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History Provides Lessons for Today

THIS appeared in one UK paper recently — appropriate for the UK for the moment, but perhaps also quite pertinent to ourselves?

History provides a lesson in how to deal with a parliament seen as corrupt and finished.

In 1653 Oliver Cromwell lost patience with the House after learning it was attempting to stay in session despite as agreement to dissolve. His speech will still resonate today with disgusted voters. This is what he said:

“It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue. And defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government, ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

“Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

“Ye sordid prostitutes, have ye not defil’d this sacred place, and turn’d the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.

“Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House, and which by God’s help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do; I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place, go, get you out!

“Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors, in the name of God, go!”


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