Living in England, 2019

“Many of us…have a feeling that we are living in a country where fanatics, hooligans and eccentrics have got the upper hand.”
Horace Rumbold, British Ambassador to Berlin, 1933

“My God. History will condemn this period. It will condemn those who’ve sat back and kept their view to themselves, who haven’t stood up and tried to stop all this nonsense.”
Anna Soubry MP, 2017

Muse_reading a scroll Louvre_CA2220
Clio, Muse of History reading a scroll
Attic red-figure lekythos, ca. 435-425 BC. From Boeotia. Louvre. Image: Wikipedia

“I don’t want to be known as the last prime minister of the United Kingdom”
attributed to Theresa May, Prime Minister, 2019

“When I am dead and opened, you shall find Calais engraved on my heart”.
Mary I, 1558, referring to the humiliating incompetence of losing England’s last stronghold in continental Europe

Cassandra lamenting
Jan Swart van Groningen, Woman Lamenting by a Burning City 1550-55
Pen in black, brush in brown,
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Image: WGA

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.

 

Don’t Leave, Tiffany

Tiffany told everyone she was too good to be there….

awakening conscience

William Holman Hunt The Awakening Conscience 1853. Tate Gallery. Image: WGA

and stormed out….

“The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion” (Edmund Burke) and one big delusion, Brexit, is already being ridiculed internationally by political satirists. It is the Ship of State run aground by its captain’s folly, a misled charge for glory and independence through the wrong exit, leaving everyone standing awkwardly in the backyard among the garbage containers, too embarrassed to go back in.

rochesterLord Rochester with Monkey by Huysmans, 1670s, an allegory of human pretentiousness and folly.
“….I’d be a dog, a monkey or a bear,
Or anything but that vain animal
Who is so proud of being rational.”
(Satire Against Reason and Mankind)
Rochester, when he wasn’t drinking and whoring himself to death or writing
obscene satires and plaintive love lyrics, was a critic of the government’s unwise decisions and duplicity.

Brexit has given teen slang a new word, according to clever and twinkly US chat show host Seth Meyers.

The definition of brexit (verb): to leave a party without thinking of the ramifications of your decisions.

“Tiffany told everyone she was too good to be there and stormed out without realizing she had no money for a taxi, her phone was dead, and she was 3 miles from the nearest subway #Brexit”

apollo_d

DON’T LEAVE, TIFFANY: Apollo and Daphne, marble sculpture 1622 -25 by Bernini. Image: WGA

“Ourselves with noise of reason do we please
In vain: humanity’s our worst disease”.
Tunbridge Wells, John Wilmot, Lord Rochester

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

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

Save

Save

48 – 52

“It has been a damned nice thing – the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life”. The Duke of Wellington describing the Battle of Waterloo, 1815

Reactions to EU Referendum Result

BlakeJerusalem
William Blake, illustration to Jerusalem The Emanation of the Giant Albion Plate 51. Collection of National Gallery of Victoria.

“There are seasons in every country when noise and impudence pass current for worth; and in popular commotions especially, the clamors of interested and factious men are often mistaken for patriotism.” Alexander Hamilton (Founding Father and First Secretary of the Treasury, USA, 1789 / Mr Showbiz multi-award winner 2016)

“The destiny of man is not measured by material computations.” Winston Churchill

I am grieved at what you tell me,” said Pellinore, “but I believe that God can change destiny. I must have faith in that.”
John Steinbeck, The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights, 1976

“…the spells of Merlin and the prowess of Arthur, or the victorious career of Aurelius Ambrosius, although they delayed and in part avenged, yet could not prevent the downfall of their people.”
John Mitchell Kemble, The Saxons in England, 1849

ArthurtapestryThe Once and Future King, Arthur, now fast asleep, hasn’t woken up in time to save us from ourselves – yet. Christian Heroes Tapestry, c. 1385. Image: Wikipedia

The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and, however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true to fact. The people are turbulent and changing, they seldom judge or determine right.”
Alexander Hamilton

“There was a moment in the sixth century when something that is always trying to break through into this country nearly succeeded…Britain is always haunted by something we may call Logres [the kingdom of Arthur]. Haven’t you noticed that we are two countries? After every Arthur, a Mordred; behind every Milton, a Cromwell; a nation of poets, a nation of shopkeepers. Is it any wonder they call us hypocrites? But what they mistake for hypocrisy is really the struggle between Logres and Britain.”
C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength, 1946

Men often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike.”
Alexander Hamilton

The world is turned upside down” English Civil War ballad, 1646

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