England expects

 

                 Today we commemorate one of  Britain’s  greatest days. Talking and thinking this week-end about Englishness has made me more conscious of the achievement on October 21st 1805, when the  navy met the combined fleets of Spain and France off the Spanish coast. It summed up the best of our principles and capacities.  It was an action fought to keep our own country free from foreign invasion, but also to help liberate the rest of Europe from a restless warlord who wished to enforce a false unity on the continent by force of arms.

              It was victory for the underdog. Napoleon’s forces on land, and on this occasion at sea, were greatly superior. It was victory for daring and innovative tactics. The encounter followed a hectic chase of the French fleet, as Nelson tried to track it down and stop it getting to the English Channel. It was proof, if proof were needed, that training, experience, and belief in their cause, could give the British the strength they needed to vanquish the bully.

                Victory at Trafalgar over the combined French and Spanish fleets in 1805 was decisive. It meant Napoleon could not complete his conquest of Europe. England by her exertions had once again ensured the ultimate freedom of many nations and peoples on the continent, as well as protecting her own. Shorn of control of the coasts, and unable to invade England to stop her independent support for the conquered countries on the continent, Napoleon fought on, only to face ultimate defeat. England, then as later, stood for liberty and the self determination of nations.

               The victory was   comprehensive.  17 Allied ships surrendered, and  the Achille blew up .  27 English ships of the line with 2154 guns had overwhelmed a Franco Spanish fleet of 33 capital ships, with 2638 guns. The Allies also mounted more guns on frigates and smaller vessels.  4408 French and Spanish were dead, with 449 English killed in action. It is almost unbelievable that such an inferior force, attacking in the  full face of Allied naval fire in a light wind that maximised the time at risk as the fleets edged closer, could achieve so much.

            So what was it about that encounter that made it possible? It is true England had a charismatic Admiral who instilled confidence in his captains and men just as he struck doubt and fear into the minds of his enemies. His strategy was bold, and gave the English the advantage once the lines had closed of being able briefly to rake the French and Spanish ships through their vulnerable sterns. His leadership created a true band of brothers amongst his captains, who had considerable freedom to choose their own method of fighting in the melee which followed the clash of the fleets. The heroism of Captain Harvey and his crew on the Temeraire was an example, even  on that day of  formidable bravery and daring.

               The English were able to manoeuvre most of their ships in the light winds from great seamanship, whilst the Allied fleet struggled to get the van of its fleet back into the action once their lines had been cut. The English shot more broadsides from superior loading and firing, and fired on the down roll into the decks of the opponents. The Allied fleet disabled English ships by firing on the uproll into the rigging, without killing so many personnel.

               It was the most remarkable day in the long and remarkable history of the  English and British navies. May we use wisely the freedoms they helped us secure.

 

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75 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    “May we use wisely the freedoms they helped us secure” alas the recent and current politicians nearly all seem to think these freedoms are their personal property to give away or to sell for a hand full of worthless beans and a good EU pension with special tax privileges.

    Worse still they pretend to the elecotrate (mainly just before elections) they will do the opposite.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 21, 2013 at 5:55 am | Permalink

      I hear someone on the BBC trying to link the fires in New South Wales, Australia to anth. global warming. This even despite other reports saying they are only the worst fires since the sixties, which were probably the worst since 1936 or something.

      Forests in dry areas will burn periodically, always have perhaps always will. Mind you some fools even suggested the tsunami was linked to AGW. Is there no large natural event, illness, wind or farming problem that will not be linked to AGW by the proponents of this hugely exaggerated religion?

      Fire beetles have even evolved over millions of years to fly towards the remains of fires and utilise the habitat as the perfect breeding area.

      Perhaps they should just harvest the wood for use or burn it for heat & power, before it is harnessed all at once in these destructive periodic forest fires.

      Perhaps the BBC should find find some scientists with a rather more balanced/less green religion view of the world & its long, long history. Some younger Freeman Dyson or Richard Lindzen types.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 21, 2013 at 6:00 am | Permalink

        I still wonder what the coverage by the BBC will be like if & when we get some East Coast flooding again, as in 1953 in Lincoln, Norfolk, Suffolk and the Thames. It will surely be used by the BBC as the final conclusive proof of the AGW exaggeration religion and the absurd BBC agenda.

        • Bob
          Posted October 21, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

          I see that the BBC have cancelled a Panorama exposé about the investment of “Comedy Relief” proceeds.

          Another can of worms, with a tightly sealed lid.

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 21, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink

            Probably we shall see. I never likes all that dumbed down rubbish and red noses. Not much comedy involved just childish innuendo in general.

      • peter davies
        Posted October 21, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        If they have a wet period in Australia one year the trees then grow much bigger and faster than they normally would and when the dry spells come back the inevitable firestorms are even worse.

        Many of their trees are eucalyptus and contain some sort of oil so burn like hell.

        Its the way it is – nothing to do with AGW, just something that has happens anywhere that grows huge amounts of trees with accompanying hot dry spells – if we had long hot summers with no rain like they do we would have the same problem on a smaller scale.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 21, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

          In Australia it’s their spring (south of the equator the seasons are reversed), so they haven’t had their summer yet. So unless Australia and the southern hemisphere had a long hot winter your analysis is incorrect.

    • Hope
      Posted October 21, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Thank God Cameron and Clegg were not alive. Nor any of the treacherous politicos who helped bring alive FCO paper 10/1048 which has given away the UK independence and sovereignty by stealth to the EU while ensuring the main public is blissfully unaware. Poor old Nelson would have turned in his grave, like so many brave men who willingly gave up their lives for the country to be independent and remain sovereign.

    • Timaction
      Posted October 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      So the brave Nelson and his colleagues prevented an invasion of England. Many British men and women also gave up their lives for the freedom of these islands in the many wars that followed. Britain has just being given away to the EU and elsewhere by the mainstream politicians for the last 50 years. We won the wars and our mainstream politicians lost the peace. Shame on them. Our ancestor’s would be ashamed.

  2. Mark B
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    A much better piece than the one preceding the last. Clearly you have taken my advice and researched your subject ;o).

    In 2005, the National Maritime Museum held a 200th Anniversary Exhibition, which I went too. I see they are holding another exhibition, and I recommend anyone who has an interest in history (not necessarily military) to try and go sometime.

    http://www.rmg.co.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/nelson-navy-nation/

    On display at the time was Nelson’s uniform, which he wore at the time of the battle. I, and many around me, could not help but notice what a diminutive figure he was !

    As mentioned, it was in 2005 and the PC Brigade seemed to have gone to work in order not to offend. But there were many people there of all nationalities who wanted to know more about the time, the man, his navy and the battle. We, the general public, were truly an eclectic bunch, much like those that served in Nelson’s Fleet.

  3. Sue Jameson
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    May we use wisely the freedoms they helped us secure.”’

    Yes, well, because of the UK Government, we’re not are we? We’re shackled to a dead beat club that is costing each household £1,000 per year

    And the nuclear deals are being negotiated on bogus data driven by the “green” industry to ensure that it is as expensive as ridiculously priced renewables.

    We need out of the EU and we need our country back. Whatever happened to serving the public good? You don’t give a fig for Britons, you serve false Gods and we are paying for your blunders!

  4. Bazman
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    In short. What wasn’t captured was burned and after that….? Well..The game was ours. For the next hundred years at least. Speaking as a person with a French surname and appearance that is.

  5. Peter Richmond
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    This day in 1805 the British navy under Admiral Nelson defeated the might of France and Spain under Napoleon in the battle of Trafalgar. In subsequent years the British became leaders in the development and implementation of nuclear power. Today in 2013 the British government announced that it would be the French who will lead a consortium with the Chinese to build two nuclear power stations at Hinckley Point, Somerset.
    …..???

  6. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Glorifying in a piece of history may be fine for patriots, but wars are usually events in which loads of good people get slaughtered. A war doesn’t bring peace as such. The battle of Trafalgar, the battle at Chatham, the Korean war, the various Israeli wars, the NATO deterrent, the 10 million Russian soldiers who gave their lives to topple Hitler, they all didn’t provide peace as such, sometimes the absence of war for a period of time, but not peace. Peace can only follow as a lengthy and process of learning to relate with non-military means.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted October 21, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      Don’t they have history books in Holland?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        @backofanenvelope: of course they do, though not the ones you can read on the back of an envelope. They require nuance and insight.

        • Robert Taggart
          Posted October 23, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

          Petey, me old (friend ed) – the ‘Raid’ on Chatham in 1667 – do you (Dutchmen ed) not celebrate this ?

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 23, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

            @Robert Taggart: of course not! I had to google a lot to find it from vague memory of my school days. I was looking for some balance, that is also why this time round I mentioned the Russian soldiers in stead of the many English soldiers who gave their life for our freedom.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 21, 2013 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      “Peace can only follow as a lengthy and process of learning to relate with non-military means.”

      Well perhaps, but this is clearly something made far less likely by the EU, its absurdly constructed euro project and its system of top down, anti democratic government. As we saw before with the breakup of the Soviet Union.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 21, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        @lifelogic: In spite of British anti-EU feelings, so far history has been proving you totally wrong. Somethig realised by most people on the European continent and indeed acknowledged in the world.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 21, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        Given that all the leaders of the EU are democratically elected or have to be approved by a democratically elected body it’s clear that the EU isn’t anti-democratic.

        • Hope
          Posted October 21, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          Not elected by the the public of the 27 nations. They bear no visible representation to what they want. Tell me what ordinary citizen voted for Van Rompey? As I thought socialist EU drivel.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 22, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

            @Hope: You’re using a fake argument here, not even your own prime-minister was voted for “as prime-minister” by the public. Don’t confuse that with 33,973 individuals who voted for the MP of Witney please. By comparison, I could argue that about one million of the public voted for the former Belgian prime-minister Herman van Rompuy, about 30 x as many as for your prime-minister. Of course such an argument doesn’t make any sense either: Van Rompuy was elected chairman by his peers, all of whom were representing democratic governments.

            Reply People who voted Conservative in 2010 were indirectly voting for Mr Cameron to be PM as well as voting for their own Conservative candidate.

        • outsider
          Posted October 21, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

          Dear Uanime5,
          The best tests of democracy are not forms but realities. After all, to give just one example, the leaders of the German Democratic Republic were elected by universal suffrage and its government had to be approved by parliament.
          The test I have long preferred is whether the people can by routine constitutional means change the policies and personnel of their government. ie without threats, violence or extraordinary means, such as secession (or creating 1,000 peers).
          The EEC/EU have done much good in helping previously autocratic countries such as Spain and Poland to entrench more democratic ways but for UK citizens there has been a loss of democracy.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted October 21, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

          You keep getting me into trouble with my old woman. Every time I read one of your posts, I swear!

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted October 22, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

            You should be used to it by now, and shrug it off as just more impudence on the part of a eurofanatic Dutchman who won’t realise that his interventions are often counter-productive for his cause.

    • alan jutson
      Posted October 21, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Peter

      Regretfully sometimes, force is the only option left, the alternative is to surrender without a fight, as many have done in the past.

      When one side refuses to talk or negotiate in any way, and still threatens your existance, and you have your back to the wall.
      You either get on your knees and pray, or fight back.

      We have a history, and its in the DNA of our people, it is slowly being eroded as we become more multicultural (how I loath that word) but just occassionally our DNA takes over.

      History has shown that it is wise never to underestimate our ability to stand and fight for what we belive is right.

      In times of real trouble, we always seem to have produced a leader who has that DNA.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        @alan jutson: The problem to face is that most often, both sides may have armies, perceiving to fight for “what they believe is right”. Norther Ireland is a fine example that armies as such will not produce peace and that it is a hard and painful process. etc ed

        • alan jutson
          Posted October 21, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          Peter

          “Both sides may have armies”

          Absolutely correct, that is why sometimes you have to fight your corner, even if it is to get to a position to force talks from the other side.

          Sad fact is today the so called leaders, unlike those of yesteryear, do not go into battle themselves, but they seem very willing to send in others to do the dirty work, and war is very dirty indeed.

          Unfortunately Politicians and Religions have been the cause of so many conflicts.

        • outsider
          Posted October 21, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

          Dear Peter Van L, We all have our own perspectives here. Yours may be conditioned by the 30 years war or religion and your own protracted war for independence. The English have a folk-memory of being a big power.

          When Napoleon conquered Western Europe and sought to carry his French dictatorship to Moscow, the few remaining big powers needed to submit or fight for their own and everyone else’s freedom. That is why Nelson and Harvey were great heroes and the Battle of Trafalgar a great victory, even ultimately for French people.
          By contrast, Friday will be the 598th anniversary of the great English victory at Agincourt, immortalised by Shakespeare and hence used to bolster patriotic resolve in World War 2. But England’s Henry 5 was in the wrong, so that while we praise the heroics of the battle, the war itself is not a source of pride for us.

          Incidentally, I do not think you are right about Northern Ireland. The eventual settlement was patiently negotiated and agreed by the UK and Irish governments and the two main Northern Ireland parties back in 1973 but could only be achieved after the extremists had murdered each other to a standstill over 25 years, with the IRA terrorising English cities, assassinating ministers and trying to blow up the British Prime Minister along the way.

          By the same token, Belgium could not have achieved its independence from the Netherlands (however regrettable that may be) without a violent revolution. Even the post facto London settlement was not accepted by the House of Orange for a further 8 years.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 22, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

            @outsider: your observations about N. Ireland, which I agree with, are interesting: It took indeed a lot of suffering before another another approach became possible. I would just argue that peace is still to be achieved in N. Ireland and although underway, it will be a lengthy process. I would like to add that I see the emergence of the EU(EEC, ECSC) as a similar development after the suffering during WWI and WWII.

    • peter davies
      Posted October 21, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      I’m not defending war – no one likes it but how many periods in history can you recall where there has been no war or insurgency?

      Taking your precious EU in point, how do you think this is going to end when there are now huge swathes of people in the peripheral parts of the Euro zone without jobs and really suffering (in part due to their own economic mismanagement) and the EU fiscal policies inflicted on them?

      This is not going to end well – we are already seeing the emergence of extreme populist parties

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 21, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        @peter davies: I’m just about finishing a book about EU history (“Reis naar het continent” – in Dutch – sorry, something for Nick Clegg? 🙂 ) and it convinces me that we have gone through various upheavals since WWII as far as Europe is concerned. I’d be the last to suggest that all this is deserves any beauty-contest prize (I’d hoped for more pan-European solidarity) but I actually don’t expect that the EU will not endure. E.g. if more populist anti-EU power will emerge in the European Parliament after May 2014, it is just democracy at work, and the institutions will have to reflect that. We have already once gone through an avalanche of populist power in the Netherlands in 2010, but by 2012 it had lost much of its attraction, even though it is gaining popularity once again as the Netherlands is going through a very rough period due to huge private debt.

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted October 21, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

          Peter,
          I expect you have been wearing your rose coloured glasses whilst writing your book. Is it a work of fact or fiction? I tried earlier to post a link to a video which would have informed you of the numerous betrayals of the British people over the last 50 years in relation to what is now called the EU. Unfortunately, our host won’t post it – too many uncomfortable reminders of political mendacity and duplicity by the ruling parties. I don’t suppose you would include the details either as you dream on about your EU Nirvana.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 22, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

            @Brian Tomkinson: Sorry for unintended ambiguity – I was finishing reading a book, not writing one.

    • peter davies
      Posted October 21, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      The NATO deterrent kept peace in Europe for 50 years thus preventing you becoming communist until you decided to introduce your own supra national version

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        @peter davies: Supranational European institutions did never project communism, rather the opposite of that. NATO may have prevented war with the USSR but that is that has nothing to do with the long process of building peace in and between EU nations themselves.

    • David Price
      Posted October 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      The event was 208 years ago but I will raise a glass to Nelson and the lads who put themselves between this country and agressors. It is that willingness to protect and the principle of standing against such aggression, a principle this country has demonstrated many times, that I will celebrate.

      You seem to ignore the consequences of leaving aggressors unchallenged, which in the past has meant havoc, destruction and the deaths of too many good people.

      In any case why does this solely British celebration bother you so much, or is it that you have to find something, anything to criticise in those who would refuse to accept your world view and your belief that it should be imposed on those unwilling to bend the neck?

      BTW, how’s the “relate” process going with the dictator of Belarus? Has the EU giving him all that money resolved any of the human rights issues yet?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 22, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        @David Price: No offence meant but I didn’t really notice any “celebration”. Anyway, you may always ignore any comment I make.

        • David Price
          Posted October 22, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

          Of course you mean offence, why else would you even comment on this blog entry.

          If you really meant what you said about peace you would not have been so selective in your examples – instead of choosing Northern Ireland you might instead have referred to the…. execution of Indonesians by the Dutch during 1945-49 trying to uphold colonial rule (many such deaths have been claimed).

          Wasn’t there even some sort of apology by your government last month to Indonesian widows in absentia?

          Perhaps in your nuanced world the Netherlands weren’t a colonial power and didn’t commit their share of attrocities, perhaps that episode slipped your mind. Or perhaps such inconvenient reminders undermine your facade of moral superiority while you are preaching to us non-believers.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 23, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

            @David Price: I’m not disputing any of your comments about the Netherlands. I was making a point about the nature of peace, a long and often difficult process of learning to relate without miltary means, something that is still going on in Europe. Glorifying war heroism is something completely different.

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted October 23, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Agreed, Johnny, but – oneself be not one the ‘noises off’ calling for a Trafalgar Day Bank Holiday – you ?
      Alas, ever since ‘Admiral’ Heath ran our ‘ship of state’ aground in the early seventies – all Admiral Nelsons hard work has been undone !

  7. JoolsB
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Nelson would be turning in his grave if he could see how England is being treated by the British Government.

    ‘England expects’ How about England expects to be treated equally and fairly in this (Un)United Kingdom? How about England expects it’s young, it’s sick and it’s elderly to be given a level playing field where their young pay the same tuition fees as the rest of this ‘Union’, where their sick pay no prescription charges and where their elderly aren’t stripped of every asset they have spent their whole lives working for should they need care.

    How about England expects their own assembly where someone, just someone might start standing up for them, unlike now, and demand an end to the discriminatory manner in which they are treated.

    England expects John. England is waiting!

  8. Old Albion
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    And now our borders are simply left open to all………………………………

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    JR: “May we use wisely the freedoms they helped us secure.”
    That would be the few freedoms we have left after politicians surrendered many of them to an unelected foreign organisation without our expressed consent. etc ed

  10. peter davies
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Admiral Nelson was so revered by the 600 or so Welsh sailors that took part in that battle that they built a statue of him on the Menai Straits near the crossing to Anglesey which is still there watching over today.

    Whatever anyone thinks about wars, this one had a huge decisive effect on the way Europe was shaped going forward.

  11. Alte Fritz
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I do not want to dissent from any of this but let’s remember that, for example, a quarter of Nelson’s crews were Irish, mostly Catholic, for whom the Protestant reformation (earlier post) was unwelcome to say the least. We British are a funny lot.

  12. Magnolia
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I have stood where Lord Nelson fell on the deck of the Victory and I have stood in front of his tomb in the crypt of St Pauls.
    Both places are sacred to me.
    I was brought up to love the sea by a parent whose father had spent years away in the navy during the second world war.
    The homecoming involved lessons in sea swimming, wreck exploring, fishing and beach combing, lessons that were passed on to grandchildren alike.
    The hated May day bank holiday should be replaced with a Trafalgar day bank holiday, not only to spread them over the year more evenly, but because it more accurately reflects our British culture.

  13. ian wragg
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Since being in the Royal Navy in the 60’s I have visited Gibraltar frequently. I always spend half an hour in the Trafalgar Cemetery there. A most wonderful place.

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Before looking at the comments I guessed that Peter van Leeuwen would want to pour cold water on this; but he’s forgotten to include the word “nostalgia”.

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    “Victory at Trafalgar over the combined French and Spanish fleets in 1805 was decisive. It meant Napoleon could not complete his conquest of Europe. England by her exertions had once again ensured the ultimate freedom of many nations and peoples on the continent, as well as protecting her own. Shorn of control of the coasts, and unable to invade England to stop her independent support for the conquered countries on the continent, Napoleon fought on, only to face ultimate defeat. England, then as later, stood for liberty and the self determination of nations.”

    But not now, with a government which is actively urging the eurozone states to submit to federalisation, while knowing full well that apart from the UK and Denmark every EU member state is under a legal obligation to join the euro, and the same obligation is automatically imposed on all new EU member states, and once it has joined the euro no country can ever leave it without being cast out of the EU as a whole.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted October 21, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      @Denis Cooper: While some people alive today may still remember imperial times, that doesn’t count for 1805, hence no nostalgia suggestion this time. In principle, it is still possible that some countries apart from the UK will never join the euro (which hasn’t done much favor to its standing as a preferred currency recently) and, as the Dutch government promotes, countries should get the possibility to leave the euro. So please don’t be too pessimistic with regard to your beliefs. There is nothing static about the EU. Which gives me hope as well, as I would like the UK to be seduced to become an active EU member at its center rather than a country on its way out.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        1805 is not that long ago in a folk memory; and indeed it would just about be possible for somebody alive today to remember having been told by his aged grandfather that when the latter was a boy like him he had once met an old man who had fought at Trafalgar … for some extraordinary reason many of the French still revere Napoleon, and do you think the Germans have forgotten that Blucher arrived in the nick of time at Waterloo? As much as it might try, and as much as you might like it to happen, the EU has not yet managed to wipe out all the older historical memory in the countries it has absorbed.

        “In principle, it is still possible that some countries apart from the UK will never join the euro …”

        In principle, only Denmark; in practice, Sweden might continue to default on its treaty obligation to join the euro for so long that eventually either the euro fell apart or they were formally relieved of that obligation, and maybe some large countries like Poland might also be able to do the same, but the smaller member states would find it more difficult to resist the pressure. Bear in mind that the Empress Angela has openly stated her goal that all EU member states should eventually join the euro, and incidentally making no exception for either the UK or Denmark.

        “… as the Dutch government promotes, countries should get the possibility to leave the euro”.

        You must mean, “as the Dutch government promoted”, past tense, before the Empress lent on Rutte and he recanted, instead adopting her line that while there should be some decentralising changes in the EU they should not involve treaty changes. Of course she is not entirely ruling out treaty changes, but they should be to centralise more power not the reverse.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted October 22, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

          @Denis Cooper: As I stated, there is nothing static about the EU. Openeurope reports today that they expect treaty change after all. Incidently, Mr Rutte’s party manifesto for the 2014 EP elections includes a line which, after translation, reads: “States that do not meet these conditions may not ultimately remain part of the eurozone.” Be patient, “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings” 🙂

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted October 22, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

            “Openeurope reports today that they expect treaty change after all.”

            Didn’t you read what I said?

            “Of course she is not entirely ruling out treaty changes, but they should be to centralise more power not the reverse.”

            And don’t you remember this from Open Europe in June?

            http://www.openeuropeblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/dutch-government-time-of-ever-closer.html

            “… the Dutch have explicitly said they don’t want EU treaty change … ”

            Surely you must have read that, as you commented on the article.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted October 22, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

            Oh, and by the way: don’t waste your time trying to persuade me to “be patient”, because my patience with your kind was completely exhausted over twenty years ago.

  16. John Wrake
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    Good to see a reminder of the part played by the Royal Navy in achieving freedom for the nations of Europe from Bonaparte’s dictatorship.

    Peter van Leeuwen: I am a patriot and I rejoice in the patriotism of men like Simon Dogger,
    a Dutch Naval Officer and his crew, fighting with the British Navy during WW2, who all lost their lives fighting another dictator’s forces in order to regain their nation’s freedom from oppression.

    I don’t share your view of peace. It was men like Simon Dogger who won you the freedom to make your comment on this blog in safety. He knew what freedom cost. you seem to want it on the cheap.

    John Wrake.

    • peter davies
      Posted October 21, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      @John Wrake

      Well said – couldn’t have put it better myself

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted October 21, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      @John Wrake: Your Simon Dogger was one of the many good people who got slaughtered in WWII and which I wrote about in my post. It is o.k. with me not to share one another’s view but I’d say that “freedom” doesn’t equal “peace”. Freedom may well be squandered and lead to a new war. Don’t you think that people and politicians perceived themselves to be free after WWI? Then how came WWII if freedom equaled peace?

      The simple fact that politicians in mainly France and Germany after WWII decided to try a different way of (supranational) cooperation, strongly supported by The USA (Secretary of State Dean Acheson, September 1949: ‘We must insist that the UK not interfere with developments on the continent nor impede any other country’s joining a continental union or unions.’), that, was the start of long process of peace building, still going on today.

      • backofanenvelope
        Posted October 22, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        The “simple fact” is that we have had peace in Europe since 1945 because of NATO. It is also a “simple fact” that the French under de Gaulle nearly brought down the whole alliance.

        Why was NATO successful? Because it was an alliance not a union. Any country could leave, as the French did. Of course, they left, secure in the knowledge that the rest of NATO would come to their aid if necessary. I think that the UK would be happy to be in a European alliance.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted October 22, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          @backofanenvelope: NATO was created to defend against an outside threat, not to protect France from Spain or Spain from Italy. I don’t think I will get through to you so I’ll end it here.

  17. Gareth
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    It’d be great to see Mr Redwood summon up some equally patriotic sentiment next year when we begin to commemorate the enormous sacrifice of this country (and others) to prevent another despot from gaining hegemony in Europe in 1914-18.

  18. Jonathan Thackray
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Well written. However, why all the references to the English? It was a British battle, and the first monument to be erected in Britain to commemorate Nelson was on Glasgow Green in 1806. Indeed, Nelson’s Column was designed by David Hamilton, a Scottish architect. My (Scottish) wife keeps reminding me that so many people assume England equals Britain, when it is not! (A fact even Nelson got wrong when he signalled “England expects that every man will do his duty”)

  19. Tad Davison
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    ‘So what was it about that encounter that made it possible? It is true England had a charismatic Admiral who instilled confidence in his captains and men just as he struck doubt and fear into the minds of his enemies. His strategy was bold, and gave the English the advantage.’

    Heath, Wilson, Callaghan, Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown, and Cameron. Pick the one who comes closest to that description over the past 43 years. (I’ll give you a clue, the words ‘his’ and ‘he’ do not apply).

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  20. Neil craig
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    The British fleet had a few, minor by modern standards, technological edges, primarily the loading and firing. It is an example of how, in war, numbers are less important than technological quality. A lesson our governments could relearn in preference to having an army designed to keep squaddies on the Khyber.

  21. lojolondon
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    If you hoped to be reminded of this great day, best not have a look at the BBC – not a mention of it on the website, I doubt there was mention on the radio or TV either.

    This is because the BBC wants us to be part of Europe, so hides or minimises any item that could be construed as ‘divisive’, like St George’s day, D-Day etc.

  22. Russell Hicks
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    It makes me SICK when a Conservative MP writes about bravery, sacrifice and blood spilled to keep one’s country free, when drawing a salary as part of the lying, cheating, devious Tory organisation COMMITTED to keeping us in the undemocratic, corrupt and fraudulent European Union, which is doing more to erase Great Britain as a nation than any invading army has done.

    Redwood, you and your ilk are spineless traitors. You’re also incompetent. You haven’t won a General Election for 21 years and you certainly won’t win the next. Whilst you’ve sat on your comfortable backside, pontificating about how clever you are, you have done NOTHING useful to help your country.

  23. Ray Warman
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the piece on Trafalgar day. I have put part of it on my facebook to spread the story. Why do you suppose the Mail and the Telegraph have made no mention of it?
    I fully understand the BBC making no mention of it because of their hatred for England, but assumed that the Nationals would, at least mention it.

  24. Chris S
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    As a seafaring man ( you know, one of those men that actually does go down to the sea in ships ) I have a particular admiration for the history and achievements of the Royal Navy and to this day I regret not joining as a young man. I’ve studied Nelson’s career and the Battle of the Nile as well as Trafalgar and I’ve been to see the coast off which the battle was fought.

    As others have said, Britain today is a shadow of its former self. Not because of a lack of treasure or territory but because of a complete lack of leadership at the top. That includes the world of politics.

    Those like me, entering their 60s, were brought up on the stories of the country’s military past and without experiencing it personally, can easily recognise bravery, heroism and most of all leadership when they see it.

    Today we are led by politicians who have no concept of any of these things because almost to a man they have never been in the military.

    When I hear men like Bob Stewart or Tim Collins speaking, both of whom I have seen badly treated after distinguished service, it is so obvious that as leaders they would be head and shoulders above the David Camerons of this world.

    I won’t even give Miliband a mention in the same paragraph as Cameron.
    And, as for Clegg, what part of the term Collective Responsibility doesn’t he understand ?

    The fact that our only true post war leader was a woman says a lot. Yet even Margaret Thatcher would fail to make it to the top today.

    Why not ?

    Because she would not be Politically Correct enough.

  25. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Of much greater interest and significance to the people of Wales is October 21st 1966 and not 1805.

    It was on that day in 1966 that the Aberfan disaster occurred killing 116 children and 28 adults because of the proven “extreme negligence of the National Coal Board.”!

    • Chris S
      Posted October 21, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      How typically parochial ! Let’s have some sense of perspective here :

      Tragic it certainly was, but the Aberfan landslip is but a minor incident in history compared with the Battle of Trafalgar, and many other historical events.

      Compare Aberfan with the loss if life in the sinking of HMS Hood ( 1425 young men lost in a few seconds in 1941 ) and the 1940 sinking of the troopship Lancastria, which claimed the lives of at least four thousand men. There would almost certainly have been more Welsh lives lost on the Lancastria than at Aberfan.

      Aberfan isn’t even the worst Mining disaster in Welsh History. : On 14th October we had the 100th anniversary of The Senghenydd Colliery Disaster, also in Wales in which 439 miners were lost, almost all from the one town.

      Perspective !

      PS Those that range against “dangerous” Nuclear power should compare it to the estimated 90,000 deaths attributed to coal mining over the years.

      • Glenn Vaughan
        Posted October 22, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

        Impossible to determine whether or not your remarks are obtuse or stupid.

        The reference was specifically about the anniversary of October 21st and not about the history of mining disasters. “Stupid” seems the more probable of the two options!

  26. Barbara
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Anyone wanting a really readable account of all this, with fascinating extracts from the primary sources re ordinary sailors as well as leaders, could do worse than seek out ‘The war for all the oceans: from Nelson at the Nile to Napoleon at Waterloo’ by Roy and Lesley Adkins.

    I bought it in Portsmouth, having gone on board the Victory … and can confirm the comment above, about Nelson’s diminutive size! In fact, having hit my head four times on various of the ship’s door lintels (despite being warned), I think they all must have been!

  27. Tom Wiliam
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    It is interesting, and I draw no conclusions, that the French regard Napoleon as a national hero, despite the immense suffering he caused. If you visit the battlefield of Waterloo the souvenir shop is full of Napoleon memorabilia but not a single bust of Wellington.

    • Chris S
      Posted October 23, 2013 at 12:17 am | Permalink

      Is anybody surprised at this ?

      It’s France, so No !

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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