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  • byakimov@csc.com.au
    THE DESTINY OF THE ISLES Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role Dean Acheson, former U.S. Secretary of State, 1962 A new government with
    Message 1 of 1 , May 15 7:04 PM

      Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role

      Dean Acheson, former U.S. Secretary of State, 1962

      A new government with a large majority, chosen by just over 22% of the electorate, according
      to its strangely undemocratic system, has come to power in the United Kingdom. There are many
      who sigh resignedly. Regardless of which political party ‘wins’ elections - and in the last
      fifty years, the winners have all been minorities - the United Kingdom seems to lurch on
      without direction.

      Only the very elderly now recall the time of British Empire, when Great Britain was a world
      power and had purpose and direction. (The question as to whether that purpose and direction
      were ever the right ones is of course another matter). Since two exhausting European World
      Wars and resulting US dominance of world affairs, British government ministers have, one after
      another, shuttled between two centres of power, in the USA and in Europe, seeking to find a
      role between them. Most of the time, one weak Prime Minister after another has sold out
      British interests, either to one centre, or else to the other. Thus, farming and fisheries
      have collapsed beneath the diktats of unelected European bureaucrats in Europe. Food prices
      have soared, people are crushed beneath the stifling weight of European Union directives,
      which have little or no popular support. Similarly, when the administration of another Union,
      the American one, insists that the United Kingdom support its aims, feeble British Prime
      Ministers scurry to obey, as was the case in the recent oil war in Iraq.

      Perhaps the British have only themselves to blame. For hundreds of years, Great Britain was
      used to ‘ruling the waves’, setting up a worldwide trading Empire. In so doing, the British
      Establishment made itself hated in many parts of the world. The crimes of British Imperialism
      are well-known - from the crofts of Scotland to the villages of Ireland, from the settlements
      of Yankees to the temples of India, from the cotton-fields of the Sudan to the paddy-fields of
      Burma, from the sugar plantations of the Carribean to the farms of Kenya, from the mountains
      of the Maoris to the genocide of Tasmania, from the teepees of Canada to the concentration
      camps of South Africa. Perhaps there is historical justice in the lap-dog antics to which
      current British politicians are reduced, as they curry favour with those who have power in
      today’s world.

      However, the most admired moments in the history of this North Atlantic island archipelago are
      not those of Empire and Conquest, or the diplomatic kow-towing in European cities and
      Washington. The great moments have been those when we were the underdogs of history. It can be
      seen in the folk-heroes of these islands. It is in the Celtic leader Arthur, in the English
      King Alfred, in the anti-Norman heroes Hereward of Bourne and Robin Hood, in the Scotsmen
      William Wallace and Robert Bruce as they battled against the French Kings of England, in the
      Welsh national hero Owen Glendower, in the English revolts against the tyrant Henry VIII, in
      the Irish freedom-fighters from the sixteenth century on.

      Most recently of all it was sixty-five years ago, in 1940, when, backs to the wall after the
      miracle, but also disaster, of Dunkirk, Great Britain stood alone against the might of
      Hitler’s military empire and planned genocide. Then we were saved, not by the antics of a
      Chamberlain in Munich, but by ‘the few’, in what Winston Churchill called ‘our finest hour’.
      However, when a few years later we were no longer the underdog, but the top dog, we began to
      forget our moral conscience. And so we helped sell out half of Europe to the atheist murderer
      Stalin, we massacred the German civilians of Dresden, and handed over Russian and Serbian
      patriots to their Communist executioners.

      No country is great when it behaves without moral purpose. The only moments of glory in our
      island history have been when we acted with moral purpose and justice. It is the same in the
      histories of all nations. Thus, the American colonies can be proud of winning their
      independence from the mad German King of Great Britain in the eighteenth century, but cannot
      be proud of their descendants’ role in the Vietnam War, which it lost, because it lost its
      moral purpose. Thus, Russia can be proud of freeing the Bulgarians from centuries of Ottoman
      oppression in the nineteenth century, but cannot be proud of the anti-Russian Soviet era of
      its history. Thus, England can be proud of fighting for the underdogs on many occasions in her
      history, but cannot be proud of invading other countries in order to plunder their natural
      resources. Examples could be given for every other country in the world.

      Life, and history, which is simply past life, teach us about moral purpose. They tell us that
      whenever we act without conscience, without moral purpose, however much we may delude
      ourselves into thinking that we have such a conscience and purpose, we punish ourselves, we
      deprive ourselves of vision. We are always blinded by the moral and spiritual injustice we
      commit. We find no peace, no clear conscience, for the mirrors of our souls are befouled,
      dirtied by our own dishonesty, lies and self-deception. And therefore the task of returning
      the history of the world to its proper course turns out to be beyond us. For this, each of us
      will one day be called on to give account of our deeds.

      Most probably, the new government in the United Kingdom will change nothing whatsoever in any
      of this. Our decline over the centuries into the moral quagmire of always following the prince
      of this world will continue. But let it not be said that we were silent about the compromises
      with the powers of this world. We still say that we could take another path, independent of
      the economic, political and military power of Washington and Brussels. We could still set up a
      Confederation of the Isles, of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, independent of both
      Washington and Brussels. We could still choose to follow our consciences. But to find again
      the historic path of our destiny, both the governments and the four peoples of these islands
      would need the intervention of a miracle. This would be the miracle of repentance, to be found
      beyond doubt, in the Light of the Resurrection.

      Fr Andrew

      Thomas Sunday 2005
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