Rewriting history

Discussion in 'History' started by lsadirty, Sep 27, 2007.

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  1. I see from yesterday's TORYGRAPH that Trevor Phillips, the Chairman of the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights, said that the history of Britain did not properly reflect the contribution of other cultures.
    Speaking at a conference fringe meeting, he said the storyof how Sir Francis Drake fought the Spanish Armada in 1588 should include the important role played by the Muslim Turks in delaying the Spanish Fleet, which allowed the British ships to be better prepared.
    FFS, whatever next ? This was one of the basic teachings I had at primary school, and some dogooder wants to trash it. Anyone got any other thoughts, apart from "Will anyone rid me of this turbulent priest ?"
  2. I've heard many people with far less contentious a public or academic profile than Trev make the case that the teaching of history is/has been an far from unbiased subject. (Someone with a classical background will I'm sure be able to argue that twas ever thus - where is AAC when you need him?) The only people who have a problem with this are the 'facts of history' brigade. One of the most interesting historiographical subjects I have studied was to look at the 'anti-catholic' history of England.

    Every generation re-writes history - for starters we constantly unearth new historical data. That people put it together in accordance with their own needs and prejudices is a 'fact' (sic) well known to students of the subject. Keeps academics in business too ...
  3. janner

    janner War Hero Book Reviewer

    Its very simple, the Victor gets to write the history.
  4. Correction the victor gets to write the propoganda, the history get written later.
  5. janner

    janner War Hero Book Reviewer

  6. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Rebuttals to Trevor Phillips' preposterous proposal in the letters column of the Telegraph. However 'history' as taught in schools will always be a cherry-pick because the subject is too vast to treat any one episode throughly. The important thing about the Armada story is that it was in the 1580s that the English, under strong leadership, came to realise that, whereas for other lesser nations the sea is an impediment, for us it is the high road to victory.
  7. must still be in post-alcoholic stupor - when I first read this I thought it said the Vicar gets to write the history ... :shaking2:
  8. Not that far from the truth, many of the earliest histories were in fact written by churchmen, so return to the bottle in comfort.
  9. you are right Maxi - and did some jolly nice illustrations to go with them too

  10. And that our bad weather is actually a strategic asset!
  11. If you read some of the more recent writings on the Armada we won mainly because we made less cock ups than they did, and a timely storm, a bit better planning and control on the Spanish side and we would be having bullfighting in trafalgar square today.
  12. Much the way of most battles it seems to me! Wasn't it the storm after Trafalgar that really sealed the deal.
  13. Yep, bang on.
    There is a very good reason why automatic landings for aircraft were pioneered in the UK.
  14. Had yer man Phillips been American in a similar job over there, I wonder if he would push the argument that they only won the War of Independence because of help from the French (the French Alliance contributing Army and Naval forces). I can't really imagine it, particularly at the moment.

    He's doing what he's paid to do; make us feel indebted to Johnny Foreigner.

    Wars are always won by the side making the least mistakes!
  15. I see all your points guys but surely it is all about maintaining your british pride. Something which is severely lacking in the british education system. They don't teach kids about british history at all any more. If you asked any of my 3 they probably could'nt even tell you who Drake was!!!
  16. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Weather indeed - 'God blew his winds and they [the Armada] were scattered'. But their fate was sealed by having cut and run under the threat of fireships, so that some had no anchors; and it was a fairly major cockup not to realise the high probability that even having delivered Parma, they would not be able to about turn and march back down the Channel. Also the Spanish had filled their ships up with soldiers which was bound to screw things up.

    As to the gale after Trafalgar- Nelson: 'Do you anchor Hardy, anchor!' - the battle was already won but the gale cost us our prizes. We were, however, helped by (1) precipitate action by Villeneuve who knew he stood to be shafted by Napoleon if he didn't put to sea before his relief arrived and (2) Spanish ships being ravaged by fever; but as to (2), it was us which kept them cooped upin Cadiz so that that happened.

    The irony of the rebels' success in America was that the tactical success of the French in the Chesapeake was a well-deserved strategic disaster for that jackal nation; in the first place our settlement with the infant Republic enabled us to concentrate our resources on our long-term enemy, and in the second the ideas behind the illegal American rebellion fired the French Revolution, an episode of mass-murder of which Johnny Frog is so proud.

    'Keep then the sea, which is the wall of England; then is England kept by God's hand' - Bishop Adam de Moleyns, who managed to get this out before being murdered by unpaid sailors in Portsmouth (15th century JPA didn't work either).
  17. The main reason the Americans won the War of Independance was because they used British trained troops - they'd been allowed to marry the locals and thus had become locals and wanted to get home - the single men had been on a few 'homers' and wanted some of that for themselves! Oh the power of a woman!
  18. Well, technically, they were all British; until we left them to get on with it.

    Arguably the best war we ever lost.

    We digress.
  19. Wonder how much freedom of expression Trevor Phillips would have today if France had kept control of the West Indian islands ?
  20. I do find it hard to understand why so many people think that being critical of your country means that one doesn't love it. I adore this country, wouldn't really bother if I never went anywhere else ever again for my holidays and wouldn't want to live anywhere else ... however ... I am very critical of its government today and without sounding too pedantic I think we have to look equally critically at the past too. This is not to attempt to re-write history in a 1984ish sort of way but because if we don't have the capacity to do this we can be so very easily manipulated by unscrupulous politicians and political activists who will - if it suits them - ruthlessly manipulate 'facts' to their own ends. (Think of the lies the BNP tell about both the past and the present).

    I utterly deplore the recent spate of saying sorry for the past and I think this type of activity has laid itself open to justifiable ridicule from the press ... however ...

    ... I do believe we should commemorate the lives of those who suffered in the past, and I believe we should educate people about the terrible wrongs that were done in the past.

    Just as we remember those who died in wars, many of which we now see as unjustifiable and lay wreaths and carry out other forms of commemorative activity I believe we should commemorate and honour those who suffered in the past as a consequence of things such as slavery, and who actually had even less choice in the matter. (Press Gangs excepted of course)


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