In Act One, Hamlet describes his nation as "an unweeded garden"and, after the former has followed the ghost offstage, Marcellus remarks to Horatio "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark". As so often Shakespeare's words have a contemporary resonance and it is obvious that such descriptions sum up the condition of the body politic in the UK today. In the past sixty years our political system has become completely distorted by a combination of an incompetent and prurient media, individual ambition superseding any desire to act in the interests of the nation and an increasing interference in our affairs by an alien entity based outside these shores.
Over centuries we evolved a parliamentary system, based on a rivalry between different philosophies, not a presidential one where the character of a single person is the issue. Of course in time of war the personality of the nation's leader is a matter of vital importance, as is evidenced by Lloyd George in the First World War and overwhelmingly by Churchill in the Second, but in normal times it should be, as Tony Benn always said, the policies, not the people which matter.
Those empty headed, but vociferous types, who claim that they 'love' politics would, in most cases, be horrified at the thought of reading Edmund Burke or any of the political giants whose ideas created our political system. These people are really only interested in gossip and in the personal lives of the politicians, not in the policies which are being put forward. While it would clearly be unacceptable to tolerate criminals or perverts in positions of power the personal foibles of normal individuals should not be the determinant of which party to support.
The result of this distortion is that the media emphasises the characters and actions of the party leaders while largely ignoring the policies which they purport to represent. A new low in this must be the ludicrous coverage given to the manner in which Ed Miliband eats a sandwich but the same sort of nonsensical criticism is directed at absolute trivia about these people, rather than taking seriously the political philosophy of the party involved. The media constantly mentions the fact that Nigel likes a pint and a cigarette, and I know from personal acquaintance that he does, but there is nothing wrong with that and it is totally irrelevant when one is weighing up whether to vote for UKIP. If, God forbid, he were to fall under a bus, the rightness of the cause and the need for the UK withdrawal from the EU would not change.
As it should be what the parties actually stand for, rather than individual personalities, one should examine just where they now stand. The Conservatives supposedly represent ideas of the importance of the individual, business interests, the preservation of what has been achieved by previous generations and patriotism. While these may have been its priorities in the past they are no longer. The party has presided over massive cuts to our defences, a foreign policy which often verges on appeasement and, above all, a betrayal of the sovereignty and democracy of the nation by bending the knee to Brussels.
The Labour party stood for ideals of collective ownership of the national assets and a desire to advance the position of the working class. The immediate post war government lived up to these principles that but only an idiot would think that the acolytes of New Labour were in that tradition. They hardly knew what the word socialist means and they too connived at the undermining of the democratic rights of the people by supporting the transfer of power from Westminster to the EU. The takeover of Labour by Jeremy Corbyn has not changed the party's position on the EU and their other policies owe more to Marx than to democratic socialism.
The Liberal Democrats are becoming largely irrelevant but their tragedy is that the principles they once espoused should have kept them from worshipping the bureaucratic monster of Brussels and, had they opposed it, they could now be looking at massive electoral success, instead of oblivion.
Only UKIP now offers the chance of restoring our democracy and independence and returning to the path we should never left, of being a truly free nation, looking out across the oceans, not the Channel. The patriotism of those voting for the party would ensure that our defences are once again given the priority they deserve and a genuine belief in our own people would heal many of the class divisions which have so bedevilled the country over the years.
So the message should be. Don't vote according to personality or because of a nostalgic and rose tinted view of what the main parties once stood for, but rather support the party whose policies truly represents your beliefs.