Andrew Adonis, on Twitter, has challenged us to name three people as founders of England. I thought that’s a good game. Who would I choose?

What is England? I think it needs to be seen as defined by its Parliament, its capitalist economy and its social wage, the remaining jewel of which is the NHS. So I nominate the Immortal 7, Sir Robert Peel, and Aneurin Bevan.

The Immortal Seven are seven members of the House of Lords who invited William of Orange to England to ensure a protestant succession. Modern historians may argue about the extent this established Parliament as the supreme authority but it is generally considered the act that ended the English Civil Wars and started us down the road to our current constitution.

Sir Robert Peel not only founded the Tory Party but the Joint Stock Companies Act was also passed under his stewardship, I toyed with Marx as an observer of Capitalism and Brunel as the innovator/entrepreneur, except he wasn’t, but capitalism is about capital mobility and capital markets and so that Act which enabled these two things to happen.

Our benefit system is in tatters, Beveridge and Keynes will be turning in their graves, but the NHS remains, and it seems we have to associate Bevan with it. Bevan is of course Welsh.

At least one commentator on the twitter thread makes the point that analysing history through the lives of single people is not wise.

Left by the wayside are Henry VIII, Oliver Cromwell & Horatio Nelson

England’s founders
Tagged on:     
%d bloggers like this: