Showing posts with label Richard Montague. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Richard Montague. Show all posts

Monday, January 30, 2017

Why the William of Orange story is described as one of the biggest lies of British history

An article linking to a video in the Glasgow Herald by TV historian Lucy Worsley has the following.

IT is one of the central events of modern British history, which still resonates today on the streets of Scotland and shapes the islands upon which we live.

But our understanding of the so-called Glorious Revolution of King William of Orange is based on myth and spin. In fact, you would be forgiven for saying it was a case of 17th century fake news.

The official line is that the bloodless revolution changed the course of British history, establishing the supremacy of parliament over the crown.

On the 300th anniversary of the ousting of 'tyrannical' King James II during the 17th century to place his son-in-law William of Orange on the throne was proclaimed in Parliament in 1988 by then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as one of the "great events in the history of these islands" which helped bring constitutional freedom and was "important in establishing Britain's nationhood".

But TV historian Lucy Worsley, described the official version of history surrounding the installation of the Dutch prince who would be "reinvented" as a Protestant hero as one of the three biggest myths of British history.

In a BBC documentary to air next week, she will describe how the revolution began with an act of treason inspired by an anti-Catholic politician and how King William III, was a foreign invader who was engaged in "spin" over his motives and whose real agenda was to prevent a French and British Catholic alliance waging war in Europe.

The Joint Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces places the King William III story alongside three tales of turning points in British history that "have been manipulated and mythologised to become cornerstones of our national story".

The historian says a Dutch invasion was "spun into a triumphant liberation... and celebrated ever since as the foundation of our parliamentary democracy".

We at our sister blog SOYMB are glad academia and the mainstream press in Scotland have caught up with some of the falsehoods surrounding this event, but as usual socialist education on history tends to be more accurate than ruling class spin, as we had a feature on precisely this point in January 2010. written by our comrade Richard Montague in 1985.

 Our purpose was to disabuse workers on both sides of the notions and fictions that keep them divided; to show that neither , Unionism nor nationalism have anything to offer the working class and to bring them an examination of the cause of their real, common problems.

King James and King Billy

 James II succeeded to the throne of England following the death of his brother. Charles II, in 1685. A convert to Catholicism and a sickly pious man –following a life of profligacy and sexual abandonment---he was determined to re-establish the power of Catholicism in his in his kingdom. Within three years of becoming king, James’, polices had provoked fierce opposition in England and fear and distrust among the protestant population of Ireland. In 1688 seven members of the English parliament petitioned James’ son in law, William, Prince of Orange, to become King of England. James reacted by allying himself with the French king. Louis XIV, who manipulated the situation to his own advantage by making England of a semi-dependent his own kingdom.

According to Orange fiction, James was the agent of Rome and popery. Nothing could be further from the truth. In seeking the help and support of Louis XIV, King James was allying himself with the pope's bitterest enemy. Louis, bent on European domination, had made Lorraine a subject state, had attacked Genoa and attempted to sack Rome. The pope of the period, Innocent XI, was outraged and humiliated. In 1686 some of the European Powers, alarmed at the strength and ferocity of the French, entered into the Treaty of Augsberg. This Treaty, established specifically to resist the marauding armies of Louis XIV, was subscribed to by the king of Spain, the Emperor of Germany and by William, Prince of Orange. The nominal head of the Treaty powers was Pope Innocent XI.

So, rather than being an enemy of the pope, as Orange mythology asserts, “King Billy" was the pope’s ally when, in November 1688, he invaded England and his armies were partially provisioned and equipped by the powers of Augsberg Treaty - and he had the official backing of the Roman Catholic church Contrary to myth, when they fought in the Battle of the Boyne on 30 June and I July 1690. King Billy was an ally of the pope and king James an ally of the pope's most bitter enemy Louis of France, Indeed, when news of King William's victory over king James at the Boyne percolated through to Rome, the pope ordered the singing of a special Te Deum in St. Peter's and similar celebrations and rejoicings were held in Catholic churches in Madrid, Brussels and Vienna .
James was a Catholic , of course, and William a Protestant but, as always, the politics and economics underlying their conflict rose above religion.