Saturday 4 November 2017

Banging On Again

Bonfire Night has long been a pain in the ears, especially since all the cheap foreign fireworks etc. became available. My young ones when given a choice between bangers or the cash, opted for the cash. I wonder how many, if made that offer, would do the same?

Normally, I prefer to avoid "ifs and buts" of history, but so long as not too much is made of it can be an interesting perspective. One assumption I do not agree with is that had Guy Fawkes and the plotters succeeded, the Catholics would have taken control.

It is said that the House of Lords would have gone up with the King, but in the British way of primogeniture for land and titles there would have been a good many heirs in waiting of the right age, some young, but still there. There would be the core of a new second chamber.

Then there was the House of Commons, largely composed of the higher gentry who wielded much of the power in the counties, the law and the rest. Along with them were the leaders of the boroughs and the major merchant and financial families.

These are the people who did well out of The Reformation. That it is assumed that the Holy Orders of Rome would just return and take it all back is unlikely. They would need an army behind them, either that of Spain, or France.

Such an army might succeed if the population were divided enough or not capable. But this did not apply in England or Scotland. The logistics alone would be challenging but the extent of opposition would present serious difficulties.

There are other things. If James V and I had died, then he would not have pursued either his creation of monopolies or the gross spending sprees on entertainment and giving out largesse to his special favourites. He would not have created the situation that led to King Charles I facing a revolution.

If a monarch had been appointed whose spending was under control and fitted needs better and above all allowed industry and commerce to grow and create riches the industrial revolution might have happened a lot earlier.

What the choice of monarch might have been had James family been wiped out as well raised the question of the union with Scotland. It may have been that they might go their separate ways again; the Scots reverting to medieval and other rivalries between the major families and the English nurturing the wool trade and contacts with the Low Countries.

Best of all; those awkward people with their beliefs centred on The Bible and that The Reformation was unfinished business may have been able to stay at home in England instead of going off across The Atlantic to take land from the local population.

No James, no "Mayflower", have a good Thanksgiving.


  1. The "ifs and buts" of history do suggest how random a particular course of events may be.

  2. Don’t think it would have made a lot of difference - they would just have replaced from those lined up.