A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Tories release 'key Britons' list

The Tories, under David "two-brains" Willetts, have been discussing and determining those Britons which have shaped this country. I think the list is a good one. The chattering classes, and the BBC, have made much of the inclusion of Aneurin Bevan. Now Bevan was decidedly anti-Tory, in much the same way as Paul Revere was! However, it shouldn't be a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water. Bevan had vision like the other eleven. I don't find Oliver Cromwell a character to agree with, but I feel I can accept he did do some good, like shaping the origins of the British Army.

Too much today we are stuck in our own camps, blowing raspberries at others without having the wit to see or hear properly. The list is about shapers, so it is obvious that Churchill and Thatcher, who were primarily changing existing circumstances (Churchill on appeasement -Thatcher on corporate stupour, both union and management), would not be so readily included.

All 12 on the list have done things that have maintained until today (except the British Empire!) and will no doubt continue as such, albeit with modifications.

Conservatives should get past blinkered thinking. Yes, Thatcher got this country moving, but it was only transient policies, not shaping. Nye Bevan took the Beveridge Report (and before Liberals protest, yes Beveridge was a Liberal!) and shaped it into the NHS. It probably took a fiery Welshman, with cunning, skill and determination to do it. His only mistake was to con the public into believing that "National Insurance" had anything to do with insurance! That being, he deserves the recognition and well done Willets and his team for putting him there!

  1. Saint Columba (521-597) Christianity in Britain
  2. Alfred the Great (849-899) The Kingdom of England
  3. Henry II (1133-1189) The common law
  4. Simon de Montfort (1208-1265) Parliament
  5. James IV of Scotland (1443-1517) The Kingdom of Scotland
  6. Thomas Gresham (1519-1579) The stock market
  7. Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) The British Army
  8. Isaac Newton (1643-1727) The Royal Society
  9. Robert Clive (1725-1774) The British Empire
  10. Sir Robert Peel (1778-1850) The police
  11. Millicent Fawcett (1847-1929) Universal suffrage
  12. Nye Bevan (1897-1960) The National Health Service
There's a saying "Credit where credit is due" and we certainly owe some credit to these people.


Arden, I'm interested -- can you tell me why you don't find Cromwell a character to agree with?

Thanks much, and merry Christmas. Always enjoy your blog.

James in Brooklyn

James, hi!

I tend to find Cromwell a man who was prepared to promote justice and liberty but denied it to his enemies and detractors. His linking of his religion so much to his politics meant that he was destined to overturn the existing system. As a Royalist and Churchman, I would not find much to agree with a puritan England. However, his actions led directly to a proper parliament, which King Charles I could not sanction, leading to his downfall. I think the clamouring for the restoration proves where the English feel best - with a constitutional monarchy and a democratic parliament.

The English Civil War was the backdrop to the American Revolution which was in turn a backdrop to the American Civil War. George Washington could well have been a Tory but he sided with the Whigs (later as head of the cntinental Army) because he felt, as a landowner, abused by the British merchants and Government taxgatherers.

Interestingly, the English revolution was mainly landowners against the merchants and the American revolution was mainly the other way round!

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