November brings fireworks and the Armistice memorial

As November brings late autumn, we will pass through fireworks to the memorial of the Armistice that ended the four years of Great War.

Sir Peter Bottomley signing the House of Commons Book of Remembrance SUS-181031-111350003
Sir Peter Bottomley signing the House of Commons Book of Remembrance SUS-181031-111350003

The gunpowder plot was intended for the State Opening of Parliament in 1604.

A plague and various delays brought the plan and the discovery of 36 barrels of gunpowder under coal and firewood.

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King James made clear that he did not condemn most English Catholics.

Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for West Worthing

One of the plotters defended himself by saying that the king had not delivered on his promise to have a greater tolerance of Catholicism.

It is said that although some Catholics held office, Catholic emancipation was delayed by two centuries.

For over 250 years the Thanksgiving Act required annual church services and sermons commemorating the failure of the plot. Our annual fireworks tradition came from that time, though displays had been enjoyed for centuries before.

The wedding of Henry VII had been marked by fireworks and Queen Elizabeth I had reason to appoint a fire master for her royal displays.

William Shakespeare brings fireworks into royal entertainment in his play Love’s Labour’s Lost.

In 1613, during the first performance of the play Henry VIII, a cannon firing led to the destruction of the Globe theatre by fire.

All over the constituency, I trust people will avoid disturbing pets and farm animals.

Planned organised events are best.

It is believed that Shakespeare, when young, had seen a display at Kenilworth during the Queen’s visit.

We can wonder whether some of our young writers will become popular playwrights?

This time last year I was preparing to lead the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association delegation to Namibia, the large country with a low population in southwest Africa. On Remembrance Day I laid a wreath at their war memorial.

This year I am wearing a special poppy made from Indian cloth, remembering the more-than-a-million troops from the Empire who joined in the Great War. Additionally, I have a shamrock poppy pin.

Ireland and the United Kingdom have a shared and a divided history. A new political dawn allows us to come to terms with the shared sacrifices that have sadly been neglected and ignored for too long by too many.

It has been estimated that almost 30,000 Irishmen and women were killed. One thousand in the Connaught Rangers died at the Somme. My mother’s great uncle Jack Lenox-Conyngham was the Colonel.

Most of the troops with whom he died were strong nationalists. They thought their dreams would come faster to reality if they helped to defeat the common threat.

This week I have been speaking separately with special groups on how to confront discrimination and victimisation.

The experience of Jewish people across Europe, including in our country has too often been awful. The rise of Islamophobia also has to be confronted. I see no contradiction in standing with both.

In time, locally and nationally and then internationally I dream of everyone standing together, with respect, with assistance and accepting the common obligation to defend all.


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