Barbara Light: What would Guy Fawkes say?

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 17.52.34

Image: freedigitalphoto

There was no way that I was going to miss this opportunity to think out loud about one of our most famous revolutionaries and what he might say about our politics today.

Of course, I am talking about Guy Fawkes. We all know that he wanted to get rid of the institutional power of his time by blowing up Parliament and starting an uprising – admittedly an extreme and illegal method of bringing about change, but then in 1605 methods tended to be drastic as you couldn’t just vote King and Parliament out of power and vote the other party in!
Over time, the ceremonies of thanksgiving for having foiled the plot evolved into our celebrations of fireworks and bonfires where the effigy of Guy Fawkes or unpopular contemporary figures are burnt – the latest being Alex Salmond guilty of trying to bring independence to Scotland through a democratic process.

What would Guy Fawkes say? Well, he might wonder why Salmond is disliked enough to be elevated to the ranks of effigy; he could be pleased at becoming a symbol for anti-establishment movements worldwide; he might even detect with satisfaction the nascent signs of people in this country who are so fed up with not being listened to by the established political parties that they are starting to organise themselves to democratically get their voices back.

Leave a Reply