I write from memory and it is some time now since I read Lord of the Rings. Recently, I have been struck with comparisons between the drastically altered Shire that greeted the four friends – Frodo, Samwise, Pippin and Merry – upon their return from the Great War. The changes they saw are what is happening in the United Kingdom right now. Rules and regulations have taken over and such is the brainwashed state of the hobbit on the other side of the locked gate, he refuses to let them in because it is past the curfew time. At which point, if memory serves, the four hobbits simply climb over. Next, they are grudgingly told they can spend the night in a new-build dwelling, which they find both comfortless and ugly – not at all like a true, cosy hobbit home. The friends, by this time, are thoroughly fed up and disconcerted. What has happened to their country whilst they were away? The answer to that question is: Saruman. He has taken control of The Shire and is widely known as The Boss or Sharkey. Naturally, Saruman had set up a spy network so that the hobbit who saw their arrival, immediately hot-footed it back to Bag End where Sharkey had taken up residence to report their arrival.
As the hobbits make their way home to Bywater, they notice the rash of hideous houses; they note the wilful felling of trees and ugly plumes of black smoke in the air. They learn that many pubs have been closed and that there is a food shortage. Sharkey’s henchmen go round ‘gathering’ the produce harvested by the hard working hobbits. This is then stored for their exclusive consumption or exported for profit.
Having observed the extensive housing developments that have recently occurred in the small market town where I live, the unsympathetic houses thrown up by Sharkey at such speed, rang a chord. Britain has the most extensive surveillance system of any country. Many pubs have closed across the land and there appears to be a food shortage, as well, judging by the rise and rise of food banks across the land.
Perhaps the vote to leave the EU can be compared with the rising-up of The Shire to overthrow their oppressors, Sharkey and his henchmen. The battle to win back The Shire was orchestrated by Merry and Pippin who, having returned from The Great War, were battle hardened. Nigel Farage appears to be a similar facilitator through helping to bring about the Referendum that gave The People the opportunity to choose to leave the EU, along with all its rules and regulations. As we were told many years ago, the LOTR is a true story and ‘we were still very much in that story’.