The Curmudgeon


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Historical Britishness

Today, as everyone with any aspiration to Britishness must know, is the anniversary of both the Battle of Agincourt (1415) and the Charge of the Light Brigade (1854). Surely, no one who claims even a modicum of Britishness can be unaware of these glorious episodes in our British history, which between them encapsulate so much of what is uniquely sterling and wondrous in the British national character.

British is brave, as at Agincourt when the enemy cavalry became stuck in the mud and the British archers rained death on them from a slightly smaller distance than a Coalition of the Willing pilot democratising Falluja;

British is fair, as when the Light Brigade fiasco was blamed not on Lord Raglan who did not charge the enemy and survived, nor on Lord Lucan who did not charge the enemy and survived, nor on Lord Cardigan who did not charge the enemy and survived; but on a Captain Nolan, who did charge the enemy and was killed;

British is tolerant, like Henry V, glamorous victor of Agincourt, two of whose favourite pastimes were the burning and boiling of heretics;

British is unselfish, like Lord Cardigan, who brought his private yacht to Balaclava, where the petty priorities of various supply ships, hospital ships, etc., were duly put into perspective;

British is law-abiding, like Henry V, chivalrous victor of Agincourt, who claimed a throne to which he was not entitled and who massacred prisoners of war in defiance even of the largely undemanding moral standards of his time and class;

British is plucky and independent, as may be seen from the fact that both of these glorious adventures were undertaken without American guidance.


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