Saturday, 14 November 2009

Hello I’m Harry Riley

Welcome to Harry’s Five-Minute Ponder: ‘What if and When.’

This is called:

‘Pilgrim County’

You know one of the great things about getting older is that you have something to look back on. Thirty or even twenty years ago we had an occasional news item from the States. Not so now.

Now we get to know what President Obama has for breakfast even before he knows it himself! Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining; communication just got so much better now we are all part of the Global Village.

As regards politics in the UK a Federal Europe has been given a big thumbs down. It seems we…the general public, just do not want to be a part of it. Trading is fine and the European Community has given us some big benefits… like…er…like…well you know…let me think?

Anyway pondering on some of the big issues, as I am wont to do, I began to wonder what if and when?

What if Great Britain ever did become a part of the USA, you know-the Fifty First State of the Union.

Our kids play American games on their computers. They are dressed in American style gear with baseball caps stuck on sideways; dissing all and sundry as they skateboard along to the Academy Campus.

Our lives get handed down second hand from America. This is not the country I grew up in! Things have changed so much since we, as children proudly waved our Union Flags and knew the sun would never set on a glorious British Empire.

So I got out the old crystal ball and asked it to show me the future in say a hundred years time…

The picture came out bright and clear. Old television programmes showed how Britain had become just another state of the union.


Well it had happened so gradually that we’d hardly noticed it. Our computers had American software that spat out American words and spellings. Our troops had joined forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and stood together over terrorist threats…and following a succession of British lacklustre political leaders with their un-lacklustre liking for self aggrandizement and get-rich-quickedness (rhyme it with wickedness) we had not rejected our powerful suitor, but like the hapless turkey, had voted for Christmas!

A cash-strapped, near bankrupt Britain had opted for the bed-pan-warmth of Wall Street. London had been discredited as a financial institution.

After a furious national debate to see which town in Britain had most in common with America and the right to be our new capital city,

a surprising winner was the tropical city of Nottingham. Not because of the beauty of Nottingham Lace or Kevin Cosner’s portrayal of Robin Hood in ‘The Prince of Thieves’ or even Notts County Football Club (consecutive winners of the Premier League for the past three years) but for Nottinghamshire’s unrivalled position as birthplace of the Separatists, founders of the most powerful democracy in the modern world. Believe it or not, the Pilgrim Fathers came from Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, East Midlands!

From villages such as Austerfield, Bawtry, Sturton le-steeple, Scrooby and Babworth came free-thinkers; Richard Clyfton, William Brewster, John Smith, William Bradford and John Robinson, principle leaders of the Puritan Movement.

As Separatists they had rejected Kings James’s command to worship the Sabbath in High Church (the law put anyone on pain of death for preaching sedition) they could not support a form of religion they believed to be corrupt and in sixteen hundred and twenty the Founding Fathers had set off on a perilous journey to America in the good ship Mayflower, eventually to set up camp at Plymouth Rock, Cape Cod; there to create the Mayflower Compact. This document, enshrined in the history of the American Constitution and accepted in all states became the symbol of democratic freedom.

Now in my futuristic crystal ball, Nottinghamians were thrust to the forefront of world affairs.

With new-found wealth and investment, Nottingham Castle had been rebuilt in its original medieval style, a British ‘Thanksgiving’ holiday had been approved for the fourth Thursday of November and the world and his wife wanted to live at Babworth and Austerfield and Scrooby villages…We had all become citizens instead of subjects and the cosy American greeting of ‘Have a nice day!’ had been suitably adapted to ‘Have a nice day Me Duck!’

What if and When. End.

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