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Old 04-27-2012, 08:56 PM   #31
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Yup true and Henry also had an official bottom wiper.
Whipping boy or Wiping Boy either way you get the shitty end of the stick.
Last one for today, I promise.
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Old 04-27-2012, 08:58 PM   #32
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You mean they didn't like it?
The English penchant for masochism is greatly exaggerated
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:52 PM   #33
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George 1, the Elector of Hanover, has been mentioned. I rather like the sound of him, actually. He was a hard working man, in contrast to the serial wasters of the Stuart family, a dynasty who came up with one half-decent king in nearly 100 years. George was not very entertaining but showed a real sense of public duty and I was mildly amused by the story of how put out his female English court felt when he declined to take an English mistress, but imported his German mistress whom he had kept for decades and who was almost as old as him. George wouldn't have wasted Lady Diana's time; he would have openly carried on with Camilla right from the off and if anyone said anything would have floated the question: " I give a rat's arse what you think because...?"

He locked his wife up; she probably deserved it though, and he might have had her quietly murdered, as he did her lover when the couple tried to elope. Their merely carrying on was fine; it was the threat of a public desertion which crossed the line. There was no Marriage Guidance Counsel back in those days.

George 1st was a progressive ruler in his day, for example he gave sanctuary to Voltaire when Voltaire had to run away from French king Louis XV. This made a nice change from his predecessors. In spite of Jacobite insurrections, he brought greater stability to Britain and presided calmly over the development of Britain's strange unwritten constitutional settlement, unfazed by that migration of executive powers towards Parliament and away from the Crown which the Stuarts had been fatally unable to accept. That was the whole point of his reign as he himself knew very well. It is true that he spoke little English when he was first crowned, but the archives show that in his later years he wrote in English (and French, and Latin) fluently.

There is a rather intriguing local story in Rye, East Sussex, of how on his return from his final visit to Hanover in 1726, George 1st was driven in a blizzard and a Channel storm to seek harbour in Rye and stayed there for several days. He put up at Lamb House (later the home of Henry James); the Mayor lived there. The Mayor's wife was having her first child but insisted on changing bedrooms so King George could have the best room; the king was upset and apologetic when he found this out. Although the weather eased, he stayed there until the baby was christened and stood Godfather to the newborn, partly to show his gratitude for the hopsitality of the Mayor, his wife and the whole town, and partly I suspect because he hadn't had four consecutive days off since he was crowned. He was a rather quiet, unassuming and unshowy man, who avoided the Royal box when he went to the opera, and enjoyed playing cards with a few friends (mostly commoners), slipping round incognito so as to not inconvenience them.

On the whole, I find him quite easy to like.

Probably our worst king in constitutional, post middle ages times was Charles 1st, who steered us as a nation onto the rocks of a full blown civil war. The English (also Scottish) Civil War was a horrific event, full of fraticide, sectarian religious violence and great disorder even away from the main battles and armies. It was common for neighbouring villages to fight each other. The churches were sacked by Puritan soldiers of the Parliament. They call it the English Civil War but the casualties were higher in Scotland in the Bishops Wars and the Covenanter uprising; Ireland suffered far worse than either England or Scotland, and the Protestant community in Ireland was culled as well as the Catholic community. This all happened ultimately because Charles refused to work with his Parliament and Queen Elizabeth 1st and King James 1st had agreed to do; he was the absolute monarch, answerable only to God. At his trial, the exact charge was that Charles governed without Parliament:
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...out of a wicked design to erect and uphold in himself an unlimited and tyrannical power to rule according to his will, and to overthrow the rights and liberties of the people of England.
Charles refused to acknowledge the court; he was answerable only to God.
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Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
~ Matthew Chapter 10 Verse 29.
Oliver Cromwell chopped Charles 1st's head off (a worthwhile job done well). The execution was held in public in the City of London, on 30th January 1649.

Good riddance.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:07 PM   #34
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I liked Blair and Kinnock - Major was too creepy and boring.
We can agree to differ on those two, Kinnock would have been like a red Ted Heath if he got elected. Blair I have nothing good to say about.

Sadly seemingly decent people the world over once they get elected turn into what they would have once held in disgrace. That old saying is so true absolute power tends to corrupts absolutely.

Neville Chamberlain can also be thrown into the mix as his appeasement policies allowed Hitler's ambition free rein, we'll never know what would have happened if Europe had stood firm againt Hitler, maybe WW II may still have happened but all the warning signs were there and they were shamefully ignored. A more intelligent leader would have cottoned on to Adolf's plans way befiore 1938 by which time it was far too late. We should have been a lot better prepared.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:21 PM   #35
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...we'll never know what would have happened if Europe had stood firm againt Hitler...
How were they to do it, Comrade - did anyone have a plan?
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:01 PM   #36
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How were they to do it, Comrade - did anyone have a plan?
Hitler's remilitarisation of the Rhineland in 1936 was the turning point IMHO; it was a moment when the French Army, with little effort and little risk, could have faced Nazi Germany down and shown the will to enforce European peace. At this stage it was not the means which were lacking, but the will. Will and the Strong Man were big icons in Nazi ideology. The democracies were identified as soft, effete and decadent because they had not the will to resist when Germany tested them.

Later, in July and August 1938, there was a chance for France and Britain (Russia too) to align themselves with Czechoslovakia, which had a modern and efficient army, strong border defences and wanted to fight rather than be territorially dismembered. I have never accepted that there was an argument in favour of the Sell Out which holds water. The disparity of force in 1939 was if anything worse than in 1938, because Russia was disgusted by the Sell Out, decided upon without so much as a telegram to Stalin, and moved over to become aligned with Nazi Germany through the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact.

Strong leadership in either Britain or France might have averted this slide into war. But Stanley Baldwin was a self-serving placeman, who held power and did nothing with it. He wanted to be Prime Minister, but when he was, he achieved hardly anything because he did not attempt to achieve anything. He presided over drift. All through his years of office, Britain did not re-arm in any credible way. Quoth Winston Churchill, 12th November 1936:
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A friend of mine the other day saw a number of persons engaged in peculiar evolutions, genuflections and gestures in the neighbourhood of London. His curiosity was excited. He wondered whether it was some novel form of gymnastics, or a new religion - there are new religions which are very popular in some countries nowadays - or whether they were a party of lunatics out for an airing. On approaching closer he learned that they were a Searchlight Company of London Territorials who were doing their exercises as well as they could without having the searchlights. Yet we are told there is no need for a Ministry of Supply.
Stanley Baldwin was rubbish.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:09 PM   #37
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How were they to do it, Comrade - did anyone have a plan?
Sadly there did not appear to be a master plan, however Hitler was re-arming Germany and showing pretty flagrant signs that he wanted to increase his Country's power base from the early 1930's on.
Britain, France, Russia and the other European powers who were capable of making a stand decided to play a waiting game but at every point Hitler called their bluff and they gave in. The memory of WW I was still haunting many in Europe so I can understand the initial reaction to avoid war if possible. But maybe not at any cost.
Britain wasn't quick enough to build up her armed forces so that when we were forced into the war we were not properly prepared.
Thankfully the allies prevailed but you can't help but wonder what Europe would have been like today if 1920's Germany had been allowed more room to grow and rebuild a non military infrastructure. The high price of reparations imposed on Germany from WWI left the country in poverty and a breeding ground for fascism.
Any number of chances were missed.
Chamberlain comes off badly as although he was a decent enough man he failed to see through Hitler's lies. That "peace in our time" comment has sadly become his albatross.

PS Scounds is right, Baldwin was a dead loss, so much so I'd almost forgotten him.
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:04 AM   #38
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...The high price of reparations imposed on Germany from WWI left the country in poverty and a breeding ground for fascism...
The Germans duped The West and their own people, because effectively they didn't pay reparations. US banks financed them, but others told their people they were suffering from reparations

Btw, there were many red flags in Germany during the Revolution and years of unrest. It is no surprise Americans businessmen feared this. They didn't care about people, but they cared about their money
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Old 04-28-2012, 07:56 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Wendigo View Post
Chamberlain comes off badly as although he was a decent enough man he failed to see through Hitler's lies. That "peace in our time" comment has sadly become his albatross.

PS Scounds is right, Baldwin was a dead loss, so much so I'd almost forgotten him.

The Right Honourable Stanley Baldwin KG, PC, FRS.

Churchill (I read his really excellent The Second World War before my 10th birthday) was much more lenient towards Chamberlain than towards Stanley Baldwin. As far as I can tell, the difference lay in his assessment of their characters. Chamberlain was a non-entity, a really mediocre and grossly over-promoted man, out of his depth as PM; but he was driven in part by a real sense of public duty. Although his term of office was a complete failure, he was not a bad man; he was fatally weak. a moral coward (though by no means a physical one) and just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Churchill himself would have been a bloody awful peacetime prime-minister (and was, in the early 1950s) and had the guts to be quite open about his own failings as a politician and a man. After Chamberlain died in 1940, Churchill pointed out in the House of Commons with brutal frankness that MPs and the mass of the general public who were being so ungenerous to a dead man had backed and supported Chamberlain's dis-credited appeasement almost all the way to September 1939, and weren't entitled to condemn him now for a guilt they shared in. Churchill, who had opposed appeasement, was entitled to condemn his memory; but one of Churchill's best qualities was generosity of spirit. Once a opponent was down and beaten, Churchill nearly always cut him/her some slack. He was terms of personal friendship with many of his most vocal opponents, especially on the Labour side; even Lady Astor couldn't quite hate him because she too had a sense of humour and found their verbal duels amusing.

But for Churchill, Mr Baldwin was the exception. Churchill was Baldwin's Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1924-29. Later, they grew more and more estranged over India (where Baldwin was right and the Imperialist Churchill was quite wrong) and over re-armament, where Churchill was tragically right and Baldwin was criminally wrong. Baldwin's position, quite simply, was that Hitler's territorial ambitions were against Russia rather than Britain or France; that a showdown between Germany and Soviet Russia would be a damn good thing; that promoting a re-armament policy was alarmist, would disturb the calm of a peace-loving people and might turn them against him at the ballot box. Getting re-elected; that was the priority.

Churchill felt very strongly that Baldwin had dug the hole which he found the country to be in when assuming office in May 1940. Baldwin's motives had been small minded, mean and self-serving. Chamberlain had at least been trying to play unenviable cards as well as he knew how, for his country's good, but Baldwin had knowingly done the wrong thing by his country for the good of Stanley Baldwin and the Conservative Party. This was the one unforgiveable sin in Churchill's book; to subordinate your duty to Britain in favour of your party winning the next election and you keeping the toys; and Churchill was quite correct in that this is exactly what Stanley Baldwin did.

When Baldwin died, Churchill, for the only time, could not find a shred of generosity for a dead man. Instead, he was brilliantly brutal.
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Embalm; cremate; bury him at sea. Take no chances.
In his own The Second World War he took the most effective revenge by offering a detailed and factually researched analysis which proved what Baldwin did and why he did it, making quite sure that history would condemn Stanley Baldwin. He was careful to stick rigidly to the proven truth; but the mere facts were damning.
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