Saturday, November 10, 2007

Gunpowder, treason and plot

Last Monday, 5th November, was bonfire night, when in the UK celebrations are traditionally held over a failed plot to blow up the houses of parliament in 1605.

The Gunpowder Plot, as it is known, was an attempt by English Catholics to blow up the Protestant King James I of England and VI of Scotland and his largely Protestant aristocracy.

Guy Fawkes, who as an aside was baptised in the church right next to York Minster, was the explosives expert who was to set the charge. But he got caught. And executed. But not before he was tortured by his captors, a fate which could only be authorised directly by the King or the Privy Council. The King wrote in a letter:

"The gentler tortours are to be first used unto him et sic per gradus ad majora tenditur, and so God speed your good work"

So Fawkes and his co conspirators were to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

Now, every year on 5th November, bonfires are lit, Guy Fawkes is burned in effigy and fireworks are launched, all to keep up the tradition of killing Catholics.

The photo was taken by me last Monday from a bridge over the River Clyde, looking towards Glasgow Green where the council had their annual fireworks display.

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