6. Nov, 2017



Another PC-obsessed do-gooder, this time trying to end a fine old English tradition in the interests of health and safety….

YUP. THAT’S ME and my target is the annual November 5th Bonfire/Fireworks/Guy Fawkes night/ “celebrations“.

Allowing for the fact that the English are woefully ignorant of their nation’s past, let alone of History, I will recap. 1605 was a time of violent religious intolerance. A small group of Catholic extremists (the Jihardists of their day) plotted to blow up the House of Parliament on the day of its state opening and so at one fell swoop wipe out King James I, his queen and the princes, the senior Anglican Clergy, the leading members of the aristocracy and the Commons.
The plot was discovered and exploited by James’s secret service led so ably and ruthlessly by Robert Cecil. Their brief being to protect the king “at all costs,” their methods put the KGB and Gestapo to shame. (For a dramatic portrayal and allowing for dramatic licence see the recent three-part BBC production of “Gunpowder” still on iPlayer).
Of course it is easy to excuse “patriots” of the time on the grounds that it was a violent age (as indeed it was) and a damned sight less squeamish than our own. On the other hand, would the Cecils of the time have wanted their families subjected to the same vicious treatment should Catholics have been in the majority? No, I thought not. They knew it was wrong but still did it on the grounds of “ends justifying means.” Frankly I would prefer my country not celebrating such dubious ethics as that.
However, I went along with the celebrations until 6th of November 1963. On that afternoon we had a school rugby match and one of our students sustained a broken leg. I went with him in the ambulance to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital and so gained entry to the children’s ward.
It was like a battlefield clearing station with at least 20 children in various states of burn…all victims of fireworks.
The ward sister, whom I knew, told me this was the usual post-Fireworks casualty list and was it not about time the b***dy things were banned? She added that folk did not understand that getting burned by a firework was the equivalent to holding a hand in a gas ring.

‘Nuff said! I have never looked at fireworks so complacently again.
Sadly too many fireworks still find themselves in irresponsible hands come the first week in November every year.
TRUE, On the grounds of safety, people are urged to go along to public displays (and pay handsomely for the privilege),

BUT as a twenty-first century society, do we really need to celebrate the state-endorsed religious intolerance, resulting physical torture and public disembowelling of the seventeenth? Is there not enough such intolerance in our own time that we would be better off trying to eradicate instead?