On This Day 2019, Boris Landslide — But What a Difference a Year Makes

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It is only a year since Boris Johnson won a big 80 seat majority in the UK General Election, promising to ‘get Brexit done’.

Whilst Brexit appears to be basically achieved, it is still unclear as to the nature of Britain’s relationship with the EU following our exit.

But of course, this has been an extraordinary year for other reasons. The government’s, and in particular the Prime Minister’s handling of events of this year, have come under much critical scrutiny.

I don’t recall any government with such a majority ever falling from grace so quickly. It is difficult to see it recovering, even in the long term. For whilst there does not have to be another general election for four years, I think that the present paradigm of political parties have run their course.

In my opinion, the winner of the next election, which may not be that far away despite the governments majority, will likely be the leader of new party.

Copyright Francis 2020

On This Day 1688 – The Battle of Reading, Culmination of the ‘Glorious Revolution’

brown and black windmill
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The only major military engagement of the so-called ‘Glorious Revolution’, the Battle of Reading, took place today in 1688.

James II of England had come to the throne in 1685 despite being a Catholic, a religion which was very much out of favour in Great Britain at the time due to the conflicts over the previous century and a half.

At first his monarchy was tolerated, perhaps because the populace did not want a repeat of the Civil War which had brought such destruction, resulting in the death of King Charles I in 1648/9.

William and Mary

However, probably due to the birth of an heir in 1688 and the possibility of the creation of a Catholic dynasty, public opinion soon began to turn against James II. His daughter Mary, who was married to his nephew William of Orange, were promoted as obvious replacements and this is how it eventually turned out.

The Battle of Reading itself provided the incongruous spectacle on English soil of King James’ Irish troops pitched against the Dutch forces of Prince William of Orange. Even so, the people of Reading did all they could to support the Dutch.

History Repeats – Two Williams from Abroad

Casualties were relatively few despite the decisive victory of William, who was soon to become the second king of his name to win the throne of England via a foreign invasion, albeit a very different one.

King James very quickly saw the impossibility of his position and abdicated, fleeing the country for France and then Ireland, where he was still largely supported.

This was a major turning point for Great Britain, where the superiority of Parliament over the Monarchy was truly established. For good – or ill – the birth of modern Britain, politically, culturally, economically, can be traced to this period, and it relied on a Dutch ruler.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Haiku: Brexit – Strange Times

london night lights bridge
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Parliament to close
Sometimes you can’t make it up
Who does our bidding?

copyright Francis Barker 2019

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