Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rotten to the core

It is not often that I think kind thoughts about Oliver Cromwell, the murderer of the Irish, the military dictator of the English, and the nepotistic destroyer of religious freedom that served as a spur to create America, but today I think is one of those days. Almost 360 years after this speech was delivered in the House of Commons, with Cromwell dissolving the Rump Parliament, it is amazing to think how little has changed:

“...It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

“Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

“Ye sordid prostitutes, have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd; your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse the Augean Stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings, and which by God's help and the strength He has given me, I now come to do.

“I command ye, therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. You have sat here too long for the good you do. In the name of God, go!”

Oliver Cromwell, Dismissing Parliament, 20th April, 1653

UPDATE: Speaker to go. Announcement at 2:30pm today. It is still unclear whether he is going to go immediately or try to hang on until the next election.


Anonymous said...

“my design is to make what haste I can to be gone.”

What words for the Speaker should he decide to do the decent thing.

(Cromwells last word)

Maybe Cromwell was not such a bad chap as you make out

Jack Maturin said...

I think Cromwell's intentions were good. And some of course think he was an absolute hero, hence the statue outside the troughing shop in Westminster.

But once he got hold of power, as always, it corrupted him via the mechanisms of Real Politik.

Even Jefferson became corrupted once he became President, and Her Blessedness, Mrs Thatch.

But Cromwell's words, as with Jefferson's words and Her Blessedness's words, cannot be denied.

It's just such a shame that their subsequent actions always make cock-crowing traitors out of them.

Politics is evil. The best anyone can do is to remove as much of it as possible, and to try to prevent its re-occurence.

Cromwell failed there. As indeed his Puritan successors failed with their own horrible theocratic state in Massachussetts, which visited state education and paper money onto us, in the fullness of time; the first to indoctrinate children into behaving how the theocracy wanted and the second to enable the growth of power of the theocracy, hence even now we have the appalling 'Boston Center' area in Boston, which is perhaps the ugliest building in North America (certainly the ugliest one I have seen).

Oh well. Back to work... :-)

Paul said...

There is avery interesting research paper done by Jason Jewell. It's an hoppean analysis of Stuart England, the period of revolution. It's available as pdf and as a audio speech by the author. Well worth listening to.