Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Cromwell Anniversary

Every year I get a kick out of watching the ridiculous fancy dress parade that is the state opening of parliament pass by in the shadow of Cromwell's statue.

He is there as a silent reminder of still unfinished business when it comes to democracy in this country. And this is despite his corpse being dug up by the monarchists, re-'executed' and publicly displayed.

Maybe a flawed hero - he was after all a man of his times - a time when political ideas were expressed in the language of religion - and of his class - his democracy extended only to free-men and that was defined by some sort of property. But a hero nonetheless.

In an age when the divine right of kings was a cornerstone of political consensus he dared to fight and bring to trial a king. He rejected the idea of monarchy in favour of representative government, even when he was in a position to take that power to himself. And in an age when the Church claimed the ultimate moral authority, he championed the rights of individual conscience.

In other words, he had the balls to 'turn the world upside down'.

All of which is why we should commemorate Sept 3rd, the anniversary of his death, as Cromwell Day.

And amazingly 350 years on, as I write this I can already feel the backlash from those gnashing their teeth at this eulogy.

Bollocks to 'em - I know what side they would have been on at Naesby - crypto-royalists the lot of them.

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