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Tony Grist

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Trafalgar [Jun. 28th, 2005|10:21 am]
Tony Grist
We are celebrating Trafalagar. Well, I'm not, but the British nation is. And what I want to know is why?

Two hundred years ago the British fleet under Horatio Nelson smashed the French and Spanish fleet. I guess the long term effect was that Britannia ruled the waves without serious challenge for the next century and a bit.

But the British Empire has gone now. The Royal Navy is a geopolitical irrelevance. The French and Spanish are our partners in a Europe where war between member states is all but unthinkable. The world of Tralalgar has disappeared. The work that Trafalgar accomplished has been undone.

And lets not forget that Tralalgar was a battle not a football match. Something like 7000 people were killed. We're doing this tribal dance of ours on a whole bunch of graves.

So what's left? The memory of a time when we were briefly "top nation"? Hooray.

"A British tar is a soaring soul,
As free as a mountain bird,
His energetic fist should be ready to resist
A dictatorial word."

Et cetera....

And now lets get over ourselves and move on.

[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-06-28 05:11 am (UTC)
And now lets get over ourselves and move on.

Horatio Nelson is a romantic figure to someone who has only seen the movies (he looked like Laurence Olivier, right?) and read history. You certainly put it in proper (and funny) perspective.

So many major holidays are the result of one kind of war or another. We have one coming up - July 4th.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-06-28 05:44 am (UTC)
Of course- he looked exactly like Laurence Olivier.:)

Nelson was a great military commander and, as military commanders go, an admirable person. And the affair with Emma Hamilton is worth a ripped bodice or two.

It's just this junketing over a battle I object to.

The Queen has been "reviewing the fleet" this morning. I wonder how she rates it out of 10?
"I loved the aircraft carriers, but the battleships just didn't do it for me- and I'd have liked to see a whole lot more of the motor torpedo boats...."
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-06-28 06:09 am (UTC)
And Emma Hamilton looked like Vivian Leigh...

There are a few places along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario (mentioned, of course, because I'm familiar with them) that, during the summer, still have the 'blessing of the fleet'. So every person with a seaworthy craft...rowboat to schooner, and sometimes even the Tall Ship that the Royal Canadian Naval Academy uses for training, is blessed by the local clergy. Not just the Catholic priests, but the rest of the clergy as well.

I think it's rather sweet.

Your comment about the Queen reviewing the fleet sort of made me think of that...what about the nuclear subs?

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-06-28 07:49 am (UTC)
I don't know. They keep those at Faslane up in Scotland (I think.)

They were probably being reviewed as well.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-06-28 10:59 am (UTC)
By Mary, Queen of Scots?

(now I'm being silly...)
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