Sunday, April 17, 2016


The book does not exist any more: I can't find it


This is an interesting panorama. It quotes some cultural and scientific events as historical, which is important and absolutely right. William Shakespeare and his “Histories” reflected the taste of the English for history and also influenced them with a global vision that refused the notion of King by divine right of any sort. In the same way his vision of religion is quite different from any fundamentalism like the one that will prevail under Cromwell (though also under James I before Cromwell). Isaac Newton and his revolutionary invention of physics with his theory of universal gravitation. Edward Jenner and his invention of the first vaccine. Charles Darwin and his discovery of natural selection and evolution of the species through mutations and reproduction. Finally George Orwell and his ill-fated and yet visionary science fiction book 1984. That is history too and the motor of history in the mind of people is cultural.

It would have been interesting to say that the British Isles were populated before the Ice Age and before the Indo-European Celts. What we call Old Europeans who represent 75% of our DNA were all of Turkic origin and spoke agglutinative languages. New Europeans only arrived after, and at times long after, the Ice Age from the Middle East but they only represent 25% of our DNA though they represent today probably 95% of our languages (Hungarian, Finnish, Lap language, a few languages in the Caucasus, plus Basque language are all agglutinative, without counting the languages of immigrants. That would have enabled him to speak of the Picts in Scotland and of the fact that Stonehenge is on the same pattern as Gobekli Tepe in Turkey dating back to 9,500 BCE. By same pattern we mean the circular structure, the erected stones, and probably similar cosmic orientation. This Gobekli Tepe settlement is  what we consider the very first construction showing the new division of labor coming with the invention of agriculture and herding in the Middle East and that was part of the indo-European culture that was to conquer Europe via Greece and via the Caucasus and the northern European steppes and plains. (, accessed April 17, 2016, among others)

As for the “written history” of the Celts. It must be clearly said the Celts had a writing system, the Ogham alphabet (, accessed April 17, 2016), but they wrote on non-durable media (bark essentially). As for these Celts you must also take the Cornish into account, but more than all others the Irish who apparently imposed some kind of dependence on the British Celts. This is clearly reflected in the Welsh Triads and in the Cornish tradition of Tristan and Yseult. They also had relations with continental Bretons and Gauls.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (890-1150) should have been connected to the other great Anglo-Saxon work of poetry, Beowulf. The mention of Middle English is correct if it is seen as early Middle English and this development requires the presence of French in England since English is a Creole Germanic language, with Anglo-Saxon underlying syntax (and part of lexicon) and French overlying lexicon and cultural references.

The Domesday Book is essential because it was the way William I imposed his control on the country. He instated a Norman nobility here and there, where he could and with the men he had, and he recognized, though at a second rank, the local Anglo-Saxon Barons. He organized this census to know the country and it is important because then we know England was a fully feudal country and most human beings who were tilling the earth were serfs and part of the chattel of the estates. This classification will still be used when the Tudors come to power.

And this explains the Magna Carta. Only the Pope had authority over a feudal king, and only in his being a king or not, not in his policies. But no one under the king could dictate any decision of his since the King was king by divine appointment. His policies were thus divinely inspired. The king could only “grant” anything to anyone and the Magna Carta is such a grant from the king. It was possible because in Runnymede the Norman nobility, the Anglo-Saxon barons and the Church came together and asked the king to please grant them a few things. It was a second time such a gfrant from the king was performed (Charter of Liberties, Henry I, 1100) but the first time a strong pressure was exerted onto the king. He granted them several things and the first human rights: widows and orphans got their rights (freedom, independence and property) recognized and protected. Before a widow was left without any resources and an orphan was the property of anyone who wanted to take him, including being cast down into the feudal class of serfs. The King was one of the looters of estates that fell in the hands of a widow or an orphan.

The concept of Parliament can be traced to Edward I and his Model Parliament in 1295, but it is the continuation of the feudal practice of the Estates General with the originality of the two  nobilities in England and with the simple fact that all humans who were part of chattel were not in anyway concerned: they were the unconsidered estate that will later be integrated in the third estate in the French tradition (French Revolution) but will be kept out of voting for a very long time in England, in fact up to 1918 as shown in the following timeline (, accessed April  17, 2016)

1265 : Parliament established. It contains 2 chambers. One is 'the Lords' - unelected aristocrats. The other is 'the Commons'. These Members of Parliament (MPs) are smaller landowners and are elected only by male landowners.
1642-60 : English Civil War. This is a war between the Parliament and the King for who has control of the state. King Charles I is executed and England is briefly a Republic. In 1660 the monarchy is returned, but it never regains its power. From now on, the Prime Minister, chosen by Parliament has the most influence.
1707 : Act of Union unites England/Wales and Scotland. The United Kingdom is now formed.
1819 : The Peterloo Massacre. A mass demonstration in favour of universal male suffrage is attacked by troops and 15 people are killed.
1832 : Great Reform Act. Before this time only landowners could vote for MPs to sit in the House of Commons. This meant 1 in 7 men could vote. (440,000 people) After 1832 the male urban middle classes gain the vote, and so the electorate increases to 1 in 5 men (650,000 people).
1867 : Second Reform Act. This extends the vote to the skilled urban male working class. The electorate increases to 1 in 3 men.
1884 : Third Reform Act. The vote is now given to working class men in the countryside. The electorate is now 2 out of 3 men.
1918 : Representation of the People Act. Almost all men over 21 years old, and women over 30 years old now have the vote.
1928 : Effectively all women and men over 21 now have the vote.

The One Hundred Years’ War, the Black Death and the War of Roses represent one hundred and fifty years of absolute instability and catastrophes in England though England escapes the Lutheran movement because England’s Reformation is quite different. But the arrival of the printing press is a challenge, considered as it was at the time, a mystery that needed initiation (in the meaning of some ritual and sacred initiation) for anyone to be able to work on it. It should have been insisted upon that the press arrived long before the Tudors;, yet it will only be managed by a guild for a long time and in 1557 Mary I will introduced what was called copyright by making the Stationers Company of London the beneficiaries of a Charter that enabled the Sovereign to ban some books, protestant books for Mary I, Catholic books for Elizabeth I. This copyright protected the books, the authors and the printers, provided they respected the censorship edicted by the sovereign and implemented by the Stationers Company. This censorship will remain till 1710 and the Statute of (Queen) Anne that established full freedom of the press and gave to the authors the full control and benefit of the copyright they became the sole legitimate holders.

I think it is important to retrace such facts because they show how England was at the forefront of a very long evolution towards individual civil and political freedoms.

The restoration is not emphasized enough and the Glorious Revolution comes a little like a twist in the fabric though it was an essential turn in history. An essential date is 1679, the Habeas Corpus Act before the Glorious Revolution that sees Parliament choosing the king and queen that were to sit on the throne, though Mary II was the daughter of the running away king James II and her husband, the prince of Orange, was her fist degree cousin. The blood line was respected but Parliament made the choice and thus imposed the Bill of Rights in 1889 that gave full freedom of speech to members of parliament, within parliament and within the standard electoral meetings that only concerned ONE man our of SEVEN men, hence 14% of the MALE ONLY population over 21 YEARS OF AGE, or so.

A last thing that should be emphasized is the very first industrial revolution. Many factories are still called mills because the first mechanical energy used to work weaving looms (Edmund Cartwright, 1785) was water via the old medieval mills. Instead of turning one stone, the mill water wheel turned an axle that activated via belts the loom itself thus multiplying the productivity of the overlooking person. The steam engine was only to come a few decades later (James watt, 1781). The invention of the mechanical loom will also come later (Jacquard, 1801) and the invention of the first steam engine running on metal rails is from George Stephenson, 1814. It is difficult not to mention these dates if we want to understand what happened in the 19th century which had been liberated by the English political and social evolution of the 18th century (the enclosure movement, the rural exodus and the development of cities and the first mills and factories using hydraulic energies along all canals and rivers and the invention of some kind of urban serfdom with workhouses.

For the modern times I would insist on a completely different dynamic coming to England and developing in England: the dynamic of the total freedom of circulation, distribution, broadcasting and reception of any information and cultural product via the internet, and the debate around the defense of intellectual property which was first ever defined by the House of Lords convening in judicial form to rule on the Donaldson vs Beckett case in 1774.

The main problem of England, or Great Britain or the United Kingdom is that they were at the avant-garde in the world for the questions that absolutely transformed the world and dominate today all discussions, debates and decisions. And to have been at the avant-garde for so long is not necessarily easy for the future. And an English Prime Minister can be tricked by a hefty present from his mother badly invested in a perverse American invention from President Theodor Roosevelt who invented with JP Morgan the first ever tax and financial haven 113 years ago, in 1903 when Panama was cut off from Colombia. We are always haunted by the past.


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