SO FEW REMEMBER that the English, too, went through a revolution.
In this great number, Billy Bragg recalls the revolutionary group known as "The Diggers" - read more about them here.
"You poor take courage, you rich take care"
Their case was made with most force during the so-called "Putney Debates" - where the men of Cromwell's New Model Army debated the shape of England's new government and the rights of the people upon whose backs it would ultimately rest.
Responding to Oliver Cromwell's and Henry Ireton's argument that only those with a "fixed permanent interest" in the country - i.e. only property owners - should have the right to govern it, Colonel Thomas Rainsborough replied with what is generally held to be the first shot in the long battle for universal suffrage and equal civil rights:
For really I think that the poorest hee that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest hee; and therefore truly, Sr, I think itt clear, that every Man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own Consent to put himself under that Government; and I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put Himself under.
As revolutionary a statement now as it was then - especially when the people take seriously the proposition that they "hath a life to live".
This posting is exclusive to the Bowalley Road blogsite.