Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Britain -

The Welsh kept the sabbath, and anything else they could lay hands on, the Scots prayed on their knees, and preyed on their neighbors. The Irish were never sure what they wanted, but were always willing to fight for it. And the English proclaimed themselves to be a self made people, thus relieving the Almighty of a burdensome responsibility.

'Tis Liberty that crowns Britannia's Isle,
And makes her barren rocks and her bleak mountains smile.
Others with towering piles may please the sight,
And in their proud aspiring domes delight;
A nicer touch to the stretch'd canvas give,
Or teach their animated rocks to live:
'Tis Britain's care to watch o'er Europe's fate,
And hold in balance each contending state,
To threaten bold presumptuous kings with war,
And answer her afflicted neighbours' pray'r.
Joseph Addision, _Letter from Italy to the Right Honorable Lord Halifax_, 1701

Here as in no other country, the teachings of Holy Writ are venerated...Here, as in no other empire in the world, there breathes a passionate love of freedom, a burning hatred of tyrant wrong. --Hermann Adler, dedication to memorial of Jewish soldiers killed in the Boer War, 1905

Britain opened its doors to all comers, but extended a warm embrace to no-one. - Rosemary Ashton, Little Germany - Exile and Asylum in Victorian Engalnd, p 243.

But now, it is not as a woman descended from noble ancestry, but as one of the people that I am avenging lost freedom, my scourged body, the outraged chastity of my daughters. Roman lust has gone so far that not our very person, nor even age or virginity, are left unpolluted. But heaven is on the side of a righteous vengeance; a legion which dared to fight has perished; the rest are hiding themselves in their camp, or are thinking anxiously of flight. They will not sustain even the din and the shout of so many thousands, much less our charge and our blows. If you weigh well the strength of the armies, and the causes of the war, you will see that in this battle you must conquer or die. This is a woman's resolve; as for men, they may live and be slaves. -- Boadicea, queen of the Iceni, in Tacitus' _Annals_, Book XIV

This island is made mainly of coal and surrounded by fish. Only an organizing genius could produce a shortage of coal and fish at the same time. - Aneurin Bevan (1897 &endash; 1960)

God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and Glorious,
Long to reign over us;
God save the Queen!
O Lord our God arise,
Scatter her enemies
And make them fall;
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix,
Oh, save us all

Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign;
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the Queen!

Not in this land alone,
But be God's mercies known,
From shore to shore!
Lord make the nations see,
That men should brothers be,
And form one family,
The wide world over

From every latent foe,
From the assassins blow,
God save the Queen!
O'er her thine arm extend,
For Britain's sake defend,
Our mother, prince, and friend,
God save the Queen!
attr. to Henry Carey, 1740

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. but if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the light of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."
Excerpt of Speech given by Winston Churchill to the House of Commons as the The Battle of Britain Begins, 18 June 1940

This is a Christian country. Not in the sense that it has an established religion - although in England it has. Not in the sense that we might wish it to be so - it is not this newspaper's role to prescribe such matters of conscience for readers. This is a Christian country simply in the unanswerable sense that most of its citizens think of themselves as Christians. Earlier this month, in a report on the 2001 census, it was revealed that 42 million people in Britain - some 72% of the entire population - stated their religion as Christian. Enter what caveats you like about the figures - that this profession of Christianity may be mostly nominal, that the followers of other faiths must not be excluded, that the profession of any religion, or none, should be a purely private matter - but they are striking none the less. At the very least, they show that the church provides an extensive institutional and collective bond for many more people than we might otherwise imagine in what is often seen as an atomised and secular society.-Guardian editorial:

Love her or hate her, Margaret Thatcher is the defining figure in British politics, even more so now than when she was in office. It is impossible to understand New Labour except in terms of her achievements....
Margaret Thatcher made it necessary and possible for Tony Blair and Philip Gould to create New Labour. Her election victories prove that she had a deep understanding of the mood of the British public in the late 1970s and 1980s, and it became obvious to the left that unless it embraced that understanding, it would be doomed to perpetual election defeat.
Specifically, she understood that the British public were dissatisfied with an economy that failed to create prosperity and reward enterprise, and with public services (and public industries) dominated by producers and of scandalously poor quality. The results of her reforms were so spectacular and popular that it is amazing that it took Labour four election defeats to accept how much it needed to change....
Ever since Tony Blair began to recognise the achievement of Margaret Thatcher, he has never looked back.....
After the Thatcher period, however, the dragons had been slain, leaving the Conservatives with less purpose, making it possible for the British public to elect a seemingly benign and pleasant centre-left government....
The current Conservatives need to understand Britain just as clearly as did Margaret Thatcher if they are ever to aspire to government again.
Tessa Keswick. The Guardian. Tuesday April 20, 1999

Weallas, or Welshman, was one of the Old English words for slave; which showed where the Anglo-Saxons got their slaves.
R Lacey and D Danziger, The Year 1000, Little, Brown and Co,GB, 1999, p46.

In particular, our symbols are permeated by a religious tradition. It used to be said "there ain't no black in the Union Jack". Well, there ain't no Crescent neither. Nor, for that matter, no Star of David nor any religious symbol, but the Cross. - Oliver Letwin MP E pluribus unum - agreeing to differ

A whole troop of foreigners would not be able to withstand a single Celt if he called his wife to his assistance. The wife is even more formidable. She is usually very strong, and with blue eyes; in rage her neck veins swell, she gnashes her teeth, and brandishes her snow-white robust arms. She begins to strike blows mingled with kicks, as if they were so many missles sent from the string of a catapault. - Ammianus Marcellinus, Celtic Women

Though the island of Great Britain exhibits but a small spot upon the map of the globe, it makes a splendid appearance in the history of mankind, and for a long space has been signally under the protection of God and a seat of peace, liberty and truth.- John Newton (1725-1807), sermon, quoted in Andrew Thomson, Margaret Thatcher: The Woman Within, pp 68-69

Social dealings in private life are filled with fear, especially in Britain. People take pains not to wear their heart on their sleeves for daws to peck at. As far as they can, they keep their emotions to themselves. The will behave in exactly the same way to you whether they like or dislike you, provided they have no motive of self-interest for making up to you. They are stiff and shy and unspontaneous. They wear an armour designed to conceal the frightened child within. The result is that social intercourse becomes boring, that friendships have little life in them, and that love is only a pale shadow of what it might be.
Bertrand Russell, Life Without Fear New Hopes for a Changing World (1951)

The British are made up of four races:
- The Welsh, who pray on their knees and their neighbors;
- The Scots, who keep the Sabbath and anything else they can lay their hands on;
- The Irish, who don't know what they want but are willing to die for it;
- And the English, who consider themselves a race of self-made men, thereby relieving the Almighty of a dreadful responsibility. -- George Bernard Shaw

Britannia will never again wield the unrivalled power she enjoyed at her imperial apogee, but the Britannic inheritance endures, to one degree or another, in many of the key regional players in the world today &emdash; Australia, India, South Africa &emdash; and in dozens of island statelets from the Caribbean to the Pacific. If China ever takes its place as an advanced nation, it will be because the People's Republic learns more from British Hong Kong than Hong Kong learns from the Little Red Book. And of course the dominant power of our time derives its political character from 18th-century British subjects who took English ideas a little further than the mother country was willing to go. -- Mark Steyn, "Only Bush can save Europe", _The Spectator_, April 17, 2004

Who the first inhabitants of Britain were, whether natives or immigrants, remains obscure; one must remember we are dealing with barbarians.- Tacitus, AD 98:

Shine, mighty God, on Britain shine,
With beams of heav'nly grace;
Reveal thy power through all our coasts,
And show thy smiling face.

Amidst our isle, exalted high,
Do thou our glory stand,
And, like a wall of guardian fire,
Surround the fav'rite land.

When shall thy name, from shore to shore,
Sound all the earth abroad;
And distant nations know and love
Their Saviour and their God?

Sing to the Lord, ye distant lands,
Sing loud with solemn voice;
While British tongues exalt his praise,
And British hearts rejoice.

He, the great Lord, the sovereign Judge,
That sits enthroned above,
Wisely commands the worlds he made
In justice and in love.

Earth shall obey her Maker's will,
And yield a full increase;
Our God will crown his chosen isle
With fruitfulness and peace.

God the Redeemer scatters round
His choicest favors here,
While the creation's utmost bound
Shall see, adore, and fear.
Isaac Watts, PSALM 67, The nation's prosperity, and the church's increase.

I don't know what effect these men will have on the enemy, but by God, they frighten me.--Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852)(attrib.)

[of the British army, 1831] Ours is composed of the scum of the earth. --Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852)

No comments: