At a time of great upheaval and instability at home, and conflict abroad, an Englishman and a Scotchman came together to write a new song for the people of Britain, “Rule, Britannia!” In its lyrics, aye, even in its first verse, we have the famous line, “Britons never will be slaves”. In the age of mass surveillance, bench trials, Diplock courts, being held without charge and now, of course, being issued a court summons for buying shampoo, we might still be able to quibble a little over the definition of “slave”, but the fact is that our lives are now, more than ever, observed, limited and ultimately controlled by a few powerful individuals, most of them unelected, none of them currently relying on the consent of the governed. There are, rather surprisingly, some who go further than reluctantly saying that the lockdown is probably worth it – no, there are some who have celebrated the imposition of house arrest upon 60 million Britons for no crime. The mind boggles at them, but either way, we find ourselves at an unwelcome crossroads (well, more like a T-junction) at a grave hour – on the one hand, a highly contagious, if not all that deadly, virus is wending its way through the population. Many of you may already have lost loved ones to it – I have too. We are all worried, no doubt, about the virus finding its way into the lungs of loved ones still alive, and I’m sure we are all following, willingly, the precautions necessary to minimise the risk of this happening. I haven’t seen my grandma in well over a month, and she herself has got so bored that she’s started playing Scrabble against herself. Such are the peculiarities of this kind of epidemic.
Yet there is another infection, which is spreading much more quickly than the Chinese coronavirus, and that is the hysteria, spread by the media, piped into every household in Britain. And the disease this infection causes might be much more damaging to this country than COVID-19. Its symptoms are government lockdowns, mass closures, millions of people being sacked, mass arrests of people going for a walk, and as we learnt yesterday, its cure is the satisfaction of five ridiculous “tests” laid out by some fool who seems to have found himself in the role of Foreign Secretary, tests which won’t be satisfied until well into the Autumn, until which time the ravages of the disease will no doubt have spread to every organ of our nation. The economy is in tatters, down anywhere from 10% to over a third from this quarter last year, with countless small businesses (80% of our GDP) teetering on the edge of bankruptcy; the surge in unemployment has completely overwhelmed the DWP; worst of all, our very Britishness, weakened by decades of the media and the government following the ideas of György Lukács, Jean-Paul Sartre and, worst of all, John Lennon, is finally being finished off under the cover of “saving lives” from this virus. Religious practice, even baptisms, have been summarily banned by our Prime Minister’s diktat, replaced by state-backed clapping for Are En-Haitch-Ess (thanks for my dad’s two new laptops in as many weeks!), like something from the Book of Daniel; policemen are threatening to search through shopping bags to see if any “un-essential” items lie therein; the government is even floating the idea of “anti-body certificates” to allow people to come out of lockdown, which is just the imposition of mandatory ID cards by the back-door. There is nothing British about these measures, rather they reek of Europe and the United States, the kind of places which use water cannons on peaceful protesters.
Of course, these measures have their stooges, who claim that these measures are no worse than those instituted during the Second World War (as if none of them were controversial then). This may be true, but we’re not at war. Napoleon doesn’t have 100,000 men sat at Boulogne waiting for the right wind to blow them across the Channel. U-Boats aren’t sinking our merchant fleet. There is no great foreign power poised to pounce at our shores and overthrow our very civilisation and way of life. Indeed, even if there were, they would be redundant, since we are already doing that ourselves! In our own madness, we are heaping up the funeral pyre of centuries of British history, throwing aside the relationship between government and governed which has set Britain apart from virtually every other nation on earth (apart from based Switzerland). From Henry I’s coronation oath to the protests against the Means Test, Britain has had the instinctual rule that it is the ruler who must justify himself to the ruled. It is this primordial urge that drove the greatest leaders of our history, from Alfred the Great to Elizabeth I to Oliver Cromwell to Sir Winston Churchill, who would have been disgusted by what his great imitator is doing now. The central element of the British Constitution is the coronation, wherein the sovereign pays homage to our true ruler, Almighty God, and justifies herself to the people whom He has appointed to be her subjects. On those two things hangs the entirety of how Britain should be ruled. It contextualises the contents of Romans Chapter 13 to this fair isle, and allows for the removal of the sovereign when they breach the oaths taken during their coronation, which was used to justify Magna Carta and the removals of the tyrants Charles I and James II. The measures taken by Her Majesty’s Government do little that falls within these coronation oaths. They actively ban the practice of the Protestant religion, for goodness sake!
Yet of course there will be some who say stupid things like any opposition to these measures is American or whatever, by which logic a taste for shepherd’s pie is American, since they also happen to like the undeniably English dish. What these people miss, of course, is that their own ideas aren’t British at all, and have never been applied on these shores except by the worse monarchs of the Stuart dynasty and now by the worse members of the “Conservative” Party. These ideas undermine the very foundation of the British Constitution and spit in the face of more than a thousand years of British history, and really have more in common with doddering chancers like Galtieri than anyone impressive. I fear they will realise this all too late to do anything about it. I leave you, then with the hope we have that Arthur’s epitaph was right: Hic jacet Arthurus, Rex quondam, Rexque futurus.