Thursday, January 7, 2010

Great Britain Punks Out

Does anyone ever think about Edward VIII ? He was supposed to succeed King George V, his father, who passed away and left the throne to marry a woman who was an American, divorcee and a Roman Catholic. Rather than follow the quaint British royal custom of maintaining her as a mistress, he shattered precedent by abdicating the throne, giving his famous speech saying that he was giving up the throne "for the woman I love." Edward VIII had unfortunately begun his association with Ms. Simpson before her divorce had become final. There were numerous rumour s that other men, including the German ambassador to Britain had shared this dubious distinction. These rumours did nothing to endear Edward VIII or his wife to the British public. Later on, rumours of Edward VIII's pro Nazi sympathies drove his standing with the British public even lower. It is quite possible that Britain would have had a Nazi sympathiser on the throne had Edward VIII not abdicated.

All of this is very interesting to the aficionados of "alternative history", in which people speculate what might have been had history taken a different turn, such as say the South winning the American Civil War.

Anyone who is a stamp or a coin collector finds Edward VIII's 325 day reign to be of great interest. Never formally crowned, Edward VIII nevertheless had a few coins that were struck in the United Kingdom and in the British Empire with his name and/or picture on them. They usually fetch a premium for their curiosity value. Recently, a Canadian penny with the name but not the picture of Edward VIII fetched over $400,000.00 at auction. Sify News reports as follows on the record price paid for the historically significant coin.

A rare 1930-era Canadian penny fetched $402,500 - much more than the expected price of $300,000 - at an auction here on Sunday.

It is the highest price fetched by any coin in recent auctions. But it is nowhere near the $1.1 million fetched by a 1911 Canadian silver dollar in 2003. The penny, a 1936 vintage coin, has a dot - rather than the image of the then British sovereign - on it.

"It is one of the three pennies that were struck after the death of King George V who is best known for the Delhi Durbar of 1911. He ruled the British Commonwealth, including Canada and India, from 1910 to 1936.

Though dated 1936, the penny was actually minted in 1937. The Royal Canadian Mint had cast these pennies which were to be issued with the image of new King Edward VIII who succeeded King George V after his death in 1936.

But as the pennies were being cast, King Edward VIII left the throne to marry twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.Thus, the mint was left without a monarch's face to grace the coins, and the pennies were issued with only a tiny dot below the date."

The Britain of 1936 was a far different place that it is today. The resoluteness of Londoners during the German bombing a few years later between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941 captured the hearts of the world. Winston Churchill's grim determination echoed that of the people he led. A fickle monarch who saw no value to the throne he renounced was hardly fit to lead such a people.

What would Britain look like today if Edward VIII remained on the throne and not been succeeded by his brother George VI ?

I don't believe we need to use our imaginations. Divested of its overseas empire, Britain is now host to immigrants from its former colonies who provide a significant number of militant fifth column that despises British values. Many talk openly of turning Britain into a Shaaria state.

What does Prince Charles, (who was supposed to become the next King before his marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles dimmed his prospects) have to say about Islam? The truthformuslims web site was quite happy to quote Prince Charles as follows on their web site.

"Prince Charles clearly promotes Islam as the answer to the secularization problem of the West. In his July 1996 speech entitled A Sense of the Sacred in the Modern World, the Prince doesn't quote Christ or the Bible, but he does quote Mohammed, the Quran and a famous Arab Muslim historian.

In this speech at the Investcorp Dinner, he told his listeners,

I do so hope that you, as people who operate in the very modern world of business and finance, will use your influence to....promote the important principle of wholeness which Islam can still teach us in the West.1

In his December 1996 speech called A Sense of the Sacred: Building Bridges Between Islam and the West, he confidently uses phrases such as, "the memorable passage in the Qur'an" and "The Prophet Mohammed himself is believed to have said". He doesn't seem to have a problem quoting the Quran and referring to Mohammed as an authority.

Yet in a 1997 speech Prince Charles says, "I hesitate to speak with any authority on a subject as important and central as the Book of Common Prayer."2

The Book of Common Prayer is one of the basic Christian texts for Anglicans and yet Prince Charles prefaces his remarks by proclaiming his hesitance to speak about a book which is so important to his Anglican Christian heritage."

It is one thing to note a societal drift from core values. But Prince Charles, who if he were King would be head of the Church of England displays no depth of understanding of the values of the faith he supposedly will lead.

Britain has gone out of its way to show "sensitivity" to its Muslim immigrants. They have even made polygamy legal for anyone who goes abroad, takes another wife and returns to Britain. The Daily Mail reports as follows on this judicial and administrative capitulation.

"Islamic law allows a man to take up to four wives, providing he can provide for them fairly and equally. But British law only ever recognises one spouse, while bigamy is punishable by up to seven years in jail.

However, if a husband and his wives arrive and settle in Britain having wed in a country where polygamy is legal, then the UK benefits system recognises his extra wives as dependents and pays them accordingly.

The Department of Work and Pensions admitted yesterday it had no figures on how many families are claiming for multiple wives.

Official DWP guidelines on housing and council tax benefit states: "If you were legally married to more than one partner under the laws of a country that permits this, then your relationship is called a polygamous marriage."

The British retreat in the face of Muslim extremism is not only figurative but literal as well. Back in January of 2009, Muslim demonstrators chased London police down a street, taunting them with profanity as they chanted "Free Palestine." The police were literally running backwards. It was pitiful.

Not only this, but the British government is bending over backwards not to offend muslim sensibilities, as reported by The Sun.

"LABOUR slammed the brakes on its war against violent extremism yesterday - amid fears it had upset Muslim voters.

Millions spent preventing Asian kids becoming terrorists will now be used to tackle right-wing racists in WHITE areas.

Community cohesion minister Shahid Malik admitted he was softening his stance because Muslims felt stigmatised.

But a former Labour aide called the move a "dangerous dilution" of the Government's counter-terrorism strategy.

But don't despair. Britain has decided that it's time to get tough. They have issued arrest warrants.... for Israeli military officers. because of actions they ordered against terrorists in gaza who were firing missiles into Israeli civilian areas. Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper noted an arrest warrant issued against its foreign minister Tzipi Livni by a British judge as follows.

....."Tzipi Livni, who was foreign minister during the Gaza operation, recently canceled plans to visit London following issuance of an arrest warrant by a British court, which used the legal claim of “universal jurisdiction” to prosecute war crimes. And last week, fearing arrest warrants in Great Britain, several Israeli military officers canceled a trip when British authorities said they could not guarantee the officers would not be arrested."

I'm trying to get an understanding of this. Israel responds to acts of war. They risk their own soldier's lives to minimise risk to civilians. And now they are being second guessed by British judges. It sounds like a play for Muslim votes. And arresting a visiting foreign minister sounds like a catastrophic breakdown of international diplomatic norms.

Let's take a look at Sierra Leone, a former British colony that had a bloody civil war between 1991 and 2002 in which 50,000 people out of a population of six and a half million died.

How bad was the Sierra Leone war? The UN web site Africa Renewal reports as follows.

"The Sierra Leone civil war was known internationally for its horrific atrocities -- especially the widespread amputations of villagers' limbs. But until recently, little attention was devoted to abuses directed specifically against women. "Violence against women was not just incidental to the conflict," Ms. Nowrojee told Africa Renewal, "but was routinely used as a tool of war. Sexual violence was used in a widespread and systematic way as a weapon, and women were raped in extraordinarily brutal ways."

The report continues as follows.

"The commission's 1,500-page report, released in October, provides an excruciatingly thorough and detailed account of the atrocities carried out in the war, which officially ended in January 2002. Out of the 10,002 adult victims the commission was able to identify, 33.5 per cent were female. Among the 1,427 child victims, that proportion rose to 44.9 per cent.

All armed groups carried out human rights violations against women and girls, the TRC report finds. These included killing, rape and other sexual violence, sexual slavery, slave labour, abduction, assault, amputation, forced pregnancy, disembowelment of pregnant women, torture, trafficking, mutilation, theft and the destruction of property. While forced conscription was used mainly -- but not solely -- against males, rape and sexual slavery were committed almost exclusively against females.

Because rape and sexual violence were so rife during the war, the country is now seeing a sharp rise in cases of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, the report notes. According to the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), of the 170,000 people between the ages of 15 and 49 estimated to be living with the virus in Sierra Leone in 2001, some 90,000 were female."

There are many such horrific conflicts in Africa. The Congo has lost over six million people in civil war that has raged in that country since the mid 1990s. The atrocities have been hands on, willful and horrific.

African war deaths from the Congo to Mauritania , from Sudan to Sierra Leone , in Nigeria and Uganda have dwarfed the body count in Israel many, many times over. Any African victim of rape, torture or amputation would find the prospect of being taken prisoner by Israel to be far preferable to what has befallen them.

So why is Britain ignoring the bleeding continent in which it once held sway as a colonial superpower? Why does it not invoke historical precedent to pull its former colonies back into a semblance of order?

Britain is a democracy. In a democracy, you count votes. And writing an arrest warrant out for Israel's foreign minister is a play for those Muslim extremist votes that can make or break a close election. The arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni has as much to do with humanitarian considerations as Elton John has to do with women.

Britain is now notorious for judicial leniency. It let the Lockerbie bomber who supposedly had only a few months to live. That was back in August. He got a hero's welcome when he came back to Libya, and now he's doing just fine.

Then there is plain common criminal justice. Consider Oliver Jordan, an 18 year old beaten by a gang of drunks. The Daily Mail reports as follows.

"A mother has written to magistrates in disgust after four teenagers who viciously attacked her son walked free from court.

Mary Jordan has demanded an explanation after the gang admitted to the unprovoked assault.

Oliver Jordan, 18, was taken to hospital after the group of 16-year olds, who had been drinking, battered him to the ground, kicking and punching him as he fell.

Each of them was given a six month referral order, which means they will have to appear before a youth offender panel which will suggest ways in which they can ‘repair the harm caused’."

Mary Jordan, the boy's mother rightly asked, " ‘Did my son need to be brain damaged or dead before you would have given him justice?

Welcome to the New Britain.

What, if anything does Britain stand for? Britain has a Crown Prince who apologises for his own faith and extols Islam for its fine values. This is the same Crown Prince that made such a sorry shambles of his marital and personal life that it now looks like his son will become King in his stead.

What would Britain be like if Edward VIII had remained on the throne? A lot like it looks today. Edward VIII and his reputed German sympathies sound a lot like Prince Charles and his airbrushing of Islam. At least the Prime Minister back in 1936 spoke up for the dignity of the Crown. Today, 10 Downing St. is occupied by a Prime Minister who cares only about collecting enough votes to stay in office.

I have always thought it fortunate that Edward VIII abdicated. Yet today, 76 years later, it seems that it has sunk to his level. What a pity.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How the Mighty have fallen!