The French philosopher Francois-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire, was an ardent advocate of free speech. To him is attributed the sentiment that while he may not like what someone says, he would defend to the death that person’s right to say it. Wars, rebellions, revolts and uprisings have taken the lives of countless millions in the pursuit or maintenance of free speech.

However, its current state in this country is one of ill health. The level of vituperation directed at, and misinformation spread about, UKIP is a valuable indicator of the threat the party poses to the established LibLabConspiracy. The virulence of their campaign creates a sense of what it must be like to live in a totalitarian state and that triad could not now pay me to vote for them. Such hypocrisy from parties which spawned beacons of virtue like Chris (Lord) Reynard, Chris Huhne, Dennis McShane and Patrick Mercer, to name but a few.

Defending tradition is now tantamount to a crime. For centuries marriage was understood and practiced as the union of one man with one woman. That remains the opinion of many and, until recently, it could be held without fear or need of justification. Not anymore, for to do so is to risk the charge of homophobia.

On the BBC’s Sunday Politics (11/5) Mr. Farage was questioned about UKIP’s Newark by-election candidate’s views on the subject. So near to important elections, Farage was untypically measured in his responses, sensing nothing short of a politically correct answer would suffice -reason had no place. What I believe concerns Mr. Helmer, and many others, is this; once you start meddling with a long accepted and fundamental human and social condition, like marriage, then what next? Should polygamy be legalised? We have a large and increasing Muslim population in this country. Given their religion’s teachings on homosexuality are they being hounded, harassed and vilified? No, for fear of being accused of Islamophobia. What about all those mainly Conservative MPs who voted against the same sex marriage act? Are they being hounded, harassed and vilified? Again, no.

When on the receiving end of a grilling from overpaid, holier-than-thou BBC inquisitors, it would be worth reminding them that their employer was, for decades, complicit in harboring a monstrous sex offender and allowing the environment to flourish where he and others could practice their perversions. But is the BBC being hounded, harassed and vilified? Yet again, no.

In the hot summer of 1858 there arose a great stink outside the Commons, caused by pollution in the Thames. It offended the nostrils of that era’s MPs. Today we have a great stink but this time inside and all self-inflicted. The expenses revelations and numerous other examples of improper conduct by MPs make it clear that Parliament has become the Houses of ill repute. The true spirit and purpose of that place has been polluted by selfishness, indifference, contempt and the exercise of power for its own sake – the place and its occupants that dare to govern us. It offends the nostrils of today’s electorate. The fifth labour that Hercules accomplished was to cleanse the fetid Augean stables. Would cleaning up Parliament and restoring the public (rather than self) service ethic and trust beat even that mythical hero?

This government is out of touch, out of ideas and should, by rights, be out of time. Four years is enough and a vacuous 12 months lies ahead before the next election, a time of drift, malaise, impotence and mischief-making. The old politics has past its ‘best before’ date.

Time for something new.

Photo by bensonian

Photo by Fresh Conservative

Photo by Seabagg

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