There was a time in my life when I was afraid of the bogeyman. He was a regular ‘promise’ in our domestic discourse. “If you don’t behave, the bogeyman will come.” I learned at an early age to jump the treads four at a time, convinced that he sat on the light that hung from the ceiling on the landing at the top of the stairs.
I grew up eventually, and realised that the bogeyman was an invention, pure fiction, and a symptom of my Father’s desire to control, or at least to contain what he considered to be my more outlandish behaviour. Nothing has convinced me otherwise in these past fifty years. I have never seen a ghost, nor been possessed by a demon. I have never had anything more horrible disturb my slumbers in dead of night than a bad attack of indigestion, or an agitated wife. Jacob Marley remains as dead as a nail in the deadest of doorposts and his spectre does not rattle me in any shape or form.
I am therefore not inclined to take lightly the scaremongering of Messrs Cameron and Osborne. They may threaten me with visitations of bogeymen, with plague and haunting but I shall not be moved. My conscience and I are unanimous in our decision to vote Leave. I know that makes me a naughty boy in the nursery of their estimation, but ‘Leave’ is written indelibly on my soul, carved deep into the granite as upon the gravest of headstones.
You see, I have learned to believe the old maxim that the only thing we need to fear is fear itself. Fear is an irrational emotion. Very often it concerns the unseen, or rather the un-see-able. It is about the unknown, and indeed the unknowable. It is because we cannot see into it that the future is a darkness, an unquantifiable and shapeless thing. Those who stand shivering on the brink of the future are weaklings; worse, who tell tales of bogeymen, who say that unless you do this or unless you do that dreadful things will befall you, are ghost-mongers, in a sense freaks, who themselves live in fear of what might come to pass, and who are, for whatever reason, scared of the dark.
What comforts me most about the future is my knowledge of the past. I am able to know about the past. Part of it is mine. I lived there once and I have seen the faces of people who I have learned to trust. I have been able to glimpse the endeavour, the common sense, the vigour, the ingenuity, the grit of the English of past generations, and although many would seek to tell me that the lamp burned itself out long, long ago, I refuse to accept it. There is still something within us that despite the flaccid estimations of our overlords is sufficient to face whatever challenges the world may throw against us, and win.
A Britain cut loose from the shackles of Brussels will face many challenges in re-establishing its national credentials on the world stage. However, no nation in the world has had more experience of ‘simply being herself’ than Britain. We have been a force for good in the world for a long time now. I have no doubt that this is so because we are essentially a good people, with immense talents, gifts and graces, not the least of which is the backbone to stand on our own two feet and face tomorrow unafraid.
My message to the bogeyman: Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum. Come smell the blood of an Englishman……..!