The wrong side of history

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks
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Deebank
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The wrong side of history

Postby Deebank » 15 Aug 2019, 09:24

I was watching Who Do You Think You Are last week when they had comedian/comedy actor Jack Whithall and his dad looking into their family history.

It turns out that his great (x3) grandfather was a solicitor and magistrate in South Wales in the first half (ish) of the 19 century. He was a True Blue - a tory supporting club for poshos and was (in)famous for making it his business to attempt to legally disenfranchise as many of those opposed to the local tory MP as possible - largelly on technicalities.

In addition and to add to the shame - as Jack but less so his dad saw it, this ancestor had actively gone after local Chartist hero John Frost and had him arrested after the Newport Rising where 22 chartists were shot dead by Special Constables and militia. Prosecuting Frost, Thomas Jones Phillips - Whitehall's illustrious ancestor - called for the maximum penalty for high treason, that Frost and the other ring leaders should be hung drawn and quartered!

They were found guilty but the prime minister stepped in and had them transported for life to Australia.

I think Frost was back in the UK fairly quickly though - within years anyway and treated as a hero. There is a school named after him in the region. Whereas Thomas Jones Phillips was regarded as a 'Dic Sion Dafydd' - an anglicised tout of the authorities - and dies within a few years of the trial.

It is difficult to think of any justification for this sort of activity. I suppose the tories thought they were preventing the UK going the way of France.

Have the tories ever been on the 'right' side of history as we would now regard it with 20/20 hindsight (which is of course a wonderful thing)? Or am I simply looking at a very turbulent time - see also Peterloo - and making my blinkered judgments without the full picture?

:?
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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Deebank » 15 Aug 2019, 09:27

It was seeing Arron Banks being a twat about Greta Thunberg that triggered this rumination today...
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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Toby » 15 Aug 2019, 09:57

Of course they have. Pitt stood up to Napoleon. Churchill stood up to Hitler.

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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Deebank » 15 Aug 2019, 10:19

Toby wrote:Of course they have. Pitt stood up to Napoleon. Churchill stood up to Hitler.


Churchill was the head of a government of national unity at the time. You could make the case that a number of socialists were nearly as important (Bevan for one) at the time.

And would the vast majority of Britons have been any worse off under Napoleonic rule I wonder? Just another different form of dictatorship as far as most would be concerned surely?
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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Deebank » 15 Aug 2019, 10:19

Toby wrote:Of course they have. Pitt stood up to Napoleon. Churchill stood up to Hitler.


Did you see the programme by the way?
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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Toby » 15 Aug 2019, 10:28

Heath took Britain into Europe. Only time will tell if that was the right choice.

The notion that there is a "right side to history" is very much open to debate.

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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Powehi » 15 Aug 2019, 10:41

Deebank wrote:
Toby wrote:
Of course they have. Pitt stood up to Napoleon. Churchill stood up to Hitler.



Churchill was the head of a government of national unity at the time. You could make the case that a number of socialists were nearly as important (Bevan for one) at the time.

?



Churchill was little more than yesterday's man on the Tory back benches when he started warning about Hitler in the mid 30s.

He also famously said that history was written by the victors

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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Toby » 15 Aug 2019, 10:44

Pitt was PM for 18 years during the Napoleonic Wars. He prevented invasion and then defeated Napoleon, who had brought revolutionary terror to Europe. The notion that Britain was under a tyranny or dictatorship during that period is laughable.

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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Deebank » 15 Aug 2019, 11:05

Toby wrote:Pitt was PM for 18 years during the Napoleonic Wars. He prevented invasion and then defeated Napoleon, who had brought revolutionary terror to Europe. The notion that Britain was under a tyranny or dictatorship during that period is laughable.


Britain may have called itself a democracy (did it? I've no idea) Most people had no right to vote - indeed few rights at all.
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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Deebank » 15 Aug 2019, 11:10

Toby wrote:Heath took Britain into Europe. Only time will tell if that was the right choice.


I would go along with that probably. Heath did the right thing for (some of) the right reasons.
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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Toby » 15 Aug 2019, 11:13

You are applying modern contexts to 240 years ago. Britain was positively enlightened in comparison to virtually every other country in the world. We had a Parliamentary democracy, a Monarch who could be overruled by the Commons and were in the process of abolishing the Slave Trade. Name me a country in 1790 that could match our achievements.

It's just that you've imbibed so much left ish nonsense over the years that it's all about injustices viewed through our eyes and not those of the world at that time. It is right to call out what might have been achievements at the time as injustices for sure, but that must be tempered by the perspectives and situation of the time itself. Britain was at a war with a regime that had instigated a terror on its own people unlike anything seen before.

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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby The Prof » 15 Aug 2019, 11:40

Britain was at a war with a regime that had instigated a terror on its own people unlike anything seen since Britain and other colonial powers started going around the world committing genocide.
Fixed it for you.

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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Deebank » 15 Aug 2019, 11:48

Toby wrote:You are applying modern contexts to 240 years ago. Britain was positively enlightened in comparison to virtually every other country in the world. We had a Parliamentary democracy, a Monarch who could be overruled by the Commons and were in the process of abolishing the Slave Trade. Name me a country in 1790 that could match our achievements.

It's just that you've imbibed so much left ish nonsense over the years that it's all about injustices viewed through our eyes and not those of the world at that time. It is right to call out what might have been achievements at the time as injustices for sure, but that must be tempered by the perspectives and situation of the time itself. Britain was at a war with a regime that had instigated a terror on its own people unlike anything seen before.


If we're talking about the Chartists, Tolpuddle Martyrs and other campaigners we are talking a good two decades after Waterloo.
I would question your use of the word 'democracy' when the vast majority of the population couldn't vote.
And I would bow to your greater knowledge on this but weren't many of the great progressive things you mention mainly Whig/Liberal achievements?

That was really my point with the thread, these concessions which came eventually were prised from the greedy, unwilling claws of the ruling class through struggle, not given benevolently and the Whitehall family history demonstrates that process. These nasty True Blue 'Dic Sion Dafydd' touts having upstarts like John Frost hung drawn and quartered (if he'd got his way) for having the temerity to campaign peacefully for universal suffrage is not even a one off. There are plenty more martyrs many of whom paid the ultimate price,
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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Deebank » 15 Aug 2019, 11:50

The Prof wrote:Britain was at a war with a regime that had instigated a terror on its own people unlike anything seen since Britain and other colonial powers started going around the world committing genocide.
Fixed it for you.


I work for an Irish organisation (mostly) and have often found myself explaining that the injustices inflicted on Ireland were nothing personal and that the ruling class in England, Scotland and Wales was every bit as shitty to the people in these countries given half a chance.
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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Toby » 15 Aug 2019, 11:58

The Prof wrote:Britain was at a war with a regime that had instigated a terror on its own people unlike anything seen since Britain and other colonial powers started going around the world committing genocide.
Fixed it for you.


Er that was 100 years later. We were specifically talking about the Napoleonic Wars. The early stage of Empire was corporate, ie the East India Company and not driven in the same way as the later Victorian phase.

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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Jimbo » 15 Aug 2019, 12:08

I must say how modern politically the opening post seemed ... until the drawn and quartered part. But then instead of getting ripped apart they get sent to Australia - and then coming back! Now that seems like modern justice. Jeffery Epstein may be chilling in Byron Bay right now.
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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Robert » 15 Aug 2019, 12:08

Toby wrote:You are applying modern contexts to 240 years ago. Britain was positively enlightened in comparison to virtually every other country in the world. We had a Parliamentary democracy, a Monarch who could be overruled by the Commons and were in the process of abolishing the Slave Trade. Name me a country in 1790 that could match our achievements.



Probably none, just like England wasn't a real democracy either. A true democracy in the sense that everybody gets to vote and not just the 'noble' ( I even hate to write that word), exists for less than a hundred years in England - established at about the same time as in the Netherlands.

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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Robert » 15 Aug 2019, 12:15

Deebank wrote:I was watching Who Do You Think You Are last week when they had comedian/comedy actor Jack Whithall and his dad looking into their family history.

It turns out that his great (x3) grandfather was a solicitor and magistrate in South Wales in the first half (ish) of the 19 century. He was a True Blue - a tory supporting club for poshos and was (in)famous for making it his business to attempt to legally disenfranchise as many of those opposed to the local tory MP as possible - largelly on technicalities.

In addition and to add to the shame - as Jack but less so his dad saw it, this ancestor had actively gone after local Chartist hero John Frost and had him arrested after the Newport Rising where 22 chartists were shot dead by Special Constables and militia. Prosecuting Frost, Thomas Jones Phillips - Whitehall's illustrious ancestor - called for the maximum penalty for high treason, that Frost and the other ring leaders should be hung drawn and quartered!

They were found guilty but the prime minister stepped in and had them transported for life to Australia.

I think Frost was back in the UK fairly quickly though - within years anyway and treated as a hero. There is a school named after him in the region. Whereas Thomas Jones Phillips was regarded as a 'Dic Sion Dafydd' - an anglicised tout of the authorities - and dies within a few years of the trial.

It is difficult to think of any justification for this sort of activity. I suppose the tories thought they were preventing the UK going the way of France.

Have the tories ever been on the 'right' side of history as we would now regard it with 20/20 hindsight (which is of course a wonderful thing)? Or am I simply looking at a very turbulent time - see also Peterloo - and making my blinkered judgments without the full picture?

:?


I don't think being on the wrong side of history even exists if you pursue some grand idea. The means you'd use to achieve your goals is something very different. You can be very wrong in choosing those means that but I'd call that the wrong side of decency.

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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Deebank » 15 Aug 2019, 12:21

Robert wrote:I don't think being on the wrong side of history even exists if you pursue some grand idea. The means you'd use to achieve your goals is something very different. You can be very wrong in choosing those means that but I'd call that the wrong side of decency.


on the wrong side of history

(idiomatic, usually politics, derogatory) Having policies or practices that are perceived as not progressive or enlightened; behaving in a manner that reflects out-of-date or disapproved opinions. quotations ▼
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Re: The wrong side of history

Postby Geezee » 15 Aug 2019, 12:29

Toby wrote:You are applying modern contexts to 240 years ago. Britain was positively enlightened in comparison to virtually every other country in the world. We had a Parliamentary democracy, a Monarch who could be overruled by the Commons and were in the process of abolishing the Slave Trade. Name me a country in 1790 that could match our achievements.


Well, most of Scandinavia, Iceland and Switzerland certainly have earlier (and stronger) democratic institutions and didn't participate in slave trade (or imperial tyranny) to begin with. But I guess they don't count.
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