The 405th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot approaches.
Overshadowed somewhat these days by a US commercialised version of “All-Hallows-Eve” – aka “Halloween” when the ghosts, demons, ghouls, and all that is evil, go on a fling before being banished by that now near-forgotten “All-Hallows-Day” aka “All Saints Day”, of the Church Triumphant on 1st November.
Few who cavort on “Halloween” are aware of its origins. Rather more I suspect are aware of the origins of “Bonfire night” on 5th November, when that dastardly popish plotter, Guy Fawkes, is ceremonially burned atop bonfires throughout the land, to celebrate the foiling of his wicked scheme to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
There are bemusing but valuable parallels with our present-day predicament for those with eyes to see:
A certain Robert Cecil – Spymaster extraordinaire to His Majesty King James I of England, VI of Scotland, and “Fidei Defensor” against Popish usurpers – nursed a pressing need to kill off uppity ideas of relief for HM’s persecuted Catholic population, once and for all. As moderator and arch-manipulator of the decisions of Court, he was well placed so to do. He knew well enough who the hot-heads among the dissidents were (the young rangy firebrands, constantly shouting the odds and harboring delusions of rising up against their oppressors); he had them well infiltrated. What better way to destroy them and their co-religionists than to:
- sow the idea
- nurture and provoke a little
- facilitate supplies and logistics etc
- make sure Mr Plod doesn’t interdict the hair-brained schemers prematurely
Then BINGO!!!! SHOCK – HORROR!!! – catch them in the act – and in the nick of time.
The population is outraged – “Those wicked WICKED Catholics!!!”; Additional protection and “Security” measures are demanded – ad nauseam……
But naturally enough, we prefer to continue celebrating the exploits of OUR heroic security services and the gross torture and execution of a bunch of stupid manipulated, manufactured “terrorists”, rather than reading the unwelcome and extremely unpleasant writing on the wall. After all they/we are British and have “British Values”, so such things are simply unthinkable.
No doubt we’ll be celebrating similar feats of derring do by “our boys” when the horror of our joint destruction of the cradle of civilisation and its peoples fades a little too.
After all the Cecils remain a power in the land for their loyalty and service – attributes far and away preferred and valued by the State, than mere honesty and common humanity.
Plus ca change.