Friday, July 29, 2011

Political parties in the United Kingdom

The Parliament of the United Kingdom consists of the Sovereign and the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. Both Houses meet in the Palace of Westminster.

The House of Commons is a democratically elected body comprised of 650 members (since 2010.) These 650 seats are filled by the following political parties:

1. Conservative and Unionist Party (referred to simply as the Conservative Party): 306 seats
2. labour Party: 258 seats
3. Liberal Democrats: 57 seats
4. Democratic Unionist Party: 8 seats
5. Scottish National Party: 6 seats
6. Sinn Fein: 4 seats (unseated, as they choose not to swear allegiance to the crown)
7. Plaid Cymru: 3 seats
8. Social Democratic and Labour Party: 3 seats
9. Alliance Party of Northern Ireland: 1 seat
10. Green Party of England and Wales: 1 seat

There are six other major organized parties which currently hold no seats. There are many other registered parties. The number changes often.

The above information comes from Wikipedia. The totals come out to only 647, but that's what they show.

There are a total of 419 registered parties in the UK as of 10 June, 2011.

This info only pertains to the parliament of the UK. Individual countries also have a parliament or an assembly, often with additional parties than those shown above.

Organized chaos? Not really. Not organized at all.

[Next: what these parties stand for, or say they stand for.]

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Advice to Brits visiting America

There seems to be lots of books with advice to Americans visiting the UK, but not so many for those going the other direction on holiday, so this is intended to fill that void.

Disclaimer: you will find many blogs by expat Brits living in America, but all their advice is wrong, so take that as a warning for you to stay away from those expat sites and just read this authentic one. After all, if they were THAT intelligent, they would still be living in the UK, right?

Note: These tips are for short-term visitors. You’ll only find advice that is helpful for holiday goers and not stuff about how to get a driver’s license or register to vote.

Well, I guess that’s about all for now.

Wait. I forgot part of the post.

1. We use different money here. No Francs or whatever you use in the UK. On the bright side, our money has no value anymore, so there’s no need to worry about exchange rates.

2. We don’t speak your language.

3. Americans change lanes a lot. Watch your ass.

4. Don’t take the train. Jesus.

5. Expect to hear the words “excuse me?” a lot when you speak to us, and not because we want to get through. Not only do we not speak your language, we don’t understand it, either.

6. America is not dangerous.

7. You will love our beer.

8. Avoid eye contact with panhandlers. On second thought, try to just choose a destination other than New York. Chicago is nice. They don’t have panhandlers in Chicago. They have “street newspaper venders” in Chicago. Hint: buy one or they’ll spit on you. Kidding. Just kidding. And you can take the train in Chicago, so you’ll feel right at home. Only they call it the El. That’s because... well, you don’t need to know all that.

9. If you MUST choose to land in New York, don’t ask directions to Chicago. They won’t have a clue. Anything west of the Hudson is just blurry fiction to them. They won’t understand you anyway. And you DAMN sure won’t understand THEM.

10. The Golden Gate Bridge is not in Chicago.

11. It is unlikely you will meet President Obama during your visit. I know. Bummer.

12. If in New York, resist the temptation to talk about cricket with the person standing in line next to you. If in New York, resist the temptation to talk to the person standing in line next to you.

13. Two words: Gray Line.

14. Choice Hotels. Alamo Car Rentals.

15. Everything is farther than you thought it would be. Except in Massachusetts and like that.

Actually, I don’t know why more Brits don’t visit here. It really isn’t that bad. (Not to steal the New Jersey license plate state slogan: “Not as Bad as You’ve Heard”.) I recommend visiting in the spring or fall. Unless you are visiting Miami, then July is the best time.

If you see a cop behind you with his red lights on, don’t pull over right away, because it may not be you he wants to pull over. Take your time and be sure. A mile or so. Then stop on the shoulder, wait for him to get out and approach you, then move ahead 100 yards or so. This is a courtesy unique to America, and they will appreciate it. You may be sure. Never let them see your hands as they approach your car. Bend down sideways in your seat if possible. Then sit up straight quickly. And I hope you are lucky enough to get to play, too. It will be something for you to talk about when you get home.


If you REALLY have serious questions, I promise to answer seriously. Just ask. Otherwise I don’t know what real advice to give you. I know I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea of what to do if I visited the UK. I’ve heard you are not all that keen on guns but beyond that, I’m not sure. And you use passports and stuff, right?

Update: Contrary to the picture at the top of this post, there is no bridge to the U.S.A. I mean not from where YOU are. At least I don't think there is.

Update #2: I was lying kidding when I told you not to go visit ex-pat blogs. They know a LOT more about America than Americans ever will.

Monday, July 25, 2011

George Harrison's attacker to be released today

July 25, 2011

Michael Abram repeatedly stabbed the late Beatle and also attacked his wife Olivia, back in December of 1999, after breaking into their Henley-on-Thames mansion.

Abram had been ordered to be confined to a secure hospital "without time restriction." However, apparently less than two years is enough, as he has been certified fit to mingle with Londoners again today, less than two years after he was sentenced. In all fairness, it did take forever before his trial started.

The conditions of his release and the reasoning behind the board's decision will be kept secret. Why? Just so you the public won't know, I guess. It wouldn't do to have the guy's future burger employment jeopardized just because you don't want to mingle with him.

[Source: The Mail Online. A dirty Murdock enterprise or a clean honest organ which rises above the filthy Murdock crowd? I dunno. I'm sure you'll tell me which.]

Thursday, July 21, 2011

People in glass houses

Sadly, the indignant barking and growling going on now in your House of Commons is spilling over into our tv news. I was willing to let this subject be, as long as you kept it confined to the UK, but it is now affecting (not impacting) my personal life, so let me explain remind you of a few facts of life in an effort to calm your blood pressure a bit.

First, let me say the obvious: what they did was despicable. wire tapping, hacking, lying, betraying their offices, intruding on the lives of people who already had suffered enough, and the rest. The lot of them. Now, the list of reminders:

1. All politicians are lying, cheating, dastardly, bribe-taking, sell-their-souls scumbags. Beware when you see them on tv pointing fingers and being all holy. And stuff.

2. There are no exceptions to number one, above. None.

3. All news organizations have one goal and that is to make money. They will lie, cheat, wire-tap, bribe, lie again, intrude, betray confidences, hurt the innocent, and fill in what they don't know with more lies. Beware when you see a newspaper spouting off about what low-lifes their competition is.

4. There are no exceptions to rule number three, above. All have sinned and come short of the glory of .... I don't know.... Randolph Hearst. ::Rosebud::

5. All moguls are out to make Billions and Billions of dollars (or Euros or £££s or whatever you prefer) on the backs of whomever it takes for them to make money. Moguls have a personality which combines the traits of politicians, news organizations, bottom-feeders (lawyers) and will do whatever it takes to make more money.

6. Politicians will attack like a rabid dog any opponent who has made an embarrassing public error. They will be relentless. Never mind they were just as dirty last month.

7. News organizations will do whatever it takes to make themselves look good in order to trash and hopefully run a competitor out of business.

8. One of the most hilarious things you will ever see in your life is to watch a mogul dragged before people he doesn't respect and despises and be called publicly to account for his dastardly actions. Sometimes the same actions the stone-throwers were doing themselves last month. (Hint: an honest neutral special prosecutor needs to be appointed to get to the bottom of this, chips fall where they may, and stop letting the pot people keep calling the kettle people black.)

9. The people have a very short attention span. After the intitial mud-slinging and Rupert bashing excitement are over, they will likely just walk away and go back to watching football at their favorite pub...

So, the holier-than-thou detractors who seek short term possible re-election points by being on tv shouting insults at the PM on the evening news, and the wonderful remaining lilly-white pure newspapers who condemn the vile Rupert style of "journalism" which they themselves so vehemently abhor, had better strike while the iron is hot and before the next public scandal supplants the present opportunity to demonstrate their virtue. You may be sure there will be one.

There but for the grace of God....

There is absolutely no financial difference between Rupert Murdock and myself except that he has a lot of money and I have next to none. And, except for a completely different set of values and morals, we could be twins.

I can assure you that at this time next year, Rupert will be again hobnobbing with the politicians and the rich and famous, thinking up new scams to increase the circulation of his new newspaper that he will have replaced this one with. This because he is contrite, you see. ::tears welling up again::

And me? I will still be eating beans out of can and blogging.

In the next post in this spot I will analyze some of the bloggings of outrage on some of the higher class British blogs I frequent. You may be sure I will be my usual respectful self.
Chill Wills, in "Giant": "People, people, people."

Nobody cuts deeper or more on target than Nate Beeler.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Top 10 favorite british words for July

10. Dodgy
9. Shirty
8. Chuffed
7. Peckish
6. Stroppy
5. Dogsbody
4. Shambolic
3. Wonky
2. Bollocks (I have always liked this word ever since the first day I started this blog. For some reason. I just like saying it.)
1. Hard cheese

"Peckish seagulls are causing carnage by ripping open rubbish sacks before binmen can collect them." (And take them to the tip? One assumes.) Oh, to be a binman. I could write an ode to a binman. I once owned a book called Alleyman. Very different than Alley Oop, I'll tell you.

And the carnage of the gulls (another movie title candidate if ever there was one) makes me shirty, though the thought of them getting enough to eat chuffs me to no end.

Americans usually use the word obstreperous rather than saying stroppy. At least the ones wearing the dodgy bow ties do. In fact, I think stroppy is just a bastardization of obstreperous. The British are good bastardizers. With words, I mean.

Dogsbody. Ain't it the truth. Me through and through. Me'n Adullamite. Dogsbody comes from sailors of old who were fed Pease porridge. Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold... etc. Well that's dried peas boiled in a bag. Maybe a gull-carnaged bag, for all I know. You have to understand Cockney rhyming slang to get the connection. I ain't and I don't. Are there still Cockneys in existence? Truly?

Aussies would call a stunned mullet shambolic, I suppose. The dictionary used Amy Winehouse's recent concert attempt as an example of it. Like if you finally see the flashing red lights behind you and the cops try to make you take a test on the side of the road and you just turn into Leon Spinks and go "Friggy Diggy" I guess that would be borderline shambolic.

"Bit of hard cheese, those pesky aneurisms," he said as his friend slumped.

Wonky? This whole post is borderline wonky.

Thank you Merriam-Webster dot com.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Y Wladfa

The Welsh language is spoken throughout Wales, in nearby parts of England, and in the Chubut province of Argentina.

Before the Spanish came to America, indigenous nomadic people settled early on in the New World, as far south as southern Argentina and Chile. Magellan called this area Patagonia. It's gorgeous - especially the Chubut River Valley.

Welsh emigration to the Chubut Province began in about 1865 in response to the Argentine government's invitation to western Europeans to settle the sparsely populated areas outside Buenos Aires. By 1875, there were 34 settlements of various western European ethnicities.

There are now over 50,000 Patagonians of Welsh descent. Only about 1500 actually still speak Welsh. The Welsh colony in Patagonia is called Y Wladfa.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Picts, Celts, Scots, Highlands, Lowlands, Clans

Often, when I try to learn of Scotland from books, I end up being less than totally educated because the authors often use certain words and terms in the assumption their readers know what such simple words mean.

In the movie "As Good as it Gets," Jack Nicolson's character is told that one of his greatest assets is his willingness to be humiliated. In that same spirit, I will tell you that I don't mind if my questions seem stupid to you, as long as I get the answers.

I will start with words I hear and read a lot but never feel I QUITE understand:

Scots (language)
Ulster Scots
Ulster Plantation

I'll start by telling you what I THINK I know about the words, and maybe then you can correct me and make my understanding a bit more complete.

1. Pict, Celt, Scot. I think these are people. I think "Scot" now means "someone (native) who lives in Scotland." But I think Scot was just one of several peoples earlier on. I think "Pict" is a very early group of people who lived in what is now Scotland, or part of it, and some Scots may have descended from them. Maybe a LOT of Scots descended from them. I'm not sure about that. I think the Picts came from (northern?) Europe, probably across an ancient land bridge. I don't really know what happened to them. When I form a mental picture of Picts in my mind, I see an early primitive culture. Maybe more advanced than "cavemen" but pretty primitive. If they were really advanced, then please tell me. Celt: I think the Celts were a larger group of people who lived not only in Scotland, but throughout their "empire" or "Lands of the Celts" such as Cornwall and Ireland. Tell me where else. I know of a Celtic Cross. Not sure if there was a Celtic Doublecross or not. I don't know if they were a conquering "tribe" of people or what. Were they powerful? Did they take what they wanted in their segment of history? They left a lot behind them, from what I read of them. Scot: once and for all I want to know what the Scots were early on and what that term means today. I think they were one of the early kingdoms. Are they the only ones that live in Scotland today? The others died out or absorbed? What?

2. Gaelic, Celtic, Scots. These are languages. Or they may be ONE language, I don't know. I think I know that Gaelic and Celtic are the same thing, or, at least, the language the Celts spoke became known as Gaelic. And I think Gaelic is also another word for "Irish" - the "native language" of the Irish. But I have heard the name "Scots" used as a separate language, and I have heard of "Scots-Gaelic" which starts to confuse me. What languages, once and for all, are spoken in Scotland?

3. Caledonia. I think this is just what the Romans called what is now Scotland, but I have never been absolutely sure. Maybe a smaller or larger area. Maybe just the highlands. Maybe the word is really "Caladonian" as in adjective; maybe no such thing as "Caledonia." Help.

4. Highlands and Lowlands. This is not as straightforward as you think, at least not to an American. At first, I thought of those areas as mountainous or flatlands. Don't laugh. One book I read defines Highlands as "That land not included in the Lowlands." Well, Jesus H. Christ. Really? So you see what I am up against, Jacobite-wise and Clans-wise and other-wise. Then, I began to think of them as simply upper and lower geographical areas: the lowlands to the south, closest to England, and the highlands farther north. Get it? - high and low on the map. I suppose this is still my present mental image. No one seems to want to define the terms for Americans. It seems to be inside knowledge that only the British are allowed to understand. Well, by God, I know it must have something to do with Clans, and I know it must have something to do with culture and way of life, and I know it must have something to do with ancestry, and I know it must have something to do with loyalties - at least loyalty to Stuarts or not.

5. Clans. I think of these as sort of "tribes" or extended families. They might squabble amongst other family memebers, but they would be united against outsiders. I don't know if there were Clans only in the Highlands, or if in the Lowlands as well. I don't even know if you are supposed to capitalize the word. I think I know they can be determined partly by the traditional clothes they wear. Like, if they wear Armani-designed clothes, they are Lowlanders. Kidding. I mean the different clans' (not capitalized looks ok) "tartans." While they might look the same to an American eye, I have read that the patterns are different (and maybe colors) enough where knowledgeable people can tell what clan they are from just by looking at the pattern of the tartan. Well, that is FAR beyond the scope of what I need to learn, but I would at least want to know if it is true that different clans wear different patterns of fabric.

6. Ulster Scots. I only think of the word "Ulster" when I think of Ireland, not Scotland. So maybe this is a group of people who live in Scotland who came from Ireland? A part of Ireland? Actually I am not 100% sure what Ulster in Ireland means, either. Northern Ireland? Something to do with religion, right? Are those the descendants of William of Orange followers I read about earlier? No? Ok.

7. Ulster Plantation. Vaguely, I think this is a place in America where a lot of Slave-Scots emigrated. Then they went West. I don't know. Just talking. Maybe Ulster Plantation is code for Boston. Probably not.

That's enough for now. Even I have my limits on asking stupid questions.

Update: Ok, Wikipedia says Ulster Plantation was a plantation in Ulster. Grrrr.

But that sounds reasonable. And it says Ulster is an Irish province. I thought they called them counties. So I am going in circles. I still think Ulster is all of Northern Ireland. It was once a big plantation?

Well, it turns out that PICT is a type of early Macintosh picture file format. So I was wrong about that too.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"The 45": The Jabobite Rising of 1745

Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Maria Stuart (I will call him Todd LeRoy for brevity) was the grandson of the last Stuart King of England and Scotland, James II and VII. His father was the Old Pretender, the would-be James III and VIII, and Todd LeRoy was the Young Pretender. That's pretty straightforward. He wanted to be Charles III.

To bring you up-to-date, Jacobite-wise, if you haven't been following this saga, the Stuarts were shut out of the throne because they were Catholic. The Hanovers, German but Protestant, were now in power. Many people in Scotland (and elsewhere) believed the Stuarts should be on the throne, and their supporters rebelled from time to time, especially when the kings of the south changed and reminded them. You should know by now that Jacobus is Latin for James, so I am not going to tell you that again.

There were several Jacobite Risings through the years, but we are about to come to a close on that.

In July of 1745, Charles (Todd LeRoy, if you prefer) and 7 friends sailed to Scotland to retake the throne. He had 2 ships. He had hoped for help from the French Fleet, but there was a storm and they had to turn back. Right. Charles landed at Eriskay on July 23. His father was still alive, but Charles had his agency (the Old Pretender had named Charles regent. Or regent-pretender, if you are a stickler for the truth) to act to recover the throne.

Two old ships and 7 friends. That oughtta do it.

The Hanovers, never completely asleep at any time, smelled the French fleet and the Royal Navy restationed itself in the channel. Not on the Sands, one assumes. So, when the French regrouped after the "terrible storm" (wink wink nudge nudge) they decided to just stay in France. After all, Bonnie Todd had 7 guys with him.

Isn't it one of the amazing coincidences of history that whenever there was an attempt by the Stuarts to come back from France with a French army, they always ran into a storm? Could be July, could be December, didn't matter. I guess only an American would think about things like that. Jesus, it's only about 20 miles or so. C'mon.

But, of course, Charles expected support from the Clans again, and he wasn't disappointed. The Clans did rally (both Catholic and Protestant, btw) and when they marched on Edinburgh, they were let in. That is to say Edinburgh "surrendered."

Charlie and the Clans then defeated the only British army in Scotland at the battle of Prestonpans. The losing commander was John Cope.

I have been astounded at the knowledge of the followers of this blog with regard to old songs of the Risings, and poetry, so I feel REALLY obligated to print some song lyrics here, just to try and keep up with them.

Johnnie Cope

Cope sent a challenge frae Dunbar
Sayin "Charlie meet me an' ye daur
An' I'll learn ye the airt o' war
If ye'll meet me in the morning."

O Hey! Johnnie Cope are ye waukin' yet?
Or are your drums a-beating yet?
If ye were waukin' I wad wait
Tae gang tae the coals in the morning.

When Charlie looked the letter upon
He drew his sword and scabbard from
Come, follow me, my merry men
And we'll meet Johnnie Cope in the morning. (Chorus)

Now Johnnie, be as good as your word
Come, let us try baith fire and sword
And dinna flee like a frichted bird
That's chased frae its nest i' the morning. (Chorus)

When Johnnie Cope he heard o' this
He thocht it wouldna be amiss
Tae hae a horse in readiness
Tae flee awa in the morning. (Chorus)

Fye now, Johnnie, get up an' rin
The Highland bagpipes mak' a din
It's better tae sleep in a hale skin
For it will be a bluidie morning. (Chorus)

When Johnnie Cope tae Dunbar cam
They speired at him, "Where's a' your men?"
"The de'il confound me gin I ken
For I left them a' in the morning." (Chorus)

Now Johnnie, troth ye werena blate
Tae come wi' news o' your ain defeat
And leave your men in sic a strait
Sae early in the morning. (Chorus)

In faith, quo Johnnie, I got sic flegs
Wi' their claymores an' philabegs
Gin I face them again, de'il brak my legs
So I wish you a' good morning. (Chorus)

Some of you are doubtless skeptical or werena blate or whatever and think I probably wrote those words myself, just to fit in with the rest of you, but I did not. I dinna. Had it been me, I would probably have just rapped something like Johnny getcher gun getcher gun gun Johnny getcher gun... but of course it would sound much better than what I just said.

By November, Charles was getting serious. His army by then numbered 6,000. He entered England. He took Carlisle. East of Eden (not really. That's just the name of one of the rivers that confluxate there) and stopped at the famous Swarkestone Bridge there in Derbyshire. It wasn't famous then, but it is now because that's where he stopped and went back to Scotland.

The decision to stop in Derby wasn't Charles' idea. Nosiree. He wanted to go all the way to Londontown(e) and degermanize it, but his chicken councilors forced the retracement upon him. Had Bonnie Prince Charlie had his way, I tell you, Americans would still be speaking English today. And wearing kilts and skirling with the best of them. There wouldna been no George III to go mad or anything else. But some of you already know that didn't happen alas.

Instead, history tells us the Duke of Cumberland, representing his father, King George II, caught up with Charles at Culloden and suddenly it was put up or shut up time for the Young Pretender. When one faces a vastly superior force, what should one do? Charge, of course. Charlie ordered his boys to charge and the Redcoats' muskets cut them to pieces. Followed by grapeshot from what must have seemed like two million leveled-downed cannon for dessert. Clearly, England and the Hanovers had had about enough of the Jacobites.

Cumberland's troops committed a fair number of atrocities, as one does, as they hunted down the Jacobite stragglers, and that, coupled with the aforementioned extra-large portions of grapeshot, earned the Duke the title of "Butcher of Culloden." From the Highlanders, at least. Scots say that is true, English say it is only loser-whine.

When you order a hopeless charge in open swampy territory, it takes almost unbelievable arrogance to believe you were betrayed by your brave troops, but Charlie believed that and used it as an excuse to eventually abandon the Jacobite cause. For a while he ran hither and yon upon the moors of Scotland, never very far ahead of his pursuers. His followers finally helped him escape the country aboard a French ship. With few exceptions, Bonnie Prince Charlie spent most of the rest of his life in exile. The cause of the Stuarts had come to an end.

On a brighter note, the womanizing Charlie DID manage to add another mistress to his harem during the brief "45" conflict - Clementina Walkinshaw. He took her with him to France where such things were not only accepted, but encouraged. Perhaps even scored.

Okay, I will admit the following is an American simplification. But here's how I see it: You had all these wars and bloodshed and all the fighting and killing and in the end the Hanovers won out anyway. My question: Why in the world didn't one of them, James II or anyone after him, just one day stand up and say, "Hey - I've decided to become a Protestant, by golly! You win. I can live without the Pope. I still believe in Jesus. I'm not going to go to hell if I convert. I'm just going to start attending another church this Sunday." He could even have stayed Catholic in his heart if he wanted.** I guess I am just not as religious as they were back then. More blood in the name of religion.

I know. Too easy.

Incidentally, the National Anthem of the United Kingdom was written in 1745 during these battles. Composed by Thomas Augustine Arne (his other big hit was the ever-popular "Rule Britannia" - a little short for my taste) and first sung in 1745 during the Jacobite "invasion" of England. It wasn't the official national anthem yet, of course. And some of the grossly anti-Scots lyrics were later deleted, but the tune was the same as now.

Ok, ok, here is what was deleted:

Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
May by thy mighty aid,
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King

Here is the current authorized version, best as I can find:


God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and Glorious,
Long to reign over us;
God save the Queen!

O Lord our God arise,
Scatter her enemies
And make them fall;
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix,
Oh, save us all!

Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign;
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the Queen!

Not in this land alone,
But be God's mercies known,
From shore to shore!
Lord make the nations see,
That men should brothers be,
And form one family,
The wide world over

From every latent foe,
From the assassins blow,
God save the Queen!
O'er her thine arm extend,
For Britain's sake defend,
Our mother, prince, and friend,
God save the Queen!

Or THIS, minus the last verse:

God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen:
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the Queen.

Thy choicest gifts in store,
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign:
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice
God save the Queen.

O Lord, our God, arise,
Scatter thine enemies,
And make them fall:
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On thee our hopes we fix:
God save us all.

Not in this land alone,
But be God's mercies known,
From shore to shore!
Lord make the nations see,
That men should brothers be,
And form one family,
The wide world over.

From every latent foe,
From the assassins blow,
God save the Queen!
O'er her thine arm extend,
For Britain's sake defend,
Our mother, prince, and friend,
God save the Queen!

Lord grant that Marshall Wade
May by thy mighty aid
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush.
God save the Queen!
I suppose it would be safest just to learn the first verse and sing it over and over. That's what I'm going to do.

**Oddly, Charles DID offer to do just that - rule as a Protestant. It has been said on some pretty good authority and with some pretty high up witnesses that he returned to London in 1750 incognito (Charles was good at disguises and fake names, but that's another story) and conformed to Protestantism by receiving Anglican communion. Dunno. A little late.

Below is a picture of "princess" Marie-Victoire, Charles' "secret" granddaughter. How do you have a secret granddaughter? Wouldn't your son or daughter-in-law have to know about her? Well, she looks harmless enough. I keep finding more things to add to this post but must stop now.

Update: I have found out the story of the secret granddaughter now. I was going to post the interesting story here as an update, but none of you commented, so I'm not going to tell you.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Jacobite Rebellion, 1715

After Queen Anne died and the Hanovers took over what had become the British throne, despite the fact that Anne had many closer blood relatives with the Stuarts than the Hanovers, the Jacobites again took up the Stuart cause. The fact that George I didn't speak English didn't help, of course. At least they say he didn't speak English. And so, shortly thereafter, the Scots again came arising.

This "Rising" was called "The Fifteen" because it took place in 1715. That summer, the latest James Stuart, "The Old Pretender," (there would later be a "Young Pretender") put out the word to the Earl of Mar to raise the Clans. He did. In early September, Mar declared, again, that James (who was wanting to be James III and VIII by virtue of the fact he was the only surviving legitimate son of James II and VII, whose desertion/abdication was conveniently now being forgotten by the Jacobites) was the true and lawful sovereign. He (Mar) dusted off the old Scottish standard and prepared to go a-German-hunting. His clans-army grew to about 8,000 men and he captured Perth. If you can call visiting a friendly house "capture." The fighting was all in Scotland, though, with the aim (I deduce) of taking over Scotland and negating the Act of Union. For starters.

However, Perth alone did not Scotland make, and a fair number of clans were by now loyal to the established government down south, so Jacobite traction was a bit slow. Planned simultaneous Risings in Wales, Devon (rhymes with heaven) and Cornwall sort of fizzled out - mostly on account of the fact that George began arresting all the local Jacobites down there. But, in the north of England, a Northumberland man named Thomas Forster raised about 300 horse soldiers for the Stuart cause. On the other side, those in that general area who were loyal to George became known as "Geordies" and are still called that today, although few of those Geordies and Geordettes know why, I'd wager. Maybe they will read this post and find out they aren't called that just because of the way they speak. I digress.

Mar was loath to venture from the safety of Perth, and very little headway was made. A battle here, a skirmish there. In December, Ol' James himself arrived in Scotland, supposing (I'm guessing) that his mere presence would make the clans go wild with adoration and begin fighting in earnest. But the Old Pretender was a bit tetched in the head by then, I think - although they called it "deep melancholy" which probably sounds better, and, in the end, he wasn't that keen on dying in the Scotland winter of December 1715. Turning to one of his pretend ministers he coughed something to the effect of, "You really need to get me the hell out of here now," and so it was. This is my personal vision. Wikipedia's is more drawn out and hard to understand whereas mine could just as well have been the way it happened. Although, being Catholic, he probably would have said heck instead of hell. Moving on.

Accordingly, off to France sailed the would be James III and VIII, not personally to ever fight another day. But from his loins had come a "Young Pretender" so, even as the Firth of Forth slowly got smaller in James' rear view mirror, the die-hard Jacobites vowed, as they disbanded, being deserted by their would-be king, who wanted to show them just how much he cared for them, that they would encourage their sons and grandsons to rise to the cause sometime in the future. Why? I'm starting to lose track.

Those future Risings will be the subject of our next post. I have a feeling you already have guessed how this all turns out. (Hint: the current ruler of the UK is still descended from Electress Sophia. Of Hanover.)


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