Wednesday, 27 June 2012

"I Rebel: Therefore We Exist"

With times as busy as they are in Puddlecoteville at the moment (as mentioned last week) it's refreshing to have a rare night out. And when you're walking to a venue with the O2 arena and a huge pile of bricks called Canary Wharf visible en route, it's likely to be a biggie.

Such was the somewhat alien last few hundred yards to Boisdale in Docklands for last night's Freedom Dinner, a journey which had been tortuous thanks to signal failures and a fire at Waterloo. At one point, I found myself taking three different lines, doing a loop back on myself, just to end up at the station two stops away where I was supposed to be changing for the Jubilee Line. Still, got there in the end and it was worth it for an evening with like-minded souls who share my view of how the state is increasingly taking the piss.

Arriving just in time for the terrace reception, it was clear that there were some heavy political hitters in attendance which was quite encouraging. The conversation was stimulating, and the circulated nibbles (as an unashamed C1/C2 on the social scale I balk at using 'canapés') were right posh.

Being the type who regularly trots up to the shadow of the House of Clowns for political debates and the like, I was very much looking forward to the speeches, but the food preceding them was exquisite. I tend to take pictures of the plates at events like this as the little Ps always show quite an interest, and the one I took of the starter raised audible gasps of admiration from the both of them.

When I explained, however, that it was as delicious as it was colourful and comprised raw salmon, bits of slithery sea creature and salmon spawn (caviar), they were rather less enthusiastic. The girl, particularly, turned an odd shade of green at the thought of eating eel, presumably a nod to Docklands' past from the owner, Ranald MacDonald.

The wine was delicious too, and I was proud of my self-restraint on noticing that the level in my glass had barely diminished in the hour or so since I first sat down to eat. That was until I caught the waitress topping me up when I was deep in conversation with Patsy, and I have a pretty strong hunch that it wasn't the first time the little minx had done so if the comfortably numb state of my legs was a guide.

As light faded from the large windows, the interior lit up to highlight the venue's centrepiece, a vast array of different whiskies which would have Leg Iron salivating but could inflict post traumatic stress disorder on any Alcohol Concern misery who witnessed it.

The speeches? Well, Delingpole was his usual incorrigible self, revelling in being a focal point for those of us who are sick of being dictated to by social engineers and insisting - as I do here - that no matter how much government and their state-funded flakes try to demonise simple pleasures, resisting them puts us firmly on the side of the angels and we should be proud of giving the metaphorical finger.

Claire Fox expanded on the same theme, quoting Albert Camus' "I rebel: therefore we exist" as the correct response when social norms are being forced upon us. She also aimed stinging criticism of Thaler and Sunstein's 'nudge' theory which has so seduced David Cameron that he has totally misunderstood it as meaning denormalise, bully and cajole.

This led to another quote, this time from J S Mill's On Liberty which is most apt for the early years of the 21st century.
"He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his plan of life for him, has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation."
Indeed. And I know that I'm certainly amongst those who are not keen to imitate purse-lipped finger-waggers who get their kicks from massaging their own egos and passing laws to coerce every man jack of us into living as pure, and crashingly tedious, a life as theirs.

Last up was General Sir Mike Jackson - a man who knows what really protecting innocents is about instead of the effete, lettuce-wristed version spouted by anaemic crones - with some anecdotes about his time heading the British Army.

Pointing out that he has spent his working life "defending freedom of nations and the individual", he described how what he was brought up to believe about our long-held view of freedom has been transformed and current thinking now more resembles that of some of the oppressive regimes he used to fight against.

Slamming civil servants as "all say they know better but they've done bugger all themselves", he rounded off by rightly observing that "people are much better rising to their own abilities, meeting challenges and responsibilities for their own decisions, and for their own lives and families". By extension, I took this as meaning that some fake charity tax-sucker is possibly the very worst kind of person to be dictating what others should be doing during our time on this planet.

The proceedings finished, I was a very good little boy and wandered off into the night to catch a train in good time unlike some others mentioned elsewhere. In fact, I was safely on the way home with a whole five minutes to spare before the tube shuttered up, safe risk-averse soul that I am.

Would I do it again? Well, of course, it was life-affirming to know that there are more voices in the wilderness than the self-righteous, holier-than-thou massed ranks of sock puppets and empire-building public sector drones would have you believe.

Next time, though, I'll watch that wine waitress like a hawk ... and bring a calculator to keep count as the 'units' pile up.


Edgar said...

Sounds like a great night, Dick! I hope the full daily complement of vegetables and fruit were available ... ?

lleweton said...

An inspiring post, Dick. I'm glad so many made the effort to attend. If I may mention one small literary opinion: the word 'unit' changes the whole concept of a drink. It's a deadly piece of social engineering. It's measly, and weasly. I would put it in quotes. Thank goodness there are big beasts in our wilderness.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Good point, duly adjusted. 

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Watercress, spring veg and arty-farty potatoes, yes. :)

D'babe said...

'unlike some others mentioned elsewhere' .. ?!

No comment .. ;)

Pavement Artist said...

Allthough invited,this skint Goth had to decline the invitatation due to
fiscal limitations with my recent Raid on Flanders exhausting my wallet
on "shopping"which set the Exchequer back a few bucks. Just love it.
Maybe just as well I failed to surface as in the past functions my
northern abrupt abbrasive manner has had the upper echelons all a flutter.
If only we could combine the discipline and organising abilities of the
upper class with the ferocity of the rabble,then and only then will
the plea for freedom get an hearing.

In the meanwhile the Mob awaits 

Mick Turation said...

...nibbles (as an unashamed C1/C2 on the social scale I balk at using 'canapés')

...then what you need is 'finger food' rather than 'nibbles' which is A,B.