Tuesday, September 26, 2006

British Heroes

While looking for a good book about General Gordon - a true British Hero, in my opinion - I came across this link to a BBC Online article about "British Heroes".

This lists the, supposedly, 100 greatest British heroes of all time alphabetically. Great, I thought, I'll have a look through this. My enthusiasm barely lasted into the A's as, after Alfred the Great, came Julie Andrews. Julie Andrews!? A great British Hero!?!?!

Now Julie Andrews is a fine singer and actress, and I've no doubt she may well be a heroine to many, but one of the top 100 British Heroes ever? Not a chance.

Anyway, I carried on regardless and moved onto the B's. David Beckham!! Oh, come on! As I scanned the list I became more and more depressed at what passed for supposedly great British Heroes. Nevertheless, I carried on to the G's expecting to see Gordon Pasha prominently displayed. Nope. We have Bob Geldof (groan) and Owain Glyndwr (I'm sure he's a true hero for the Welsh, but I'm not so convinced that a man who was so fervently anti-British deserves to be a British Hero) - and that's it for the G's. General Gordon not good enough, eh?

The rest of the list just made me madder and madder. Under O we have George O'Dowd - alias Boy George. How on earth can this cross-dressing, drug abusing, fading has-been pop "star" be considered a British Hero?

So, that was it. I've decided to create my own list of British Heroes - and I've started a list on the Sidebar. First up is General Gordon. Currently it's just a link to a Wikipedia article, but I may add my own post on Gordon later. I'll add others as the blog develops. They will be true British Heroes - not the darlings of the establishment. They will be Britons who have truly acted heroically - not people who are feted for their fashionable opinion.

If you have any suggestions for real British Heroes, I'd love to hear them so by all means forward them on to me - perhaps with a justification, perhaps just a name. I'll consider all of them, but I'll only add to the Sidebar the ones that I think fit the bill.


AntiCitizenOne said...

Alan Turing.

Stan said...

Thanks for the suggestion, anticitizenone. Turing is on the BBC list, but I won't be including him on mine. I've no doubt that his contribution to computer science was important, but heroic? I don't think so. Similarly, his efforts to break Enigma were essential, but compared to the average seaman on the Murmansk run he had a pretty easy war - hot food, warm beds and knowing that you're likely to wake up perfectly OK the next morning are the sort of comforts that the merchantmen on Arctic convoys could only dream of.

I'm looking for heroes who can truly claim to have made a real sacrifice for the nation of Britain or who have stood resolutely defiant for something they believed in. Turing commited suicide after being outed as a homosexual. That suggests to me that he lacked the moral courage to face up to the challenges that being a homosexual at that time presented. Again, not the behaviour of an heroic individual.

Anonymous said...

Owain Glyndwr was not ‘fervently anti-British’ as you claim. In fact he was loyal to Richard II and it was when he was deposed by Henry Bolingbroke and the new king allowed a friend to seize Glyndwr’s lands that he rose up. He had the support of the Tudor family and various English nobles, including the Mortimer family and the Percy family, with whom he planned to run the kingdom as three states. From my historical reading his intentions seem benign and he does seem a great leader, on the battlefield and at court. It was not simply England vs. Wales. Do not allow the fact that he is a hero to today’s leftist Welsh-nationalists to harm the man’s reputation.