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I asked a question two days ago, at what stage do the English stop saying mustn’t grumble and start coming out in open rebellion against the Tax Farmers of Whitehall and Westminster?

At University I was taught by a very distinguished Marxist Historian who sadly is not longer with us as I would to have heard his take on the events of the recent few weeks.

He was an apologist for socialism, by a personal belief he had an incurable romantic notion of the goodness of man. I have been disabused of that over many decades of seeing banal evil up close.

He said the English were not revolutionary, due to an almost genetic predisposition. In 1848 while Europe was in flames, England had a Petition instead.

Chartism was a large working-class movement for political reform in Britain that erupted from 1838 to 1857 and was strongest in 1839, 1842 and 1848. It was fiercely opposed by government authorities who finally suppressed the movement. It took its name from the People's Charter of 1838 and was a national protest movement, with particular strongholds of support in Northern England, the East Midlands, the Staffordshire Potteries, the Black Country, and the South Wales Valleys.

Support for the movement was at its highest when petitions signed by millions of working people were presented to the House of Commons. The strategy employed was to use the scale of support which these petitions and the accompanying mass meetings demonstrated to put pressure on politicians to concede manhood suffrage. Chartism thus relied on constitutional methods to secure its aims, though some became involved in insurrectionary activities, notably in South Wales and in Yorkshire.

He cited this as an explanation as to way Buckingham Palace had never been stormed by red flag waving bolsheviks.

I pointed out at the time that the peasants revolt, the English Civil War and the Monmouth Rebellion were major conflagrations that ushered in huge social and political changes.

When we are approaching the stage that for some the choice is between heating and eating , and the young can no longer afford to be owner occupiers whiles the State just gets bigger by the day with more lavish gongs titles and pensions.

There is a storm coming and it will be ugly.

Andrew Withers FRSA

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