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On, on, you noblest English…

12 Jun

Today is also the anniversary of the re-created Shakespeare Globe Theatre as well as England’s first World Cup game of the 2010 finals. I will keep my sentiments simple, a quote from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet “Do it England!”.

I am sure William would be cheering the England team. He could connect with these players performing in front of 60,000 eager fans, England’s popular theatre for the ‘common man’. The sentiments of ABE (anyone but England) from Scotland and Wales would not worry Shakespeare, he would cut them down, waving his pen like a sword, penning a piece of English cutting wit and pride.

When the world cup is over however he would be unfamiliar with the way that Englishness vanishes over night. The playwright lived during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I this ‘mere English’ woman who instilled a sense of pride and passion in England. Europe feared this rising England, this land of god and man.

I suspect he would be disappointed in English pride. A land where our historians now depict Elizabeth as “short-tempered, sometimes indecisive ruler, who enjoyed more than her share of luck”.

After the World cup is over, those supporting England will settle back into their daily lives, a flutter of pride or disapointement in their chest. The rest of the country will continue to chip away at England, ever more determined to prevent these ‘mere English’ any chance to establish themselves politically or nationally.

England and Englishness has been reduced to something that comes out at sporting tournaments. I hope we can win this tournament, it will give us time and new found confidence. The least it will postpone and prevent people from trying to destroy this last bastion of England.

Emily Davison 1872-1913 “Deeds not words”

4 Jun

The brave Suffragette Emily Davison was trampled by King George V’s horse Anmer, 4th June 1913 at the Epsom Derby (Emily died from her injuries 4 days later).

Emily had been a militant campaigner for the suffragette movement. Emily was able to promote the movement by resistance and publicity stunts. In 1911 she hid in Westminster Palace overnight so she could fill her census form as, place of residence “House of Commons”. Emily chained herself to buildings, heckled the Prime Minister and threw stones at Government coaches.

Emily had been jailed a number of times. Whilst in Strangeways Prison – Manchester, she went on hunger strike causing the prison forced feed her. Emily on release managed to win compensation, through the courts for the Prisons and Wardens actions.

Emily’s grave stone reads, “Deeds not words” – something we need to be reminded of, we tend to be spectators of life as events unfold around us.

An interesting fact is that Herbet Jones, who was the Jockey riding Anmer at the Epson Race committed suicide in 1951. He was said to have been haunted by the Epsom incident his entire life.

Oak Apple day (29th May)

28 May

Remember Oak Apple day, wear your sprig of oak leaf or apple tomorrow to celebrate.

Oak Apple Day, Garland King

Oak Apple Day or (Royal Oak Day) is celebrated on the 29th of May commemorating Charles II, and the restoration of the English monarchy in May 1660.

The day is also known as Shick-Shack Day or Arbour Day. Traditional celebrations entail the wearing of oak apples or sprigs of oak leaves. The reference being (the future) Charles II of England escaping the Roundhead army by hiding in an oak tree near Boscobel House.

The celebration has sadly nearly died out, as with many holidays a casualty of Oliver Cromwell’s puritan policies and later Victorian British society values (Oak Apple day was abolished in 1859).

Whilst the day chosen (29th of May) was the King’s birthday, it seems to have also replaced some of the prior traditions and events lost in England. For example the Garland King is celebrated as a rider decked out in greenery marching down the streets of Castleton. This seems in keeping with the nature and pagan festivals once much more common in England, sadly now mostly lost in time.

Restoration of Oak Apple day would be worthy of continued celebration, a celebration of our freedom, liberty and nationhood that the Puritans had all but destroyed (sound familiar ?).

Wear your sprig of oak with pride, enjoy a traditional English plum pudding and remember to never bow to tyranny.

Battle of Britain memorial flights

26 May

Tucano T1 with WWII Super-marine Spitfire

Two of the UK Royal Air Force’s Shorts Tucano T1 trainers have ditched their usual black colour schemes as part of the service’s efforts to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Sporting Second World War camouflage markings, the trainers were flown in formation with one of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Supermarine Spitfires. The BBMF fly regularly around the UK – check their site for local events or fly by.

Westminster Abbey Chapter House

18 May

Today the English Heritage £3m restoration project of the Westminster Abbey Chapter House has come to an end. The years work has restored the original Medieval home of politics.

Westminster Abbey can trace its history back to 960-970AD when Edgar the Peaceful (Ēadgār) and St Dunstan (Archbishop of Canterbury) inspired work for the new Abbey. Edward the Confessor continue work turning the Abbey into a stone structure and consecrating it on December 28, 1065 just a week before his death. The cloisters themselves contain work commissioned by Henry III Henry III and has some of the finest 13th and 14th Century tiles and glass work in England.

70th anniversary of Battle of Britain Beacon

14 May


The Royal Air Force Museum has released plans for a 70th anniversary of Battle of Britain Beacon. This is part of the museums modernisation plans that include new and updated buildings at its site at Hendon in London.

“The new building will allow wider public access and ensure that the Museum’s unique collection of Battle of Britain aircraft, memorabilia and archives is preserved for the education of future generations.

This exhibition will also complement the modernisation already achieved with the refurbishment of the Graham White Hangar, the relocation of the former Hendon airfield watchtower and opening of the Milestones of Flight building at Hendon, together with the construction of the National Cold War exhibition building at the Cosford site.”

List of British Prime Ministers

2 May

No 10 Downing Street

The following is a list of British Prime Ministers, including David Cameron who is Prime Minster after winning of the May 2010 elections.

Prime Ministers of England and Great Britain

April   1721  to February  1742 Sir Robert Walpole Whig
February  1742 to July  1743 Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington Whig
August  1743 to March  1754 Henry Pelham Whig
March 1754 to November  1756 Thomas Pelham-Holles, Whig
November  1756 to June  1757 William Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire Whig
July  1757 to May  1762 Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle Whig
May  1762 to April  1763 John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute Tory
April  1763 to July  1765 George Grenville Whig
July  1765 to July  1766 Charles Watson-Wentworth Whig
July  1766 to October  1768 William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham Whig
October  1768 to January  1770 Augustus Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Grafton Whig
January  1770 to March  1782 Frederick North, Lord North Tory
March  1782 to July  1782 Charles Watson-Wentworth Whig
July  1782 to April  1783 William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne Whig
April  1783 to December  1783 Frederick North, Lord North, Charles Fox Whig
December  1783 to March  1801 William Pitt The Younger Tory
March  1801 to May  1804 Henry Addington Tory
May  1804 to January  1806 William Pitt the Younger Tory
February  1806 to March  1807 William Wyndham Grenville,  Whig
March  1807 to October  1809 William Cavendish-Bentinck, Tory
October  1809 to May  1812 Spencer Perceval Tory
June  1812 to April  1827 Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool Tory
April  1827 to August  1827 George Canning Tory
August  1827 to January  1828 Frederick John Robinson, Visc. Goderich Tory
January  1828 to November  1830 Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington Tory
November  1830 to July  1834 Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey Whig
July 1834 to November  1834 William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne Whig
November  1834 to April  1835 Sir Robert Peel Tory
April  1835 to August  1841 William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne Whig
August  1841 to June  1846 Sir Robert Peel Tory
June  1846 to February  1852 Lord John Russell, later 1st Earl Russell Whig
February  1852 to December  1852 Edward Smith Stanley Conservative
December  1852 to February  1855 George Hamilton Gordon,  Peelite/Coalition
February  1855 to February 1858 Henry John Temple, Visc. Palmerston Whig
February  1858 to June  1859 Edward Geoffrey Smith Stanley Conservative
June  1859 to October  1865 Henry John Temple, Visc. Palmerston Liberal
October  1865 to June  1866 John Russell, 1st Earl Russell Liberal
June  1866 to February  1868 Edward Geoffrey Smith Stanley, Conservative
February  1868 to December 1868 Benjamin Disraeli Conservative
December  1868 to February  1874 William Ewart Gladstone Liberal
February  1874 to April  1880 Benjamin Disraeli  Conservative
April  1880 to June  1885 William Ewart Gladstone Liberal
June  1885 to February  1886 Robert Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, Conservative
February  1886 to July  1886 William Ewart Gladstone Liberal
August  1886 to August  1892 Robert  Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, Conservative
August  1892 to March  1894 William Ewart Gladstone Liberal
March  1894 to June  1895 Archibald Philip Primrose, Earl of Rosebery Liberal
June  1895 to July  1902 Robert Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, Conservative/Unionist
July  1902 to December  1905 Arthur Balfour Conservative/Unionist
December  1905 to April  1908 Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman Liberal
April  1908 to May  1915 Herbert Henry Asquith Liberal
May  1915 to December  1916 Herbert Henry Asquith Liberal/Coalition
December  1916 to October  1922 David Lloyd George Liberal/Coalition
October  1922 to May  1923 Andrew Bonar Law Conservative
May  1923 to January  1924 Stanley Baldwin Conservative
January  1924 to November  1924 Ramsay MacDonald Labour
November  1924 to June  1929 Stanley Baldwin Conservative
June  1929 to August 1931 Ramsay MacDonald Labour
August  1931 to June  1935 Ramsay MacDonald  Labour/National Government
June  1935 to May  1937 Stanley Baldwin Conservative/National Government
May  1937 to May 1940 Neville Chamberlain Conserv./National Government
May  1940 to July  1945 Winston Churchill Conservative/Coalition Government
July  1945 to October  1951 Clement Attlee Labour
October  1951 to April  1955 Sir Winston Churchill Conservative
April  1955 to January  1957 Sir Anthony Eden Conservative
January  1957 to October  1963 Harold Macmillan Conservative
October  1963 to October  1964 Sir Alec Douglas-Home Conservative
October  1964 to June  1970 Harold Wilson Labour
June  1970 to March  1974 Edward Heath Conservative
March  1974 to April  1976 Harold Wilson Labour
April  1976 to May 1979 James Callaghan Labour
May  1979 to November  1990 Margaret Thatcher Conservative
November  1990 to May  1997 John Major Conservative
May  1997 to June 2007 Tony Blair Labour
June 2007 to Gordon Brown Labour