The 25th of October, 1415. How inappropriate that Cameron should retire, wounded, on St Crispin’s Day.
WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!
KING. What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
Make him a member of the gentry, even if he is a commoner.
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
(Shakespeare: Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3)
Well, I guess Cameron is one of those who “hold their manhood cheap”. I doubt we’ll forget the three-line whip he imposed against a referendum to give us a voice on the EU, for whatever reason he gives. Remember that it was a motion based on the petition on the website his government trumpeted as a voice for the people, prompted by more than 100,000 signatures calling for a referendum and he still imposed a three-line whip against it.
In truth there have been more petitions than I can count; today another eight or nine have been added to the website in light of the Commons vote but rejected on the grounds that “a petition already exists”. There were also some calling for the whipping system to be abolished but they were rejected too since “this is Party policy not related to Government”.
As always, we’re too fragmented. Even I posted a petition, but it didn’t call for a referendum, it called for a straightforward repeal of ECA 1972. The problem with that, I suspect, is that any repeal would be subject to scrutiny by European Courts and therefore dismissed – talk about the cat among the pigeons. We aren’t sovereign and more people need to recognise that our Westminster Assembly is no more than that. The days of having an Executive and Legislature in the British Parliament are long gone. These petitions give us a semblance of democracy, nothing more.
As for Miliband, he can forget it too if he thinks Sarkozy “speaks for all of Britain” when he insults Cameron. No Frenchman will ever speak for the people of Great Britain & Northern Ireland and it was a very badly judged remark from Miliband. Cameron is an idiot – but he’s the best idiot we’ve got at the moment and diplomatic protocol dictates, at the very least, civil manners. We Britons can insult our own leaders without foreign interference thank you very much, and we do it on a regular basis.
I’m afraid that the more I see and hear, the more I continue to believe that the only way we will truly regain sovereignty is via a revolt, feet on the street, mass tax withholding. How gutless are we, to let our elected representatives get away with this charade?
Here’s Agincourt from the French point of view for those interested in the history.