their will. That is why I would choose them.

I am pro-immigration

I believe that the area of land on this small planet upon which we happen to start our lives is irrelevant to our fundamental nature as human beings. Not only is that the single greatest argument against racism, but it also means a truly free society does not restrict innocent citizens within its borders from living wherever they want. I believe where an individual chooses to live is not something the government, any government, should regulate.

I do find it humorously ironic, therefore, that those most supportive of immigration – those who have no problem with potentially anyone coming to Britain and having indirect access to the accumulated wealth of others, either through the NHS, housing or unemployment benefits – are the ones most vociferously opposed to their fellow citizens accumulating their own wealth. In other words, these people are quite happy to give me their money if I’m an immigrant, but spit blood at the suggestion of me keeping more of my own.

But I digress.

Immigration has been a matter of personal conflict because my belief in real freedom precludes me denying anyone the right to travel and live wherever they will – as if I, or we, have the right to draw a line beyond our own property and say “we, who call ourselves British, collectively agree that this area which none of us individually own is somehow ours to give or to take”. British people do not own the British land. “We” can decide only what to do with the land we actually own, and mind our own business about the rest. The only thing the British government should do is protect those who live on that land.

However, our law and our culture and our way of life is something that all members of this society should care about. And to claim that these things are not affected by, for example, barbaric uneducated unemployed superstitious religious fundamentalists, who mutilate the genitals of women, who see women and gays as second-class citizens, who despise the values of freedom and individualism, who want to see religious law as the law of the land, who believe in “honour” killings, who groom underage girls for prostitution and rape them (as a politically correct Council and police force turn a blind eye), who take what a relatively free society has to offer with one hand and plot its destruction with another… to claim that these things are a result of paranoia or racism and that they are not real terrifying problems that have happened and are happening in Britain – is an act of intellectual and moral cowardice. Anyone who denies the reality of this situation and the real threat it poses is an ethically bankrupt craven or an embarrassingly naïve ignoramus.

If we could adequately police our towns and cities (which we can’t, because no party other than UKIP believes in strengthening the police or army), and if our local councils were not crippled by political correctness and a terror of being perceived as discriminatory (which they are, but which UKIP would not be), and if the UK government could kick out these vermin from our nation (which it can’t under EU law but which UKIP would) and if we could stop such inhuman parasites coming into the country (which we can’t under EU law but which UKIP would), we could solve this social problem in one clean swoop.

You cannot have a generous welfare state and open immigration. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot tell the working people who prop up such inefficient and insolvent services that they must keep paying, keep sacrificing, keep “doing their part”, whilst the largest beneficiaries of such a system are those who have contributed the least, or nothing.

It seems to me that the NHS is here to stay. The welfare state is here to stay. If you care about these things, if you believe we in Britain must have these services then we must restrict who is able to take advantage of them. You cannot have it both ways. (A position that, as UKIP supporters and the polls show, finds agreement especially with ethnic minorities in British.)

I believe that the National Health Service should be a NATIONAL Health Service, not an International Health Service. It was created as a basic safety net for the very poor and helpless in society; a collective insurance policy that we all pay into. Certain party leaders can spout vacuous platitudes about helping people (whilst their own constituents struggle to pay bills), but that’s not the point. I will not even address the non-argument of enforced charity here except to say: if you think that people in this country, who are already playing the role of Atlas for this bloated and wasteful system, should have their money given away to non-contributors (or worse, corrupt foreign governments), at a time when old people who’ve paid into it all their lives are burning books to keep warm and dying in fuel poverty – yours is a position of self-hatred, altruism, insecurity, and misanthropy. Please go ease your fragile little conscience somewhere else, preferably with your own money. You don’t care about people, you hate wealth. You don’t want to save the world, you want to control it. You want an egalitarian utopia where everyone is equally poor.

What on earth is the problem with an Australian-style points system where, in order to live and work in this country, you have to have certain qualifications, not be a criminal (oh the humanity), and have your own health insurance for a brief initial period, after which you qualify for the full range of services the UK offers?

National sovereignty and the EU

Surely the most basic principle of evolved politics is that politicians are chosen in a free election by the citizens of a country, and the politicians represent and serve those people as best as possible. They then pursue the wishes and interests of their citizens and protect their value and freedoms. Did I miss anything?

Well that doesn’t happen anymore, if indeed it ever did. Being a politician today means using the power your people gave you, their money and their trust, like virtual resources in a computer game to trade with other politicians for favours and privileges. It means sacrificing and compromising on things that should never be sacrificed or compromised, to gain prestige, power, votes, or the goodwill and plaudits of others. Some might say that’s the whole point of politics. Well, forgive my innocence. I don’t think it should be that way.

National sovereignty isn’t about nationalism. It’s about the most important and sacred principle of free civilisation; something humanity spent thousands of years and millions of gallons of blood to fight for: that those who hold the most dangerous and corruptible of positions, our leaders, be these things to us: transparent, scrupulous, electable, impeachable, accountable, limited, delimited, and partisan.

A society where its leaders are not elected, cannot be unelected, cannot be vetoed, cannot be questioned by its people, can pass any law or statute without ratification or consensus, and are immune to referendum and resistance — is not free. It is feudalistic, elitist, oligarchic, and tyrannical. It will necessary descend, as all powerful and irremovable men of power have done, into totalitarianism.

If you hadn’t already guessed, I’m talking about the European Union – a lie that was sold to us as a mere trading partnership, but which is and always was intended to be, a supranational federal union. A utopia conceived by we-know-best elitist socialists even before the Second World War, the European federal government continues to accrue ever greater powers and authority to itself, with less and less autonomy residing in member states. Like all central planners, they refuse to let the facts of reality get in the way of “the dream”.

This isn’t the place for an exposé of the EU. You must do your own research and decide if those of us who dislike this insidious monstrosity are Europhobic “little Englanders” or not. What I must say is that there are those out there who love the EU. They are of a kind: they want globalisation, they care little about accountable government (because people allowed to choose might make the wrong choice), and they all say the same things and tow the party line on everything from climate change to Palestine to welfare to taxation to nationalisation to regulation to big government. They want this to happen. I have nothing to say to them and you should challenge everything they claim about Europe and Britain’s relationship with it (because most of it is lies). Don’t take my word for what I’m going to say. Please, research this yourself. When I say that the EU is run by fascist elitist undemocratic power-hungry megalomaniacs (many of whom are unabashed former communists and Marxists), obsessed with control over private life and property, who want to take away your precious right to elected representation, I am not revealing a conspiracy. This isn’t even a secret! This happens every day before our eyes, but most media sources don’t choose to report it. I wonder why. (That the EU gives ‘charitable donations’ to the BBC is surely a coincidence.)

If you care about personal freedom, accountable politicians, a say in what happens to you, your country and your government, you must oppose the EU.

I cannot emphasise this next point strongly enough, because it transcends the political spectrum (except for those on the far left and far right who only care about freedom of choice if they’re making the choices): it doesn’t matter if you’re left or right. It doesn’t matter if you’re pro-immigration or anti-immigration. It doesn’t matter if you’re a socialist or capitalist, pro-freedom or pro-statism. It genuinely does not matter whether we agree or not on anything. Why? Because if we, the British people, do not have control over the laws of our own land then nothing we say or do about politics matters. The EU can dictate to us if we should open our borders or close them. Today we are told to open them. Tomorrow we might be told to close them (yeah, right), and we’d have to comply. You might think terrorists should be allowed to live in this country. I think they should be deported. What does it matter? If the EU says they can stay, end of debate. They can give away our fishing waters, give away our borders, give away our money, ban our vacuum cleaners, have trackers installed in our cars and negotiate our trade deals. What does it matter what you think, what I think, what you think should be done, how much we argue, debate the matter, exchange opinions and maybe even agree – it does not matter – because we have no real power anyway. A bunch of bureaucrats in Brussels, people you’ve never heard of, who you didn’t elect, who you cannot remove from office, have control over the law of our land.

I find it so macabrely funny seeing the political parties falling over each other to bribe what they think is a credulous and capricious electorate with everything from: more of someone else’s money, NHS spending, less austerity (let’s pretend the debt doesn’t exist), increased foreign aid, stamp duty, devolvement, neo class warfare and envy, and (god forbid) more useless green taxes. They must think we’re all stupid. And does any of it matter in the long run anyway? When over half our laws are made in Brussels (a deliberately modest estimate at best), isn’t it pathetic to see these Party leaders squabbling over the fraction of power that the great EUSSR has deigned to let remain with us? (For now.)

This is why, in my opinion, the question of whether Britain remains in the EU is the single most important one to be answered in British politics today. It is why you have to vote UKIP if, regardless of whatever else you believe, you believe in this: that you’re voting for a British government.