Wanted: 24 Heroes and Heroines

IF YOUR’E A CONSERVATIVE MP
AND NOT NUTS,

SAVE BRITAIN NOW

“The Conservative party is the most successful party in the democratic world, precisely because their reputation is that they don’t go nuts and become ideologically zealous…..all it would take here is a couple of dozen brave Conservative MPs.”
(Nick Clegg in conversation with Richard Thaler, The Guardian)

Does the judgment of posterity matter nothing in the age of instant fame? Can’t the reluctant Mythical Tory Saviours be moved (I just deleted ‘bribed’) by sugar-coated promises of everlasting fame and glory? They can be put into an exclusive club, and have as many titles and honours and free canapes and wet towels and holidays on private islands and TV appearances as they want in return for saving Britain by saying “Sorry, I was Wrong”.

Why is it easier to lead millions of people into hell than admit you made a mistake?

“There are few, very few, that will own themselves in a mistake, though all the World sees them to be in downright nonsense”
Jonathan Swift, in The Tatler No. 63 (September 1709)

9 heroes and heroinesMaster of the Castello della Manta Nine Heroes and Nine Heroines (detail with seven figures) 1411-16 Fresco Sala Baronale, Castello della Manta, Saluzzo. Image source: WGA

FIGHT BREXIT – SAVE BRITAIN – STOP BREXIT

Brexit is NOT inevitable

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Save Britain from self-harm

Petition Against Brexit

IT IS NOT TOO LATE

salisbury5John Constable Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows c. 1830
Private collection. Oil on canvas. Image source: WGA

You don’t have to be someone who voted Remain to send a message to the Government that they must change course if any of the things we need and value are to be salvaged. Leavers are being betrayed, too.

The country that Brexit will create is not the one we love. The fight to stop Brexit is bigger than the fight to stay in Europe.

If you want a united, modern, fair country, stop Brexit.

The British Government is betraying its people. It either doesn’t understand the consequences of its policies, or it doesn’t care.

Brexit will impoverish our economy, our health service and our culture. It will make many of the working poor destitute. It will split families and blight future generations. It is idiotic, xenophobic, unrealistic. It does not represent the best of Britain.

“In a healthy political culture, this would be a moment for reappraisal” Ian Dunt.

The political culture in England is sick, and it will infect the whole of the United Kingdom and your own families, everything you love, unless you act now to STOP BREXIT.

Save us, by all the means at your disposal.

 

Once out, there is no way back

STOP LEADING US TO NATIONAL SUICIDE

LightBrigadebyChristopherClarkLord Cardigan leading the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava in 1854, painting by Harry Payne.

BREXIT CAN BE REVERSED

Brexit is Britain’s biggest blunder. Once out, there is no way back in. A rational, and legal, solution is easily available to the Government. Article 50 should be revoked. Only the courage to admit a mistake is lacking.


Lord Kerr, writer of Article 50.

A LONG, LONG TIME AGO, BRITAIN WAS GOVERNED WISELY.

KingArthurandtheKnightsoftheRoundTableKing Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, illuminated miniature painting on paper, probably circa 1470, dated 13th century by BnF.
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF). Image: Wikipedia

ashmoleanAlfredJewel
Alfred Jewel North Petherton, Somerset AD 871–899 Gold, enamel and rock crystal. Image: © Ashmolean Museum.
This item is from Project Woruldhord, University of Oxford

 

 

The Writing on Our Wall

Rembrandt, Belshazzar’s Feast c. 1636 Oil on canvas National Gallery, London. Image: WGA

“We are leaving the EU and there will not be a second referendum”  (UK Treasury, 17 October 2017)

The handwriting on the wall that spoiled Belschazzar’s party and was interpreted by the Jewish prophet Daniel for the terrified, incompetent king of Babylon, translates roughly as:

Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians
(Holy Bible, Daniel 5:26–28)

More than an angry god, more than truth and justice, more than the costs of redecorating the wall, the average person fears owning up to a stupid mistake. Our elected representatives owe it to us to be bigger than their individual selves.

“THERE ARE FEW, VERY FEW, THAT WILL OWN THEMSELVES IN A MISTAKE”
Jonathan Swift

Our days are numbered.

REVERSE BREXIT
SAVE US ALL

 

Alfred Made Me

Drawing of the Alfred Jewel, incribed “AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN” (Alfred ordered me to be made). The gold, quartz and enamel jewel, two and a half inches (6.4cm) long, was discovered in Somerset in 1693. The figure of a man holding two flower-like sceptres is thought to represent Sight or the Wisdom of God. Image: Wikipedia

Alfred, King of Wessex from 871 to 899, the man who let the cakes burn because he was too busy thinking about how to run the country, liberated the Anglo-Saxons from Viking oppression and, crucially, made peace with the Danish immigrants.

Maintaining close political, economic and cultural links to mainland Europe was central to Alfred’s policy.

He saw strength in unity, not in division.

Alfred Jewel North Petherton, Somerset AD 871–899 Gold, enamel and rock crystal.
Image: © Ashmolean Museum.
This item is from Project Woruldhord, University of Oxford

He believed that educating the English, especially those training for high office, in Latin as well as their own language was essential to English influence and future protection of rights: “All the sons of freemen who have the means to undertake it should be set to learning English letters, and such as are fit more advanced education and are intended for high office should be taught Latin also.”

Alfred the Great is the only English king to be a hero of parliamentary rights and American Independence. His codification of English laws, his ‘Deemings’ or Doom book (Book of Laws), dated circa 893, were the foundation of English Common law, established, according to Thomas Jefferson, “while the Anglo-Saxons were yet pagans, at a time when they had never yet heard the name of Christ pronounced or that such a character existed.”

“Parliament is sovereign and the guardian of our democracy.” (Philip Colvin QC)

Today, 1000 British lawyers have delivered a letter to the government protesting the illegality of the EU Referendum, and that it was not held in the long-term interests of the people.

The British Government might have breached the 2015 European Referendum Act. This is the same government so swaddled in its own tax-funded cocoon that it completely misjudged the public’s disaffection, palpable to the rest of us, when it called for a Referendum to appease its own right wing, never dreaming, apparently, that it would lose the vote.

A series of blunders is determining our national destiny.

Alfred was a centralizing ruler who promulgated democratic rights: “Doom very evenly! Do not doom one doom to the rich; another to the poor! Nor doom one doom to your friend; another to your foe!” (from Alfred’s Doom Book).

Alfred was a secular Christian, not a bigot. He saw Christianity, and Latin civilization, primarily as a tool for restoring and improving standards of education, government and culture in lands devastated by ignorant marauders, not as moral bullying to stamp out other beliefs.

Alfred and his achievements survived the cult that the Victorians, in their self-righteous way, made of him in their own image. Like God, Alfred was turned into a genteel, bearded C of E patriot in fancy dress. The probability remains that he was still England’s greatest king.

The amazing thing about Alfred is that, unlike Arthur, the legendary Romano-British king of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, he lived in flesh and fact, not as a projection of hopes for national destiny, not an amalgam of shadowy warriors and fictional constructs, not an allegory, but a reality.

His head was on the coins, which were inscribed AELFRED REX and were highly valued currency.

Arthur shows us what imagination and idealism can achieve, the eternal quest for meaning, the beautiful yearning, the divine poignant pointlessness of being human – he shows us the picture of our souls – while Alfred shows us the template for good government.

Alfred proves you really can provide an enlightened programme of arts and education reform alongside a sound economy, fair legal system, peaceful foreign policy and a strong, properly equipped army and navy.

Good government is worth a few burnt cakes.

At a time when England has no leadership, when the United Kingdom is threatened with internal division, adrift and friendless in northern seas, where the weather gets worse every year, Alfred is one of the few statesmen whose reputation is untarnished.

If you want to be loved and respected, it helps to be a ninth century king, so far away that not even a Chilcot Enquiry can touch you.

This blog is haunted by untouchable dead people, all of them known unknowns, their thoughts and feelings impertinently second-guessed.

Let’s imagine, for instance, what Elizabeth I would have done with a woman called Andrea who told her that she wasn’t fit to be queen because she was not a mother with a stake in her country’s future. Some form of time-warped justice has been done, because Leadsom has been hoist with her own petard.

Elizabeth I with Father Time
Allegorical Portrait of Elizabeth I, painted about seven years after her death.
Childless Gloriana mulls regretfully over the legacy of her reign – and she was one of the best statesmen Britain has ever had.
Pearls drip heavily from her clothes while Old Father Time dozes behind her on the right; Death grins over her left shoulder and two elongated, middle-aged looking putti fly in to remove the crown from her head.
Never before or since has sovereignty looked so tired.
English School, c. 1610. Image: Pinterest

What would Alfred, the far-sighted man in the jewel, see now? Unity, tolerance, fairness, higher education, science, art, economy, trade, justice all under threat again; a record of social inequality and shameful foreign wars.

He would see that a series of blunders is determining national destiny.

A divided people have been led by fools in a bloodless remake of the Charge of the Light Brigade.

Great Britain has voted itself to be one of the “what-ifs” of history.

There is hope, enshrined in law and democratic rights, initiated by Alfred’s one thousand year old deemings:

“For all of these reasons, it is proposed that the government establishes, as a matter of urgency, a royal commission or an equivalent independent body to receive evidence and report, within a short, fixed timescale, on the benefits, costs and risks of triggering article 50 to the UK as a whole, and to all of its constituent populations. The parliamentary vote should not take place until the commission has reported.”

Parliamentary sovereignty must be upheld. It is the heart of our democratic constitution, fought for and refined over centuries. Democracy is not an advisory X Factor public vote of 52 -48. Continue reading

If only it was a bad dream

The country you live in is changed

CamelotIdyllsoftheKing_3CAMELOT: Gustave Doré, illustration to Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, 1868

extracts from an article in The Guardian by IAN McEWAN:
“The country you live in, the parliamentary democracy that ruled it, for good or bad, has been trumped by a plebiscite of dubious purpose and unacknowledged status
. From our agriculture to our science and our universities, from our law to our international relations to our commerce and trade and politics, and who and what we are in the world – all is up for a curious, unequal renegotiation with our European neighbours. How did we get to this? What can you do?

…. we’re almost evenly split. One third wants to leave, fractionally less than a third wants to stay, and a third doesn’t know or doesn’t care. Seventeen million against 16 million. Each full of contempt for the other. And on this basis and unlike any other country in the world, we are about to redraft our constitution and much else besides.

….the lies that needed to be told to gain the result. The £350m a week that would become available to the NHS; that we could halt immigration from Europe and remain in the single market….

Meanwhile, the economy is in decline, the pound is drifting towards parity with the dollar, the jobless lines are lengthening. Racists and xenophobes are gripped by an elated sense of entitlement….

IT WAS ALL A BAD DREAM….”

idyllsofthekingLargeDoré, illustration to Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, 1868.
Vivien leaves Merlin sleeping in the oak tree in which she has ensnared him “and the forest echoed ‘fool'”.

Then, in one moment, she put forth the charm
Of woven paces and of waving hands,
And in the hollow oak he lay as dead,
And lost to life and use and name and fame.

   Then crying “I have made his glory mine,”
And shrieking out “O fool!” the harlot leapt
Adown the forest, and the thicket closed
Behind her, and the forest echoed “fool.”
From Alfred Tennyson, ‘Merlin and Vivien’, Idylls of the King

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DOING THE MACARENA TO CATASTROPHE

The fate of the United Kingdom after the EU Referendum, 2016

goyaGoya: Plate 1 from the series LOS DISPARETES (THE FOLLIES) or Los Proverbios, 1816-23. Image: WGA

HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE DEMOCRACY?

You have to remember one thing about the will of the people: it wasn’t that long ago that we were swept away by the Macarena
Jon Stewart

The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.
Edmund Burke

…the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’
Isaac Asimov

Oh God, the terrible tyranny of the majority…
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature made them.
Bertrand Russell, New Hopes for a Changing World

BlakeLittleBoylost

William Blake A Little Boy Lost from Songs of Experience, 1794. Image: Wikipedia.

 SUGGESTIONS FOR RESTORING UNITY & STABILITY TO THE NON-UNITED & UNSTABLE KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND ACCORDING TO CONSTITUTIONAL LAW:

1. Through parliamentary sovereignty
2. Agree that the advisory referendum result was a draw
3. Take personal action; march, write, talk.

DO NOT GIVE IN TO

 1. APATHY
The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy.
Montesquieu

2. BIGOTRY
Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
Martin Luther King

1826FitzwilliamMuseum
             William Blake The Little Boy Found from Songs of Innocence and Experience, 1826 Copy AA. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Image: Wikipedia

THE DESTINY OF MAN IS TO UNITE, NOT TO DIVIDE. IF YOU KEEP ON DIVIDING  YOU END UP AS MONKEYS THROWING NUTS AT EACH OTHER
OUT OF SEPARATE TREES.
T.H. White, The Once and Future King

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