"Learning to live and living to learn"
Be still you trawler men who prowl the fishing grounds of the British Isles. From Fastnet to Fair Isle, from FitzRoy to the Dogger Bank, and everywhere in between, be advised. For what you hear in the distance is not the faint sound of warning, foretelling of adverse weather conditions ahead. It is but the insufferable fog horn that is Nigel Farage.
Yes, my dear friends, gird your loins for the latest “Barrage from the Farage”.
Despite the fact that we are facing enormous challenges ahead that require dedicated concentration, creativity and problem-solving capabilities from our politicians, this “self-styled, politico with aspirations to influence is turning his (self-professed) gargantuan political acumen to the vexing issue of school uniforms and flag flying at a local school in Pimlico, in central London’s City of Westminster. Forget about the fact that otherwise hard-working individuals are struggling to cope with the loss of their livelihoods, or indeed that sectors of our business community are striving to overcome barriers to trade that this “master of the mundane” has so prominently erected for their consideration. The subject that Farage wants us all to concentrate on, in his latest posting on YouTube, is some local spat at a Westminster Academy about historical interpretation and the flying of the Union flag.
Now, any politician with a genuine interest in fostering peace and harmony in the local community and a mere dribble of integrity to boot, would, in my humble opinion, have sleeves rolled up and be hard at work acting as a mediator, exploring underlying interests, generating options for compromise, calming tempers and helping to resolve dispute. But this is not the Farage approach. For this blowhard cares not a fig for the best interests of the community. His behavior is driven purely by self-interest and so, revealing his true intent, he pops the cap off the Gerry can and pours petrol on the flames. For Nigel, this conflict, which has arisen because a school’s principal, like many up and down the country, is trying to establish certain norms relating to school uniforms and hair styles amongst his student body, is now the well spring of “the worst division that any of us have ever seen in our lifetime”.
I remember many occasions during my school days when my teachers would admonish me for my failure to wear regulation uniform and, on more than one occasion, the school’s headmaster told me to get my hair cut. I can even remember a particular instance in which the school thought better of flying the Irish national flag because a rugby team from Northern Ireland was visiting and the principal wanted to show some respect for different cultural identities. But I have to admit, that I don’t remember any politician, local or otherwise, ever resorting to such hyperbole and broadcasting to the world that such actions would lead to the “worse division that any of us have ever seen in our lifetime”.
Get a grip Nigel, let’s not lose perspective here. We have more important challenges to address. Let’s leave schools’ principals to get on with their jobs and if they ask for help, let’s give it, in a positive, constructive way, rather than fanning the flames of conflict and division.