Do not go gentle into that good night
UK200Group Past President, David Ingall, questions the Calais crisis and looks at the positive news on the horizon
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Dylan Thomas 1914-1953
Dylan Thomas wrote those words probably for his ill father in 1947. It has been much quoted in the intervening years in songs, films (Independence Day) and even in a Doctor Who episode.
But as I fight Father Time, I see no reason why we should not rail against those things that irritate and annoy us. Currently there is an irritating little ditty that I do not know the words to, but the tune squirrels around in my head almost constantly. We have all had that experience, rather like someone constantly whistling (slightly out of tune) a current pop song. I can recall being berated by all and sundry when I was articled for constantly whistling “Island of Dreams”.
But the current ditty accompanies a television advert for a make of motor car and there is an additional irritation. Despite being for the British market, the car shown is left hand drive and appears at various times on both sides of the road, carrying a mother and father and a disappointed little boy, who has been promised an ice cream. I think the message is that the fuel consumption is so good that there is little chance of regular stops. The advert concludes with the boy kicking a tyre when the long awaited stop finally comes along. I personally would like to kick the advert off of our screens.
The theme of left hand drive vehicles being used in British adverts seems to be becoming more common and I often wonder whether anyone else notices, and is as irritated about this, as much as I am. If the car manufacturers want our business, perhaps they should do us the courtesy of displaying right hand drive vehicles in our market. Or is this a cost cutting exercise illustrating just how unimportant they believe their British customers to be?
The current battle surrounding the Eurotunnel in Calais is both fascinating and irritating everyone. I confess to feeling torn between the humanitarian issues versus our right to preserve the integrity of our borders. It is of course further fuelled by the involvement of the French (the country we mutually love to despise) and the EU (the bureaucracy we could do without). Throw into the mix French strikers and impotent governments and you have arrived at an explosive mixture.
But for all the news coverage, do we really understand what is going on over there? Are there really only a few thousand immigrants that are creating such chaos? The numbers quoted have remained much the same, but with so few apparently, what happens to those who must be constantly arriving or is the bad news (hidden) that so many are getting through? The ultimate sanction is not to send troops, but to actually close the Eurotunnel entirely for a few weeks to allow the camps to be cleared and to upgrade border security. Perhaps we should consult the Americans, who have experience with the constant battle with illegal immigrants at the Mexican border.
But I don’t want to continually fume on about what I regard as being bad news. So what good news is there? We are to vote on our membership of the EU. The economic indicators, though not robust, look strong in comparison with the rest of Europe. There is also the prospect that interest rates might improve and the return on my savings might go up, once the banks have got over trying to reduce current rates to insultingly low levels. We beat the Australians at Edgbaston and Nottingham, though we are perhaps heading for a backlash in the final match of the test series. There are so many other things that make life worth living and enjoyable, including my wife and my family.
Raging and railing against the perceived injustices of life, not to mention the idiots of the world, is a pleasant part of living a contented life. As long as those passionate thoughts do not take over your life entirely, being part of the awkward squad is good for you.
So do not go gentle into that good night, old (and young) age should burn and rave through the day and throughout your whole life.
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