Guy Fawkes 2a
Civil Liberties

Time to forgive Guy Fawkes?

 

“Guy Fawkes should be forgiven because he has become a ‘global brand’, says headmaster of Catholic plotter’s old school.” That’s a summary of an inept piece in the Telegraph (churned by the Daily Mail), which simply spouts Leo Winkley’s meandering reasoning without any critical engagement or historical discernment at all.

It appears that Guy Fawkes, having become “an internationally recognised symbol of British culture”, merits forgiveness because “It’s debatable whether he was a freedom fighter or a terrorist”, and:

“Burning a Guy is likely to be seen as an expression of religious intolerance at worst or more likely, an inexplicable historical throwback. Consider this: how would we explain it to a seven year old? If we’re not comfortable explaining it, we shouldn’t do it! Most people call it bonfire night. Time to move on and let the poor soul rest.”

So celebrating Bonfire Night by burning a Guy is an expression of “religious intolerance”. The fact that he attempted to blow up Parliament, assassinate King James I and extinguish democracy is apparently of little importance. Should we pardon freedom fighters Gerry Adam and Martin McGuinness for attempting to assassinate Margaret Thatcher and her entire Cabinet? O, hang on..

When does a cursed terrorist become a feted freedom fighter? Nelson Mandela, Yitzhak Shamir, Colonel Gaddafi, Yasser Arafat..

Will we soon see the leaders of the Islamic State on the White House lawn, lauded as heroes and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?

We’ve actually largely forgotten the reasons for Guy Fawkes’ execution: Bonfire Night has been subsumed to Halloween, and the fireworks syncretised with Diwali. Far from being a traitor and terrorist, Guy Fawkes is now lauded for his justified political objectives: his image is idolised in ‘V for Vendetta’ and has been transmuted into the ‘Occupy’ symbol of liberty against capitalist tyranny.

Surely the Protestant Reformation was about the ordinary man and woman standing up to corrupt authority and declaring: “Let the people decide!” From that cry came the right to read Scripture in the vernacular and the freedom to approach God through no intercessor but Jesus. We learned what it meant to be individual and equal, out of which flowed the liberties which led to democracy. Surely the establishment of the Protestant Monarchy and the free Church of England is irrevocably fused with our freedoms?

As Daniel Hannan MEP once observed:

People were in no doubt that a way of life had been preserved: our monarchy, our representative government, the things that made us different from Continental despotisms. King James told relieved MPs that, had the plot been successful, “it should never have been spoken or written in ages succeeding that I had died ingloriously in an Ale-house, a Stews or such vile place, but that mine end should have been with the most honourable and best company, and in the most honourable and best place, for a king to be, doing the terms most proper to his office”.

The parliamentarians, delighted to find their sovereign and themselves in one piece, didn’t stop to wonder what His Majesty might have been doing in a tavern of a brothel. They cheered him lustily and voted him a generous subsidy.

What would they say, those brave, drunk, patriotic, quarrelsome MPs, if they could see their successor Parliament surrendering its prerogatives, not as the result of a successful terrorist attack nor a bloody insurrection, not following defeat in war or foreign occupation, but by its own votes? How reduced we are as a people.

And he concluded that today we should be burning the Treaty of Rome rather than its Bishop.

Not, of course, that many places burn effigies of the Pope any more: most of us stick to the terrorist and traitor Fawkes. One has to wonder, though, on the day we commemorate deliverance from a seditious continental terrorist plot and the treacherous subversion of Rome, that the continental powers have achieved the subjugation of England, her Monarch and her Parliament, and the Treaty of Rome has triumphed. The wheel is come full circle.

Before the meaning and significance of Guy Fawkes’ Night are lost forever in historic revisionism and the forgetfulness of time, or eclipsed by sundry multifaith festivals of light with altogether foreign affirmations and commemorations, it is worth reflecting on the value of the remembrance.

Gratitude to God for deliverance is no longer part of the national psyche: there has been no full-frontal attempt at invasion by a foreign power for 70 years, and so our security and liberty are taken for granted by generations who have never experienced the threat of oppression. The exercise of democracy has become a quaint tradition which many are now content to see compromised and diminished, and in which millions no longer bother to participate at all.

The Protestants of the 16th and 17th centuries knew what it was to contend for liberty against the oppression of Rome. They also knew how to celebrate and commemorate the deliverance of England with the sort of flame which, by God’s grace, they trusted might never be put out.

Guy Fawkes’ gunpowder plot failed in its objective to assassinate the Protestant King James, blow Parliament to kingdom come and restore the old religion. And that failure meant the preservation of our liberties and independence from the oppression of foreign princes and potentates. And the King and Parliament decreed that henceforth the 5th November would be remembered throughout history with fireworks, bonfires and feasts of celebration; with gratitude to God, an abundance of joy and thanksgiving, patriotic revelry and not a little drunkenness.

And so a most blessed Guy Fawkes’ Night to all readers and communicants, of all faiths and none. And should you share Headmaster Winkley’s reservations about historic oppression and religious intolerance, please remember that Westminster Cathedral still styles Archbishop Cranmer “heretic”.

True Protestants I pray you do draw near
Unto this ditty lend attentive ear,
The lines are new although the subject’s old
Likewise it is as true as e’er was told.

When James the First in England reigned King,
Under his Royal gracious Princely wing
Religion flourish’d both in court and town
Which wretched Romans strove to trample down.

To their old plotting trade they straight did go,
To prove this Kingdom’s final overthrow
A plot contriv’d by Catholics alone
The like before or since was never known.

Rome’s Council did together often meet
For to contrive which way they might complete
This bloody treason which they took in hand
Against the King, and Heads of all the land.

At length these wretched Romans all agreed
Which way to make the King and Nation bleed
By powder, all agreed with joint consent.
To blow up both the King and Parliament.

For to keep secret this, their villany
By solemn oaths they one another tie
Nay farther, being void of grace and shame,
Each took the Sacrament upon the same.

Their Treason wrapp’d in this black mantle, then,
Secure and safe from all the eyes of men,
They did not fear/ but by one fatal blow,
To prove the Church and Kingdom’s overthrow.

Catesby with all the other Roman crew,
This powder plot did eagerly pursue
Yet after all their mighty cost and care
Their own seat soon was taken in the snare.

Under the House of the great Parliament,
This Romish Den, and Devils by consent,
The Hellish powder plot they formed there,
In hopes to send all flying in the air.

barrels of powder privately convey’d,
billets and bars of iron too, were laid.
to tear up all before them as they flew,
a black invention by this dismal crew.

and with the fatal blow all must have flown,
the gracious king upon his royal throne,
His Gracious Queen likewise their Princely heir
All must have died and perish’d that was there.

The House of Noble Lords of high degree,
By this unheard of bloody tragedy,
Their limbs in sunder, straight would have been tore
And fill’d the air with noble bloody gore.

The worthy learned Judges grave and sagey
The Commons too, all must have felt Rome’s rage,
Had not the Lord of Love crept in between
Oh! what a dismal slaughter there had been.

The King, the Queen and Barons of the land.
The Judges, Gentry did together stand,
On ruin’s brink, while Rome the blow would give,
They’d but the burning of a match to live.

But that great God that sits in Heaven high.
He did behold their bloody treachery,
He made their own handwriting soon betray
The work which they had plotted many a day.

The Lord in Mercy did his Wisdom send,
Unto the King, his people to defend,
Which did reveal the hidden powder plot,
A gracious mercy, ne’er to be forgot

And brought Rome’s faction unto punishment,
Which did the powder treason first invent,
And all that ever plots, I hope God will,
That the true Christian church may flourish still.

  • Arden Forester

    “…..commemorate the deliverance of England with the sort of flame which, by God’s grace, they trusted might never be put out”.

    The flame has flickered a bit and a few novelty doctrines have been offered to England. A good thing Ecclesia Anglicana never allowed the notions of continental protestants much sway.

  • Martin

    I’d happily burn both Fawkes & pope in effigy, sadly my garden is too small. But both are the model for those Muslims who happily kill all they can.

    • sarky

      Doesn’t surprise me. You christians have a reputation for a good burning. It was James1who wrote the book ‘daemonology’ that led to the burning and hanging of hundreds of women as witches.

      • Busy Mum

        James I gets off too lightly with being called a Christian, yet alone a protestant. He vowed to make the puritans ‘conform or else he would harry them from the land’, he murdered Sir Walter Raleigh, and his wife Anne was a secret Roman Catholic. James employed her Jesuit Father Confessor as Keeper of His Majesty’s Hawks so that the general public would be kept in ignorance…

        • sarky

          Ha ha I think most christians get off to lightly with being called a christian.

          • Busy Mum

            Oh Sarky! I agree! Wonders will never cease!

      • The Explorer

        Angele de la Barthe was burned for sexual congress with the devil. One wonders how the evidence for that would have been established.

        Unfortunately, the whole story of the trial is now thought to be fictional.

        • dannybhoy

          ” One wonders how the evidence for that would have been established.”

          Sarky might know….

          • The Explorer

            If he does, I hope he’ll tell us. It might be interesting.

          • sarky

            By torture!!! Until it was admitted.
            There was an interesting two part documentary on it recently.

          • sarky

            It was called ‘witch hunt:a centuary of murder’ if you’re interested.

          • dannybhoy

            I was just wondering about your ancestry..

          • The Explorer

            I doubt that Angele features in Sarky’s ancestry. But as for the other party involved…

          • sarky

            Just checked my temple and I’m all good.

          • sarky

            Well I live in Matthew Hopkins old stamping grounds, so who knows.

          • dannybhoy

            A bit too voyeuristic for me Sarky. Rather reminded me of “The Witchfinder General.”
            We know it happened, we know it was terribly wrong, but it was an age of limited education and superstition.
            History is littered with similar examples, and in some parts of the world similar things still happen.

          • The Explorer

            Ever thought that Matthew Hopkins is a dead ringer for the Inspector?

            Project the Inspector back in time, and who knows what he might have been inspecting.

          • dannybhoy

            Huh!
            You certainly have hit upon something there. I have often wondered whether the Inspector’s jingoistic and way out theology hid another, more sinister, kinky even alter ego.
            After all, none of us really know what he believes. We do know he spends a great deal of time baiting Pink News readers and has an ill disguised fondness for spirits..

            D’ye think he may have a fetish for long black clokes…?

          • Hmm. Hopkins. Informally known as the Witchfinder General.

          • sarky

            Pity it still goes on. Except its no longer witches that suffer your ignorance.

          • dannybhoy
          • The Explorer

            Lucky Dr Susannah Lipscomb never got to encounter Matthew Hopkins. I’m sure he would have taken enormous pains (hers, not his) to ascertain whether or not she was a witch.

          • dannybhoy

            Lol! Sadists usually enjoy their work…

          • The Explorer

            There’s a problem with evidence obtained under torture. People will say anything, just to get the pain to stop. This seems so obvious that one is surprised it doesn’t seem to have occurred to those involved in the process.

        • Ivan M

          I don’t know anything about this. But a question to ask is would the Inquisition have burned Ms Angele fictional or not? The standard of proof was always much higher with the Inquisition. Instead we have the spectacle of Protestant witch-hunters, having issues with hysterical or highly sexed women, taking the opportunity to burn thousands, to cool the ardour of the others.
          It is as good a way as any to keep the hysteria and lust in check. As they continued to do with among others Kepler’s mother and the Salem witches.

          • The Explorer

            I think the original story was probably some kind of ant-Cathar propaganda which entered into folklore and then was written about as fiction a couple of centuries later. In some lists of victims (particularly those with a hostile agenda) she features as an actual historical character.

        • Little Black Censored

          Does that mean she wasn’t burned?

          • The Explorer

            The evidence is rather confused. If this makes any sense, she wasn’t burned because she didn’t exist, but had she existed, she would have been.
            Further to my own question, I did some internet research. It seems the evidence against her was that she gave birth to a devilish creature to which she fed babies. It was never found, because when the authorities caught up with her she drove it away. (Alternative explanation: it never existed in the first place, but to get torture to stop, you have to come up with something that will satisfy your interrogators.)
            Great story though it is, modern opinion seems to think that Angele and her monster are both fiction.

      • Old Nick

        But he opposed smoking

        • sarky

          I think it’s because smoking them to death would take too long, would improve the flavour though 😉

        • Little Black Censored

          Nasty people still oppose smoking.

      • Martin

        Sarky

        What didn’t you understand about “in effigy”? And of course, you Atheists have been in the forefront of those actually killing people who disagree with you.

        • sarky

          Of course I understood “in effigy”?????
          As for killing people who disagree, two words……The flood.

          • Little Black Censored

            And who do you blame for that?

          • Martin

            Sarky

            All life belongs to God and He may take it when He chooses, His reasons are always good. As for the wicked who died in the Flood, their death was well deserved.

          • sarky

            Even the babies and children?

          • Martin

            Sarky

            as it is written:
            None is righteous, no, not one;
            no one understands;
            no one seeks for God.
            All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
            no one does good,
            not even one.
            Their throat is an open grave;
            they use their tongues to deceive.
            The venom of asps is under their lips.
            Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.
            Their feet are swift to shed blood;
            in their paths are ruin and misery,
            and the way of peace they have not known.
            There is no fear of God before their eyes.
            (Romans 3:10-18 [ESV]

            Even the babies and children

          • sarky

            Sick.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Indeed you are sick, sick with the sin that will drag you to destruction.

          • sarky

            Actually I’m not 🙂

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Sad is the man who doesn’t see his own sickness.

          • sarky

            Right back at you.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            So sick you think that everyone else is wrong but you are right.

          • sarky

            No just you.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Then it’s a shame you can produce no argument.

    • Inspector General

      Why Martin – one doeth believe you are running around on all fours and foaming at the mouth…

      • Martin

        IG

        I’d hate to think you were doing it alone.

    • That hardly reflects a spirit of love, compassion and forgiveness, Martin.

      • Martin

        HJ

        Forgiveness requires repentance. I hadn’t noticed the pope giving up his claim to supremacy.

  • B flat

    Surely the Protestant Reformation was about the ordinary man and woman
    standing up to corrupt authority and declaring: “Let the people decide!”

    Your historic namesake knew very well the decisive role of the Crown in imposing the new religion on the people of the kingdom. The adherents of the Pilgrimage of Grace, the Cornish uprising, and the Welsh who had and English prayer book imposed on them were certainly not allowed any part in the decision, which was an exercise in tyranny.
    As to “…the establishment of … the free Church of England is irrevocably fused with our freedoms” I can only snort in derisive frustration. The Church of England was not free at its establishment, nor has it been so since then. The Cof E is a human construct of the political establishment of the 16th century, mirroring in its decay the erosion of our hard-won freedoms in this century, by the present political powers. There is only one service which is perfect freedom, and most refuse to undertake it, to their loss and ours.

    • Busy Mum

      I would not call it a new religion – and neither would have the reformers.
      The Stuarts liked religion for the political power it could give them – power they were happy enough to take from the Pope, but not give to the people. That’s why they tried to stop the reformation half way.

  • dannybhoy

    Time to forgive?
    Too late methinks!
    In any case who today would be truly qualified to forgive him and his co conspirators?
    It was all a part of the ongoing struggle between Catholicism and Protestantism, culminating in the English Civil War.
    http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/stuart-england/the-gunpowder-plot-of-1605/
    http://www.britpolitics.co.uk/causes-of-the-civil-war
    Although the question of Papal authority remains, most Christians are far more tolerant of other Christian traditions, which is as it should be. (ref.

    http://archbishopcranmer.com/fr-raniero-cantalamessa-preacher-to-the-papal-household-to-speak-at-synod-eucharist/)

    We had our Churches Together meeting last night, hosted by the Catholic priest. He joins in with our joint celebrations at Christmas and Easter, and noone would dream of pushing him to do more than he feels comfortable with; but there obviously are things he does feel uncomfortable with!

    • Busy Mum

      It used to be the other way round – RC priests did things that made people feel very uncomfortable. And before someone like Sarky 🙂 jumps in to talk about child abuse, I am referring to the Ritualism that has crept back in to the Cof E and desensitised nominal protestants to the very doctrinal differences that their forebears protested about in the first place!

      • dannybhoy

        Sarky can always be counted on to jump in…

        • Busy Mum

          Agreed – which is why I personally would not attend any Churches Together meeting…:) The EU is a Jesuit-driven program to do what the Armada, Guy Fawkes and the Stuarts couldn’t.

          • dannybhoy

            “Agreed – which is why I personally would not attend any Churches Together meeting…:)”

            Hmmm,
            I can see why you would say that, but we are fortunate in that our vicar is a born again Christian, the Baptist rep is, and the Methodist minister is too. The whole tenor of our Churches Together group is to witness and serve, and that’s why the wife and I support it.

            We Christians should always be ready to speak up for the truth of the Gospel, even if it makes others uncomfortable…

          • Busy Mum

            Good, I hope your RC priest feels uncomfortable lots of the time at your group meetings:)

          • dannybhoy

            He does. How did you know that?
            But the thing that I have learnt over the years is loving people is better than winning arguments.
            Not that basic essential theology isn’t important, but often times you need to see the person before you judge their arguments..

          • Old Nick

            Are only “born again” Christians the only real Christians ? I have found very little of such a view in over 40 years of patristic study.

          • Anna055

            Oh for the heady days when charismatic Baptist David Pawson shared a platform with a (charismatic) Catholic cardinal.

          • IanCad

            Gunpowder, treason and plot…..

          • The origins of the EU was a counter to the growth of Communism as the Fascist dictators fell and left a power vacuum. It envisaged a Christian family of European nations living, trading and working together to promote the common good. Communism could have swept through many of the nations of Western Europe after the war.

        • Busy Mum

          This is different to what came up on my disqus notification hence my seemingly incoherent reply to you just now!
          Oh, now the whole thing is there – how confusing – ignore this!

          • dannybhoy

            Sorry, I rather heavily revised it…

    • Anton

      It was all a part of the ongoing struggle between Catholicism and Protestantism, culminating in the English Civil War.

      The English Civil War was several things at once:

      Crown vs Parliament
      High church protestantism vs Low church protestantism
      Lower landed classes vs Higher landed classes

      but it was not Catholic vs Protestant, even if much of the north had Catholic sympathies. For that, you had to cross the Channel to witness the later stages of the Thirty Years War.

      • dannybhoy

        The Crown versus Parliament was surely a follow on from the Divine Right of Kings?
        http://www.britannica.com/topic/divine-right-of-kings

        Historical development shows the gradual change from an autocratic rule to a more representative form of rule.
        It always has been about who rules and how.
        In the context of Western Europe that reality has its roots in the relationship of the spiritual authority of Church to the earthly authority of kings.

        • Anton

          Yes, but divine right of kings is not a specifically Catholic thing – look at the Roman emperors.

          • dannybhoy

            Agreed it wasn’t specifically Catholic, but in the context it was was about the (Catholic) Church and its relationship to its sometimes errant children..

          • The Divine Right of Kings is not a Catholic ‘thing’ at all. The Church would anoint Kings and considered good Kingship to rule according to the laws of God, leaving the King to apply these – with counsel from his civil and religious advisors. If a King departed from Christian virtue, his legitimacy would be called into question.

          • dannybhoy

            Agreed, but essentially the struggle was between the power and authority of the Church, the power and authority of kings and the forces working for change and reform

  • dannybhoy

    Off Topic I know, but…
    please sign the petition on behalf of the Reverend Barry Trayhorn, the assistant prison chaplain in trouble for quoting the Bible…
    Please don’t allow your personal theology to blind you to the greater threat to our Christian faith and witness in our country…
    http://www.citizengo.org/en/pr/30815-forced-his-job-uk-prison-chaplain-needs-your-support

    • john in cheshire

      Good call. I’ve signed and I’d hope many more will do so. It’s outrageous that he has been effectively sacked for preaching the bible, to people who voluntarily attended his meetings.

    • Signed.

    • David

      Signed !

    • Done. Whether they’ll accept a Canadian signature is another matter. This bizarre persecution threatens all faiths, in the UK and the Commonwealth.

      • dannybhoy

        Thanks Avi, and all who used their democratic freedom to express their support. As you say the real issue is the serious threat to our liberties.

        Two interesting links regarding what is happening in universities and colleges here and in the States..

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3297734/Death-free-speech-Germaine-Greer-branded-transphobic-student-feminists-academic-attacks-self-righteous-zealots-censoring-history-literature-crushing-debate-universities.html

        http://www.fdlreporter.com/story/opinion/2015/08/18/trigger-warnings-practices-stifling-free-speech/31931085/

        Fascinating stuff.

        • Truth be known, Danny, it’s the raw deal the poor fellow is getting, rather than the big principles no one gives a hoot for any more and our already cheaply whored-out liberties that get my ire. In my uni days I used to go loggerheads with his kind and got to respect their frustrating dedication, and wrong-headed, but admirable conviction and goodwill. All the best to the Reverend in this ugly fight!

          Great links! Germaine Greer getting hanged by her own rope and the race for ever-greater insanity at our institutions always offers new amusement. The question I have, is given their history, why do people exoect universities to stop being the propaganda arms of whatev holds the whip and pursue or defend free thought? Ridiculous.

        • CliveM

          Hi Dannybhoy

          Can’t remember its name, but the third instalment in CS Lewis’ space trilogy sums this up nicely.

          • CliveM

            Just remembered ‘That Hideous Strength’.

          • dannybhoy

            “That Hideous Strength..”
            I have all three as battered paperbacks, and believe it or not I still read them from time to time.
            CS Lewis is a fine antidote to George Orwell; a secular prophet if ever there was one.
            CS Lewis was a storyteller, Christian philosopher, and very very human.
            I hope to meet him one day..

          • CliveM

            Yes I have them as a single book. The second was my favourite.

          • dannybhoy

            First and last, mine. I used to have quite a collection of CS Lewis paperbacks, but I gave them away during one of my OCD incidents..

          • CliveM

            I always love the Screwtape letters. Also ‘Till we have faces’.

  • john in cheshire

    Thank God he didn’t succeed then. Now, today, I’m not so sure I’d give the same thanks.

  • Manfarang

    Many years ago on November 5 I saw a notice outside an Anglican Church in Lewes which said “Viva la Papa,”so things have moved on from years ago.
    Anyway an effigy of David Cameron and his pig will be burned there tonight.

  • Coniston

    [Guy Fawkes] attempted to ‘extinguish democracy’. Just what was the ‘democracy’ he was attempting to extinguish?

    • Old Nick

      The English Parilament. Next question ?

      • Jonty Cecil

        I think we would of been better off if that parliament didn’t gain the ascendency and cause the civil war, leading to the american civil war & the french revolution leading to Napoleon then Bismarck then Hitler (yes Hitler wouldnt of resulted if it were not for the F revolution & Napoleon). Too much progress with disastarous results.

  • The Explorer

    Google Guy Fawkes’ signature before and after. In two words, it says a lot.

    • magnolia

      Not sure they aren’t rather over-reading into that. Certainly although there is the suggestion of a mildly trembling hand in the first signature there is a more trembling hand in the second. However there is no proof that the second might not have been written when it was colder, or he was colder, or the quill pen was less effective, or it had further dawned upon him as to quite how much trouble he was in. Anyone who has had to wait outside the headteacher’s office knows that feeling in the stomach and shake of the hand! Seems appropriate in the circumstances!

      • The Explorer

        Good points all. They do say we never write exactly the same signature twice. The differences here are more marked than normal: whatever the reason(s).

        • sarky

          He actually jumped and broke his neck to avoid being drawn and having his testicles cut off. However, he was quartered once dead!

          • The Explorer

            Yes, but he didn’t know he would have the opportunity to jump when he was writing his confessional signature.

      • sarky

        He was tortured mercilessly and horrifically!!! That signiture says it all. Comparing it to waiting outside the headmasters office beggers belief!

        • magnolia

          Not doubting he was tortured. It still happens; Guantanomo doesn’t represent a more civilized humanity. They would have seen it as a necessary and proportionate part of making sure no one else was planning to kill the King. It was the equivalent of a terrorist attack, and a large surrounding area, up to and including Westminster Abbey would have gone up causing thousands of deaths. I don’t think torture is right nor helpful, but that view would have been next to non-existent in those times. And he, I am afraid, showed no mercy in the many hundreds maybe thousands he planned to send to a horrendous death.

          I was not comparing it to sitting outside the headmaster’s office; I was comparing the feeling of dread of punishment of unknown magnitude and what it does to the body that for most people is most readily accessed through that image.

          The question is whether his handwriting was like that because he was tortured. We cannot accurately know why he wrote like that for two seconds. The sample is too small.

  • The Explorer

    ‘King Lear’, with its theme of a divvied up kingdom, is thought to have been inspired in part by The Gunpowder Plot. If Fawkes had succeeded in blowing up James, and a fragile union along with him, Scottish devolution might have been an issue a lot sooner.

    • Pubcrawler

      There wasn’t a great deal to devolve in 1605. England might have been liberated from a Scottish king and court, but also, thanks to Tudor industry in eradicating any Plantagenet claimants to the throne, laid bare to Spanish or French ambition. So on the whole, better the [James Stuart] you know…

      I blame Good Queen Bess.

  • David

    A very good article that reminds us of some of the basics regarding freedom from oppression. Unfortunately those who clung to the “Old Religion” were not shown much tolerance.
    Today’s threats to our freedoms are far more insidious and many of our leading politicians are complicit in undermining our self-governance. It is no wonder that the public hold politicians in such low regard.

    • Old Nick

      Surely they were shown substantial tolerance in the early years of Good Queen Bess – and the innocuous (e.g. Wm. Byrd) continued to be given indulgence. It was when they because political, particularly when Spain became involved in the 1580s, that things hotted up.

      • David

        Yes, you’re right. I forgot the finer details. As long as they didn’t openly challenge the political regime they were “not noticed”. That very English form of hypocrisy used to work well until the intolerant “liberal” PC brigade were beamed down upon us as a curse !

  • Inspector General

    The Inspector will be listening to the fireworks on the radio tonight, having placed the cat on a pile of absorbent newspaper, and not forgetting to dose the thing with alcohol, to dull the pain of the flashes and bangs.

    Compared to what Henry VIII accomplished, Fawkes is a saint. Of course, had he been born a Nubian, November 5th may well be a bank holiday in this kingdom today. And children would be blacking up for the night. Effigies of King James would be destroyed in controlled explosions. You see, we like our terrorists black (black Irish excepted), as cuddly noose dodger Mandela was surprised to find. Even so, things will go wrong, they always do, and the night’s carnage will invariably be around a dozen dead, and several hundred maimed for life. But who cares about that. It’s a celebration, of sorts.

    And now to you, Cranmer. This ‘oppression of (by?) Rome’ you talk about, it ended in 410 AD in this country. There never was a time after that Rome asked anything of this country other than to accept its bishop as the premier bishop in Christendom. That’s not much to ask, is it? It’s not the first time, and it most certainly will not be the last when the casual observer of your script might well conclude that Rome was / is the seat of Satan in this world. Yet is it not the healthy option that state and religion be separated? To place temporal and spiritual command in one person – now that’s asking for trouble. You might even have the ghastly situation whereby the Prime Minister of this country, perhaps an atheist, agnostic, druid or muslim, gets to say who the next Archbishop of Canterbury is going to be. Imagine that disgrace!What did Christendom lose by the schism? We know one thing, we wouldn’t have had 450 years of Italian popes. We could have had a string of Nordic popes. Roman Catholicism might not be as it is today, even.

    Good Evening

    • A cookie for you as the lone and brave Romish voice of dissent among all the Proddies here, Inspector. And for the amusing prose, of course.And for the tip on how to deal with a cat who pisses herself at the sound of fireworks.

      Ps: And for the intriguing alternate history idea about the missed possibility of a less, um, Latin Catholicism.

      • Inspector General

        One has recently plunged into the fascinating subject of revisionism, Avi. Well, if it’s good enough for counter revolutionaries…

    • William Lewis

      What did Christendom lose by the schism? We know one thing, we wouldn’t have had 450 years of Italian popes. We could have had a string of Nordic popes. Roman Catholicism might not be as it is today, even.

      That’s the same argument to that being given by those who insist that the UK should stay in the EU. A not too dissimilar beast, politically speaking. Are EU sceptics the new protestants, I wonder?

      • Inspector General

        EU sceptics are not the new protestants, William. Silly argument you’ve put forward there. Don’t do it again…

    • Anton

      This ‘oppression of (by?) Rome’ you talk about, it ended in 410 AD in this country. There never was a time after that Rome asked anything of this country other than to accept its bishop as the premier bishop in Christendom.

      From the Papal Bull Regnans in Excelsis of 1570, which Rome encouraged Catholic powers, notably the Spanish, to enforce:

      We deprive… Elizabeth of her pretended claim to the kingdom [of England]…. And we command and forbid her lords, subjects and peoples to obey her…

      • Inspector General

        Let’s see now, Anton. Henry VIII had usurped the authority of the church, robbed it, and made the country a de facto police state, as those who were dragged away to imprisonment and execution will attest to. He not only claimed your political allegiance, but he extended that to controlling your spiritual freedom of worship. And it’s set to continue under the rule of his child. And you expect Rome to hold its peace over that? Big ask!

        • CliveM

          Your studies in revisionism are going well Inspector. I suspect Happy Jack will be pleased you’ve moved on from theology!

        • Anton

          Henry VIII was a monster. But I was taking issue with your statement that “There never was a time after that [410AD] Rome asked anything of this country other than to accept its bishop as the premier bishop”. It is not true, because we were also expected to accept his meddling in its politics, which is unacceptable. (As a matter of fact I think that NO church should be in politics as a collective body – only Christians as individuals. I dish it out to Anglicans too.)

          • Inspector General

            EVERYBODY meddles in politics. Anyway, the popes were in another country. Talk about oversensitive!

          • Anton

            It is precisely BECAUSE the Popes are in another country that they should keep their noses out of English politics.

          • Inspector General

            Calm down, that man. We are talking about the Holy Father here….

          • Anton

            My Holy Father is in heaven.

    • Well said, Inspector, apart from the latter couple of rather speculative sentences. Was the world ready for popes from north Europe? And the counter- reformation and the great Council at Trent placed the Church back on the firm foundation of Christ after years of corruption and confusion.

      • carl jacobs

        Jack! You survived. Come and sit by the fire and warm yourself.

        • Happy Jack is a survivor, of this you can be most sure, Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            Here, Jack. Cover yourself in this straw. It’s just an old tradition. Nothing to be concerned about.

          • Nah, Jack wouldn’t want to deprive you of your bedding material of choice, Carl. By all accounts, we’re due a hard winter and you’ll need all the straw you can get hold of.

          • carl jacobs

            I’m feeling a lack of trust, here, Jack.

          • Not at all. Jack was grateful for the generous offer of material for additional warmth. He just considers your need greater.

          • carl jacobs

            I’m an American, Jack. What’s more, I lived in North Dakota. I laugh at cold.

          • …. no central heating or air conditioning, then? Pope Francis would be proud of you.

      • Inspector General

        It is said that of the kingdoms of Europe, England was among the most devout. How about that Jack. You wouldn’t know it today…

        • Very true and a fine Pope may well have emerged from these fair islands of ours.

          • Inspector General

            One did

          • A long time ago and a very short papacy. Jack was thinking more of the emergence of a counter-reformation Pope, Inspector.

    • James60498 .

      Now come on, Inspector.

      Be nice to Mr Cranmer. Can you imagine how difficult it must be to be a member of the CofE and believe in God, and at the same time be a member of the Conservative Party and be a conservative? A real struggle I would have thought.

      But I do have a friend who was in exactly that position. He hadn’t quite reached the heights of Archbishop but he was a member of the Synod. He, and his wife decided to join the Catholic Church, and I guess if you don’t do that then the need to attack it becomes a necessary form of defence in justifying your decision to stay.

      Unfortunately my friend remains a member of the Conservative Party, but justifies that by the excellent works he does as a ward councillor.

      • Inspector General

        Cranmer’s qualities, to wit, loyalty to the CoE and the Conservatives are sterling stuff, and must not be discussed lightly, James.

        Sadly, though, neither institution are the bedrocks they used to be, and continued allegiance one has found personally with the Conservatives depended on far how one was prepared to stretch. Can’t remember the term used in physics, but there comes a point when malleability ceases. The announcement of an EU in or out vote came way too late. By about a couple of decades, to be precise…

  • “Gratitude to God for deliverance is no longer part of the national psyche”. So true and much to be lamented, particularly in this 75th anniversary year of Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain.

    Our nation needs re-educating in the mighty works of God’s providence in 1940, when the King called a national day of prayer both at the time of Dunkirk and then a few months later on Sep 8th, when the air battle was at its height.

    In both cases the churches were packed and the Lord wonderfully heard the prayers of a humbled people. Air Chief Marshall Dowding, in charge of Fighter Command, himself attributed the outcome of the struggle in the skies to the prayers of the people.

    Trendy PC modern Britain forgets these truths to the nation’s peril.

    • David

      I totally agree Peter. The nation has turned its face away from God and is therefore slowly degenerating. God’s judgement hangs over this nation. Only some very hard lessons may bring it back, humbled before the power of the eternal One.

      • Indeed David. The Biblical truth that God judges nations needs so much emphasis in this degenerate age. The answer to our malaise is not more government expenditure on this or that, but heartfelt national repentance.

        • David

          Yes indeed. The pages of the OT speak clearly regarding the fate of nations that turn away from God.

    • Manfarang

      I remember one Dunkirk veteran-Ernie. When things became disorganised he would say,”This is worse than Dunkirk”.

      • Yes, indeed, it was absolute chaos, yet in God’s providence over 330,000 soldiers were rescued. A storm over Flanders grounded the Luftwaffe, whilst the Channel was like a millpond so as to facilitate the evacuation. A truly wonderful and powerful answer to the nation’s prayers.

  • chiefofsinners

    Where’s Jack? This night of all nights, we need a Guy like him.

    • carl jacobs

      Heh. You are just encourageable.

      • Roast poultry night at the Jacobses?

        • carl jacobs

          Nah. Wife is working. I’m on my own tonight.

          OK, so actually I’m on a bus at the moment. Doing my part to fight global warming. 😉

          • You. On a bus. In the evening. In an American city. A concealed-carry municipality, I hope?

          • carl jacobs

            Well, yeah. But you can’t carry on a bus. Besides this city isn’t dangerous.

          • Seriously? What’s the point, then? So, this is how you get your thrills when wife’s away; unarmed on a bus at night.

          • Inspector General

            Not dangerous? A city without hiphop and soul? Has the American dream become a nightmare the Inspector trembles to ask….

            it’s hard to realise you once narrated the Batman series…

          • carl jacobs

            About half the passengers on the bus are black.

          • Inspector General

            Just like London then…

          • carl jacobs

            Anyways. Wife gets car A. Daughter gets car B. Guess who rides the bus?

          • Hahaha!

          • Ps and guess who oays daughter’s gas?

          • carl jacobs

            No, she actually pays for her gas. And I wouldn’t want either of them riding the bus consistently. Most of the people on the bus are just people, but you do meet some interesting types now and then. Someone over the limit, or someone complaining about his parole officer.

          • Same here. And depends on time of day, of course. Our 14 year old daughter takes bus and subway to a downtown scchool and back, which horrifies our suburbanite friends. But it”s all office workers and other private school kids in the morning and classmates on the way back. Most of the over the limit characters haven’t panhandled long enoughby then to afford fuel.

          • Inspector General

            Bus!

            One thought the Deadwood stage ran past your place. What’s wrong with that…

          • CliveM

            Lol!

          • carl jacobs

            The Deadwood Stage by definition goes to Deadwood. Which is several hundred miles away. And it’s in South Dakota. Who would want to go to South Dakota? North Dakota is much nicer. Besides ever since the horses joined the Teamsters Union, they can’t be made to run anymore. They just sort of walk, and stop every 45 minutes for a break. Not to mention the incessant whining about how come they don’t get to pull the Budweiser Wagon and get starring rolls on Super Bowl commercials. Like Clydesdales are so special.

            It’s not like the old days.

          • Inspector General

            Oh Lord! One will have to update his knowledge of the Wild West – You’ll be saying you don’t have sheriffs, or injuns, or camp town ladies next…

          • carl jacobs

            Of course we still have sheriffs. It’s typically an elected County office. Deputy Sheriffs work for the Sheriff and are responsible for law enforcement in unincorporated parts of the county. A police dept is responsible for law enforcement in an incorporated city or town unless the town is too small to afford a police dept. Then it falls back on the sheriff.

          • Inspector General

            Rather like medieval England then, without the election bit.

            By the way, the greatest American who ever lived, in the Inspector’s opinion, is Dub Taylor and his bowler hat. One trusts there are suitable monuments everywhere in his honour…

          • carl jacobs

            Um … Who?

            … [Google Google]…

            You mean the supporting actor in all those Westerns?

  • carl jacobs

    If Guy Fawkes Day isn’t to your liking, you can always wait two days and celebrate the 98th Anniversary of the Glorious October Revolution. The traditional means of celebration is to take a priest into the woods and shoot him in the back of the head. A kulak may be substituted if a priest is not available. The evening concludes with a rousing chorus of the Internationale and a general affirmation of the superior humanity of the New Rational Man.

    • Ivan M

      Or wait till Bastille Day and wring the neck of a cockerel. The cockades still celebrate the murder of the prison governor who welcomed the thugs into the prison grounds, as though it was the first day of Freedom. He had no one to guard except about fifteen true criminals, and the Marquis de Sade who had been transferred out earlier. This is what the buggers celebrate.

      Mrs Thatcher when asked to send a contingent to “celebrate” the 200th anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille, remarked that “the last 200 years of trouble was enough”, and the British soldiers who were sent, had leopard skin togas over their fatigues, as though the were out hunting baboons and other wildlife. I thought that was a zany touch of British humour.

      • Anton

        I thought her finest hour came in her comments to Le Monde while in Paris for a G7 summit that (deliberately) coincided with the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution:

        Human rights did not begin with the French Revolution; they stem from a mixture of Judaism and Christianity. We had 1688, our quiet revolution, where Parliament exerted its will over the King. It was not the sort of Revolution that France’s was. ‘Liberty, equality, fraternity’ — they forgot obligations and duties I think. And then of course the fraternity went missing for a long time.

        She left out the fact that we also beheaded our king a century before they did; nevertheless, to say those things publicly in France at the 200th anniversary of the French revolution… What a woman!

  • Old Nick

    The fireworks are surely meant for the landing of King William III at Brixham on November 5th 1688 (and his subsequent first court in the Deanery at Exeter – a beautiful and historic house, its walls now painted Sensodyne Green, and its rooms transformed into something resembling the premises of a second-rate insurance company).

  • len

    Burning an effigy is surely a ‘hate crime’ and should be banned anyway under our Politically correct agenda?.

    • Anton

      There were police rumblings late in 2008 that anybody whistling the Okey-Cokey at a Celtic vs Rangers match might be done for hate crime, because some suppose the phrase is a mocking reference to transubstantiation deriving from the words “Hoc est Corpus Meum” in the Latin Mass (although the phrase got there unchanged from the New Testament). Whether that really is the origin of the Okey-Cokey, I have no idea. I understand that His Grace commented upon this at the time.

  • Anton

    In all the differing views of Pope Francis, let it be noted that within two months of becoming Pope he canonised the 813 martyrs of Otranto who bravely refused at swordpoint to convert to Islam when the Ottomans invaded the heel of Italy in 1480:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martyrs_of_Otranto

  • The Elderking

    Extinguish democracy?????

    Has his Grace forgotten that at that time only aristocrats and the wealthy had a vote?

    Has he forgotten that Catholics could not vote, were subject to a religious tax (where did that idea spring from???) and were often stripped of land and living?

    Has he forgotten the stripping of the altars? The casting out of the sick, poor and elderly?

    The Penal Years?

    Fawkes actions were a long delayed cry of anguish from many of the English people who refused to bow down to a new cult.

    It’s about time “His Grace” opened his mind, or at least a book.

    http://www.catholicbrailes.org.uk/brailes/brailes.html

    • chiefofsinners

      I’m lovin’ your polemic, but still partial to a bonfire, a hotdog and Protestantism in general.

  • Albert

    “Guy Fawkes should be forgiven because he has become a ‘global brand’, says headmaster of Catholic plotter’s old school.” That’s a summary of an inept piece in the Telegraph (churned by theDaily Mail),

    No, I can’t see where he says he should be forgiven, or even that that is an accurate summary of what he says. What he actually says is

    “It’s debatable whether he was a freedom fighter or a terrorist. Those who argue he was a freedom fighter would say he grew up in a time when about one per cent of the population was openly Catholic and he was therefore part of a persecuted minority,” he said.

    “On the other hand, nobody could approve of the act of trying to blow up the instrument of democracy. One can’t condone it even 400 or so years on. You could argue that he’s an icon of the complex and flawed nature of human beings.”

    • Do you not understand what quotation marks are? Why don’t you save yourself the trouble of leaping to yet another anti-Anglican swipe at this blog and take the matter up directly with the Telegraph, which is owned by two of your (more robust) co-religionists?

      • Albert

        Yes, of course, that’s why I said No, I can’t see where he says he should be forgiven, or even that that is an accurate summary of what he says. The quote is clearly not yours or his.

        As for your article, all I would say is that I do find it odd that you did not give the man the benefit of being heard saying On the other hand, nobody could approve of the act of trying to blow up the instrument of democracy. One can’t condone it even 400 or so years on.

  • Albert

    It turns out that Leo Winkley’s an Anglican. Perhaps that explains why he’s so sanguine about all this. After all, Protestants killed at least two British monarchs and overthrew and exiled a third.

  • LoveMeIamALiberal