Britain Leads The Way

Many people wonder at the role of Britain in this fast changing world. I have my own ideas as to the reasons behind the significance of these blessed isles as they have been known since Atlantean times, but let us consider the history of the last 5 centuries or so.

Actually we can go further back to the Crusades when Britain, under the leadership of King Richard the Lion Heart, lead the battle for the supremacy of Christendom, spending much of his reign outside England and leaving the country in the tenure of his somewhat wayward brother. John caused such discord among the noble families of the nation that they forced him to agree to the Magna Carta, which began the slow decline of the monarchy from that of a Divine Right to rule on a whim to a more liberal approach by most of the subsequent monarchs.

Some claim that the British Parliament is the oldest in the world, but this claim is disputed by Icelandic historians who demonstrate that their own government has been meeting since 930 AD, a century and some decades before England became united under the rulership of the invading Norman conquest lead by William the conqueror, great-great grandfather to Richard the Lion Heart.

The Celtic Church which was predominant in Ireland is misnamed as Celtic, as are its artefacts. It was the original Christian colonisation of these islands and was largely Pictish, until the invading Gaels from northern France took possession of Ireland through violent warfare. For a fuller discussion on the role of the Picts see Farley Mowat ‘The Alban Quest’ also published as ‘The Far-farers’. It makes fascinating reading.

However the remnants of that church in Britain are known under the name Chaldees, though a search on google today, 3rd Jan 2022, does not acknowledge this usage but instead points to the ‘Catholic Church of the east’ of which the best history I have found is here. ( I would suggest that the term Chaldees refers to the people who inherited the Church as their place of origin, and not the Church established in that region shortly after the crucifixion, but may be quite mistaken in that belief. The more liberal minded reader might choose to read ‘Jesus Died in Kashmir’ by A. Faber-Kaiser. There is so much the Roman church appropriated in its attempts to eradicate heresy and its desire for orthodoxy. But this is far from Britain the pace maker.

Nonetheless the role of the Irish people in the moving forward of many issues in the modern world cannot be underestimated. The ‘Celtic revival’ lead not only to independent movements among the Gaels and Celts in Spain and France, but also highlighted the role of minority cultures in the world.

When Henry VIII made his stand against Rome in 1534, for his own purposes no doubt, he was taking back the Divine Right of Kings. Now he stood, as the King of England, at the head of the Church of England with absolute authority which previously had been held in Rome by the Pope as pontiff of Europe, with all Kings of (Western) Europe paying allegiance to Rome. This unchallenged domination of the spiritual life of Europe ended when Martin Luther nailed his 95 doctrinal points to the church door in Wittenburg and began the Protestant Reformation of Christianity in 1517. There followed centuries of bloody wars between Catholic and Protestant factions in Britain leading to the burning of heretics and the infamous witch trials that spread to America. This is little more than an extension of the medieval fighting between the Gales (and English) with the Picts who remained a kingdom in Scotland until the 14th century. For a good read on the Reformation Frances Yates ‘The Rosicrucian Enlightenment’ shares some interesting insights. Truly a tale of intrigue.

During this same period of some 200 years discoveries were being laid for the industrial revolution. Britain established its global empire defeating its earlier rivals in Portugal and Holland to take the dominant trade, in both humans, textiles and other goods and spices. The Capitalist revolution was underway.

The role of Britain in the Industrial Revolution does not need to be expanded upon here, from the invention of the plough share and the spinning jenny on through to the invention of the steam engine Britain was at the forefront of introducing new ideas and techniques to the world.

It seems fitting then that Britain should today be at the forefront of restoring the damage caused by these inventions. The devastation of the natural environment through these methods only became so marked with the domination of the global (plantation) economy and the increase of population due to the success of modern medicine. Also pioneered in Britain.

Today as the emphasis grows on the significance of money as the only value system of note, the role of government becomes increasingly similar to the lobbying legislation of the United States. There are some who argue that it is America which will lead the world into a New Age. But this is a stance held mostly by Americans. If it is the case then one must say it seems to be due to the failings of that society to provide a just administration for its people. Sadly this appears to be the case with the current administration in Britain also. It is in the light of this shameful hypocrisy that the nations comprising the United Kingdom since the reign of James VI of Scotland and I of England, seek independence from Westminster. It should be noted that many of the counties and shires of England also seek independence from Westminster, which appears to be little more than an old boys club of ex-Etonians for the benefit of ex-Etonians in industry and commerce.

But this is not to make a tirade against the current government which has its own difficulties to survive. Rather to look at the role Britain is taking in once more leading the world out of the poverty of the past to the abundance of the future. The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, 28 years before the American Civil War, abolished slavery not only in Britain but also in most of the colonies. This Act was the outcome of British abolitionists working from as early as 1770s which lead to the Act of Limit Slavery in Canada in 1793. 68 years before American society became so divided as to go to war over the slavery issue. This is not to suggest that many injustices remained undealt with even to the present day.

No country has made a better transition to the independence of its colonies than Britain, though even this has not been without bloodshed, particularly after the Second World War. By the creation of the British Commonwealth, later called The Commonwealth, independence and authority was encouraged among the many varied nations which had formed part of the British Empire – on which truly the Sun Never Set. Modern calls for further independence and the creation of republics can be seen as a further step towards autonomy, as well as a powerful political vehicle for enemies of the state to destroy the power base that the Commonwealth still represents in the world.

The range of nationalities in Britain represent these many nations from around the world. With the establishment of the National Health Service following the Second World War, people from all over the Commonwealth inspired by the vision of this new universal service came to add their weight and energy to the project. Many nations now mingle with their distinct cultures and religions in this truly international community.

In the light of this understanding Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, has declared in the past that he would feel more comfortable declaring himself as Defender of Faiths, rather than the Defender of the Faith, which stands as part of the role of the monarch. While no doubt having a rich and deep spiritual heritage of his own the Prince, correctly declaring the right of each person to hold their own Faith and find peace with themselves and God in their own way, is not speaking as the head of a Church which has expressions all around the world. This is important to understand. In the light of esoteric understanding the Christ, whose representative Jesus was so long ago, is the intermediary between humanity and the One. This is not to put another priest between man and God but rather to say that in the stepping down of the pure inspiration of the Divine The Christ stands as a focus for humanity of that energy. In this way it is not a personality that one is approaching but an alignment. That alignment is as true for the Hindu as for the Jew, the Moslem or the Christian, the Buddhist or the Shaman. Each approaches according to his or her own cultural and spiritual background which serves as the framework for their thinking. But as many straight lines may pass through a single centre, so too the paths to God are many and varied and even within single Faiths individuals may differ in their understanding and their approach.

However to be the Defender of the Faith means that the Monarch stands at the head of the Anglican Church, a Church which includes the Churches of Wales, Scotland, Canada and so on around the world. This is a very different position from defending the rights of others to hold to their own faith, even though this may be an interpretation of those same words. This is important if that role of the Monarch is to continue into future generations, and should be seen as defending the rights of individuals to worship in a Christian way independently from the See of Rome, rather than a declaration that this is the only Faith one can hold. Even though some individuals in Britain may choose to follow the Catholic tradition.

Modern inventions including the supersonic airline Concorde was developed in Britain, as was the hovercraft.

When we turn our attention to more immediate and pressing matters we find that Prince William has launched a project which will have far reaching consequences in terms of the industries that are able to develop as a result of the Earth Shot prize. In addition to this it stands as a precedent for others to follow. Soon we will see wealthy benefactors around the world offering prizes of a similar nature to develop enterprises which will serve the planet beyond the immediate desire of shareholders.

There is no question that Britain is once more leading the way into the future, despite what claims for futuristic visions may be claimed by exaggerated exercises such as the Earth link – formerly known as the Star Wars – project, and the dissemination of underwater networks with little heed paid to the effects on marine life.

The imposition of one world view over others is not any guarantee of the survival of such a perspective. Indeed it is a dangerous one, guaranteeing the collapse of the force seeking to impose its view on the rest of the world. We only need to reflect upon history to realise that any empire demanding allegiance has lasted for a very limited amount of time in the scope of human endeavour. The proclaimed 1000 years of the Third Reich collapsed after only 6 or at best 13 years.

This is not to suggest that ‘all is right with Britain’ far from it, greediness is still a motivation for many people lost in the trammels of daily life. Many find themselves facing, particularly crippling in the case of those millions recently made out of work, increased fuel charges, rising heating costs and similar increases in food prices. While this will be palmed off on the public as the result of world increases in fuel costs the devastating effect of leaving the European Union has yet to be measured. One cannot help but see the hands of international power brokers seeking to destroy anything they consider to be a threat to their own economic stability, both in the destruction of the United Kingdom as well as that of the European Union.

The Earth Shot Prize is only the latest in the environmental campaigns that have originated in Britain. The Transition Town movement began here in the 2006 and has grown to an international movement with important branches in Japan and Brazil as well as elsewhere. Local Economic Trading System, or LETS, was pioneered in Britain also, as a means of valuing individuals’ time independently of the financial system of the country. Not to suggest that the movement began in Britain but was quickly adopted here, though it remains a minor impulse at present.

The BBC stands as a by-word for integrity in reporting despite being somewhat shaken by scandal in recent years. The tone of the BBC changed markedly under the guidance of John Birt following his return from New York. It became more sensationalist, scandal mongering and gossipy. It was during Birt’s tenure as Director General that Martin Bashir interviewed Princess Diana to dire effect on her marriage with the Prince of Wales. Despite a reputedly botched internal enquiry into the corruption involved in finagling an interview with the Princess, Bashir was hired again later as Religious Editor for the Corporation.

Putting that failure aside, the Natural History broadcasts by Sir David Attenborough will remain legendary throughout the history of broadcasting, besides the stunning photography in all realms of life on the planet, the warm and understanding commentaries written by Sir David himself in many instances have opened the door to the reconciliation between humanity and the natural world that has been the hallmark of these transformational years. Similarly the travel programs pioneered by Michael Palin represent a new approach to such documentaries.

These are only a few of the ways which stand out of the pioneering work the United Kingdom is engaged upon and demonstrate her role as a leader in the world of progress and human understanding. Often, it has to be said, despite the governments that come and go.