Wednesday, 15 June 2016

The Freedome of England by God’ Blessing Restored

On the Mayoral Blog I has writing about the visit of Formby U3A to Bootle Town Hall. Among the items of interest were the maces and admiralty oar that are carried in front of the Mayor at Council meeting and on other civic occasions

The maces we were looking at were from the former Bootle Council and Crosby and Waterloo Council. They were heavily decorated with royal emblems. My mind went back to an occasion a couple of decades ago when I was a member of Congleton Borough Council and I was being shown the town's treasurers by a local historian. The prize possession was a mace, but this one started life as a republican mace and was, allegedly, the model for the one made for the House of Commons. You will recall that Charles1 lost his head in 1649 and The Commonwealth was declared. The Congleton mace dates from that time.
As the Town Council website explains:

Town Mace
Silver gilt, made in 1651, the mace has an intriguing historical connection with the execution of King Charles 1. It is reputed to have been used as a model for the House of Commons mace and is still carried in front of the Mayor on ceremonial occasions by the Mace Bearer. An inscription around the head of the mace, originally said: “The Freedome of England by God’ Blessing Restored.” But, in 1660 King Charles II regained the throne and the inscription was considered subversive. The town accounts of 1661 refer to a sum of £3 being “payd to ye goldsmyth for altering ye Mace.” The date was changed, somewhat clumsily, from 1651 to 1661 and the phrase “to C.R” (Charles Rex) added to the inscription. These alterations can be clearly seen today.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Good politics like good religion should seek to break down barriers not build new ones and encourage us to do more than focus on purely national interests.

My Chaplain during my year as Mayor is Canon Dr, Rod Garner . His most recent column in the Southport Visiter explains why he will being voting to remain in the European Union. It reminds me of something Russell Johnson might have said...


It’s 25 years since Dr. Helen Sharman became the first British female astronaut to go into space. In a recent radio interview she was asked if the original journey felt a long time ago. Without hesitation she replied that it was all still wonderfully fresh and real. The enthusiasm in her voice left me in doubt that this was so. In particular she recalled how from space, geographical boundaries quickly melt away. As she gazed upon our blue and fragile planet, her attention was initially and quite understandably directed to our own country. Fairly quickly however, she became absorbed by the continents and then to the Earth itself, bounded only by unending darkness. Countries and states, walls and boundaries, historical separations caused by wars or geological shifts over aeons of time, seemed to dissolve before her eyes. Now there was just the Earth in its splendour and teeming life in all its forms.
I’ve been thinking about the interview and how it has some bearing on how I will vote on Thursday 23 rd June. That’s the day of course when the UK decides if it will remain in leave the European Union (EU). By then we can expect more contradictory facts, opinions and arguments ranging from the plausible to the ludicrous or even offensive. I’m still listening to most of them and it’s not easy separating truth from fiction. My mind is made up however. For me, this important decision does not rest solely on the key economic and political issues that are shaping the current debate. I do want the best outcomes for Britain’s future in terms of jobs, travel, national security and manageable control of our borders but there is something else that compels me. It has do with my sense of European history and the way our shared cultural values have been shaped so profoundly by Greek philosophy, Roman law and the religious traditions of Judaism and Christianity. Put simply, who I am, where I belong, the people and places, values and ideas that have influenced me, extend far beyond these shores. I am proud to be British and can sing ‘Jerusalem’ with a voice worthy of the Last Night of the Proms. I think our inherited values are worth defending and only wish they were more evident in blighted parts of our world. We also invented football and produced George Best. Those last two facts alone should give us pride of place at any international table!
With all this acknowledged however, I still feel a citizen of a larger European world separated only by a meagre strip of the English Channel. We are an island race with our own proud traditions but we are also indebted to wider and no less gracious influences beyond the UK. Difference is life-enhancing and enables us to grow and learn. Good politics like good religion should seek to break down barriers not build new ones and encourage us to do more than focus on purely national interests. Viewed from space, which is another way of looking at the world with the mind of the Creator, we all appear the same with the creative gifts and shared humanity that can enrich our common life in an increasingly precarious world. When the big day comes on 23rd June I’m voting ‘in’ partly because of the question of who I think I am and, furthermore, where we fit as a nation in the bigger scheme of things. It’s a matter of personal and shared identity as well as beneficial trading arrangements and secure borders. You might want to ask yourself the same question if you are still undecided.
Canon Dr, Rod Garner

Saturday, 4 June 2016

At last a Labour person finally making a progressive case for Europe, what took so long?

Watch this excellent video by Gordon Brown. At last someone, other than Tim, making the internationalist case for Europe. At last someone else talking about peace and human writes and not obsessing about a Tory leadership challenge.