Lock up your cats! Chain up your dogs! November the 5th is here again and still, I wonder what the hell we are doing celebrating a failed attempt at blowing up the Houses of Parliament. It’s been four hundred years for goodness sake! Isn’t it about time to let it go?
I speak as someone who resents being forced out of the house just as I am about to curl up and get cosy in front of the telly so perhaps I am a bit biased. I normally twitch and blink when the dog barks so it really is a bit much to expect me to get dressed up in waterproofs and wellies to go and stand in the rain, in the dark, and listen to a prolonged series of explosions. While everyone else ‘ooh’s and ‘aahs’, it is all I can do to suppress a panic attack followed by a loud, blood-curdling scream. Not only is Bonfire Night scary and uncomfortable, I also find it rather crass.
Guy Fawkes was a terrorist. It was his intention to blow up the Houses Of Parliament, along with all of the people inside because he felt that those who followed his faith were getting a raw deal. Is it just me, or does that resonate ever so slightly with what happened in
Obviously, Guy Fawkes failed in his attempt at reducing the Houses of Parliament to a mound of smouldering rubble. But, like any other demented, extremist intent on causing widespread destruction, I am sure that Guy Fawkes would be rather pleased to know that some four hundred years after trying to kill the government, he has been immortalised and his name will be remembered forever more.
Some will say it is tradition. In some parts of the world, burning witches and female circumcision is traditional. Just because something has been done for a very long time does not make it right.
It’s time we commemorated the birthday of somebody of worth – a Great British hero - like Aneurin Bevan, Emmeline Pankhurst or Alexander Fleming. In short, people who changed all our lives for the better.
And let’s make sure we commemorate it without fireworks and in the summer!