This was a statement heard on Radio 4 this morning from someone in favour of Britain leaving the European Union. It is depressing indeed that such ill-informed stupidity is broadcast at breakfast time in the context of the upcoming referendum. Is this person aware of the blood shed and countless lives lost in order to provide him with democracy and universal suffrage? And he is going to use this wonderful gift in one of the most important votes he is ever likely to participate in, and make his decision based on the fact that Britain happened to belong to the victorious coalitions in the two world wars. Stand on our own two feet? I don’t think so.
George Orwell rightly praised patriotism, love of, and pride in, one’s country. Of course we should never forget Agincourt, Trafalgar, Waterloo and the Battle of Britain (but let us not forget also the Battle of Hastings and the retreat from Dunkirk). But the sun has well and truly set on the British Empire. We are a small island nation and we need our friends. And, I suspect, they need us. What we do not need, is idiots like the one quoted above having his infantile nonsense broadcast on prime-time radio.
I have commented elsewhere in this blog of my time at Gunnersbury Grammar School, one of the few benefits of which was the establishment of a comradeship that seems to have stood the test of time. On Wednesday of this week, I enjoyed an extended lunch with five of my old classmates from the school. Tony Anderson and Ken Howe were in form 1A with me, Roger Jones, Tony McCann and Bob Reeves were in form 1; we all joined the school in the autumn of 1956. It was agreed that we should try and get in touch with other members of that fateful year group with a view to organizing a grand reunion.
So, this is a call to all members of the Class of ’61 (forms 1 and 1A, joining in 1956) of Gunnersbury Catholic Grammar School, to get in touch with me at peter.maggs at mirlibooks.com Alternatively, you can respond with a ‘comment’ to this blog.
The register of form 1A is almost hard wired in my head I heard it so often, so in case there is any confusion here is the list as I remember it with some Christian names:
Tony Anderson, Michael Axe, Batters, Tim Bolton, Bradley, Bray, John Brian, Burton, Peter Corey, Chris Dargie, Evans, FitzGerald, FitzSimmonds, Patrick Harvey, Heaney, Martin Hewstone, Dunstan Holden, Ken Howe, Barrie Jones, Kane, Kemp, Kine, Peter Maggs, Frank McCourt, Diarmuid Moloney, John Moriarty, Peter Morris, Gerald Olley, Michael Paul, Sharples, Turner and Bernard Wheaton.
Some of the spelling might not be correct, and for that I apologize. Any of you who remember me might also remember that spelling was never my strong suit. Please do get in touch. Sufficient water has ‘flowed under the bridge’ in the last 55 years that any remaining animosities or prejudices should have been assuaged.
Added on 28 May... Here is the approximate class list for form 1, 1956, around 95% correct:
Peter Arlford, Andrews, Barber, Beesley, Byers, Dick Daniels, Gummer, Iles, Kennedy, Kilbride, McGeoghan, McGregor, McHale, Jan Mendela, Miezkowski, John Mitchell, Murphy, O'Rourke, O'Sullivan, Bob Reeves, Tony Swaisland, Thorton, Bridges, Carter, Clive Casey, Day, Roger Jones, Martin, Tony McCann, Murphy, Mick O'Donnell, O'Higgins, Quinn, Tiley, White, Stringer, Zac.
Updated 4 Feb 2017
Updated 20 March 2021
On Friday, in the Ashmolean, I gazed at a Mesopotamian clay tablet dating to between 1900 and 1600 BC. It containins in Cuneiform writing part of the Epic of Gilgamesh. The Gilgamesh legend dates to before 3000 BC, and includes its own flood myth with some remarkable parallels with the story in the Old Testament. The tablet I was looking at predates the time that the Old Testament was first written down by more than 1,000 years.
I have discovered a gem. Recently, we went to Holland, ostensibly to go to the Hieronymus Bosch exhibition in Bosch, but also to ‘do’ the various other arty museums in that country. My wife is studying art history, and she organized the itinerary. In the event, we could not get into the Bosch exhibition because it was practically fully subscribed, but we went to Holland anyway. Both of us love the country; probably the most civilized in Europe. It is clean and organized, the people are friendly and helpful, and absolutely everyone speaks English.
Welcome to the Mirli Books blog written by Peter Maggs