Monday, 30 January 2017

The Relevance of History

My apologies if you have already read this on one of my other blogs - I have 4 blogs (jdm_progressive, Washminster, jdmeducafe, and JDM's history explorer) - each with its own purpose. This blog is designed for those with an interest in the working of U.K., US & European Politics). The others deal with Progressive Politics, History; and 'learning'. Please feel free to explore all or any - though today, I'm publishing this post in all of them)

I'm writing this whilst taking a cup of tea in the British Museum. It's a wonderful building full of  items of great historical interest from around the world. Though it was built up during the period of the British Empire - when some people had some very stupid ideas about the superiority of certain races - it is an excellent antidote to such idiotic ideas. Think the West is superior to the Islamic world? - visit the wonders in Room 34; worried that the future has been ceded to the Chinese? (Thanks President Trump), then see how great China has been over the centuries. Discover the many heritages that have been  combined to make the United Kingdom.

It is particularly important that we don't forget the lessons of history. At the moment we would do well to recall the consequences of aggressive nationalism - and how quickly some turn to scapegoating others. We need to face up to the worst of our history - as well as be encouraged by the best.

Today is 30th January - a significant day in British history. Back in 1215 (The Magna Carta - Runnymede) - the principle was established that no one - NOT even the King - was above the Law. Charles I forgot that. He hoped for a passive Parliament - and when he didn't get that - he tried to live without calling Parliament - and when that failed - he tried to intimidate parliamentarians (his attempt to arrest five MPs in the chamber have led to a ban on any monarch entering the chamber of the House of Commons) - eventually he went to Nottingham and declared war on his own country.

On this day in 1649, after a trial in Westminster Hall (which he refused to recognise - since he believed himself to be above the law) - he was executed outside the Banqueting Hall in Whitehall.

So remember this day, that important principle, which lies at the heart of British (and American) History and current law.