Monday, May 2, 2016

St John's disciples strike back - The case FOR Marlbrook!

The truth is so dazzling I had to wear shades

A light hearted meander right back into the crosshairs...............

Clearly my quest to shine the light of truth into the darkest corners of historical propaganda-fiction is having some effect. At SALUTE 2016 I was lobbied by several members of the pro-Johnno faction for my criminally pitiless pursuit of one of England's national treasures St John of Churchill. They were serious too!

Why oh why must I persist in this smear campaign? You are being unfair! Grown men are vexed. Teeth were gnashed. I was told that we Jocks should have been given f***ing independence to shut me up!

Deeply ironic that last remark as my few remaining friends will attest. And of course it rather fails to appreciate the point that we Jocks were the only ones voting on the separation issue! Bearing in mind current laws on hate crime I may just have a case there so beware.

OK, so I showed your article to a friend who is a real Marlborough fanatic and he admitted that in a lot of cases you are actually right... but he said you were morally wrong to pick on the poor chap so please stop doing it.

That one I particularly loved!

Colleagues at work gave me this which I now put to good use (the pachyderm not the Fallen Idol)
Here is a new word which I would like to claim as my own:

MARLPOLOGIST (n) : One who slavishly espouses the virtues of England's premier opportunist in the face of all logical counter argumentation and evidence.

I intend to deploy it occasionally as the need presents itself and when I fear the world will be swept away on a tsunami of 1984 inspired doublespeak adulation of the Big Chancer.

Should I rename my mission The Elephant in the Room quest? Everybody knows what he was like but he was such a popular chap that we must ignore almost any magnitude of indiscretion and excuse it away because he makes some of us feel good.

Who IS that, King Billy? No actually it's St John - ON MY WALL! 

Now here is a shock. The above picture hangs above my office desk. I know, I know. You can't believe it can you? It amuses me greatly particularly when BT engineers. joiners or delivery men visit the house, look at it and think I am some kind of sectarian bigot.
Ah! you say (if you're from a distance greater than 50 miles radius of Weegie-town) what does this mean?

Just follow the West of Scotland logic stream.. my surname does not begin with Mc, Mac or O' , I have a painting of a man in a red tunic on a white horse in my office, ergo... I am a member of a Protestant extremist organization because of course....

the man in the painting is King Billy! King Billy, the only man in history ever to wear a red coat and ride a white horse or so the story goes in these parts.

It is a local and wonderful talent to be able to apply such laser-guided logic. The Wild West has been run on these lines for about 300 years now. Immediate friend to some, enemy to others... if only life was so simple.

Does the above evidence confound my critics? Am I really a crypto-Marlpologist? This could actually mean I am to him what he was to James II. In the modern world of conspiracy theories this fits perfectly.

Peter, friend, frequent contributor to the blog and long time Marlbrook fan boy has agreed to pen a counter argument piece. I have happily agreed to blog that on his behalf and look forward to its appearance. I will not spoil Peter's line in argumentation but was amused by the altruistic picture of St John he was peddling at Salute. All that avarice and deception was for others not for himself was the cry. It is rumoured that St John was the founder of UNICEF and Oxfam (well according to Toggy Bob). Now Peter, you should be a politician.

Thanks for all the reaction, I love it really and wouldn't life be really dull if we all agreed with each other.

I will subscribe to the parting remark of at least two Marlpoligists on Saturday.... he was a man of his time..

Yes indeed, we can All of us agree on that!

PS: For those conspiracy theorists out there wondering whether the crypto-Marlpologist rumour is in fact true based on my curious ownership of #44 of 500 of the WI Miniature of St John, I was awarded (somewhat ironically) it by WI for services to the Marlborough debate. Thanks for that Wayne...
I think you get my angle of approach.

As a footnote to this ongoing saga of angst, bile and spin I was accosted by the Famous David Imrie at the recent Carronade Show in Falkirk. He insisted on presenting me with yet another Lundy like effigy of St John and then photographing me holding it. He further twisted the tourniquet by sending me the photographic evidence which I share with you here. I did notice that HIS unique numbered St John was way higher than mine in the series..... 96 I believe.

Just ONE? says a distraught Scrivener


  1. I actually thought your article opened up the opportunity for debate very nicely. Marlborough was certainly a flawed hero (Holmes tries hard to make that point in his book but falls rather short of actually breaking down his character flaws to the extent that they probably deserved).

  2. Barry, Barry,
    why is it that Scottish people will argue blacks, white, etc etc.
    Malborough was a great but flawed man, just as Napoleon was a great, but flawed man. Perhaps it is because they are bigger and larger than life that their faults tend to be such. All I know is he led our country to victories where lesser men would have failed, be proud of that fact, rejoice in his abilities to hold together a large and disunited alliance. If only he was around now, perhaps he could have lead a coup to save us from mediocrity and small mindedness. By the way I saw you walked the field at Flodden, isnt that where the Scots, yet again raided and stole from us poor Northeners only to be punished.The church you mentioned in your piece covers an original church built by the family of a friend of mine, I believe it was where James was laid after the battle. There is also a similar battlefield at Nevilles Cross near my house, where another Scots king paid the price for theft.Were these kings not also flawed and culpable in some way for perfidy.
    Anyway its good to talk.

  3. Marlborough held together a group of dissident, rebellious, individualistic allies who were united by one object - the defeat of the ambitious, overweening Louis XIV. Wait a minute - 'holding together a group of...' isn't that what our leader, our blogmeister does himself? BH manages the outpourings of a mixed bunch - like the coalition of great and small powers - but moderates the LoA blog to keep it engaging and healthy.
    Is this not a skill of the utmost diplomacy?
    Sir - you are unmasked - you are a Jacobite, a sympathiser of James and a follower of the methods employed by Milord Duke to survive and lead. Maintenance of the objective is a first military rule. Barry, you play Devil's advocate to hide your basic respect and admiration for John Churchill's talents and results - he is a model in how to keep your head whilst all around are losing theirs...!
    I think you get my angle of approach. The riposte is coming...!

  4. One of the best blog entries I have read for some time. I'm with Barry in this discussion. Marlborough? Diplomat? No, for me he was "the opportunists opportunist". Ps; Good to see you back Peter.

  5. Ah Robbie, laddie! it's all there in your plaintive cry to the homeland! You know in your heart that everyone North of York is actually a Scot deep down regardless of what lines are drawn on modern political maps. Don't fight it anymore, come out! :) We'd have you back even after all the unkind things you have said about your brother Scots. One thing you need to understand about us though - we are not all kilt wearing, Sassenach hating, uber nationalists. Many of us like being British...
    In true parliamentary tradition much probably to the distaste of any 17th century monarch (absolutist or crypto-absolutist whose ghost might be reading our mighty debate) it is great that we can all express our views in such a mature manner here. My 17th century politics would have been very contradictory.. an anti-absolutist,pro-parliamentarian, religious libertarian, pro-business, anti monopolist, advocate of meritocracy dismayed by the self interest decisions of the country's elite. I would probably have been an instinctive Williamite fighting on the side of the Jacobites... the story of my life..

    what was that you were saying about Marlborough Peter? :)

  6. A key fact to remember about Marlborough is that he was a self-made man. He always had to rely on the Government or his 'network' for his income. He had no inheritance unlike many of the aristocratic 'players' he hung out with around the end of the 17th century...
    He grew up in a household where backing the wrong, ie losing side, had cost them everything. He had also grown up hearing about a king beheaded and witnessing a king overthrown albeit in a bloodless 'revolution' in which he played no small part. You could say he was good at keeping his options open. But he did not lack courage. When he went to the Tower it was not through the suspicion of treason - but rather because he resisted William's giving precedence to Dutch over English generals and advisers at every turn...and regardless of ability. No meritocracy there.
    We are not fan boys of the Churchill clan! He was no saint. I believe his early experiences and the constant need to make a living to provide for himself and his family had a big influence on him.
    Everyone then had lived through 'the world turned upside down...' you had to use your wits to survive in a time where expect the unexpected was the norm...
    One of my favourite quotes on how to live and how to rise in the late 17th century is the following. I think it is relevant to JC(!)too:
    'He first obtained the government of himself - and over himself he won the most signal victories - so that the first day he took the field against the external enemy he was already a veteran in arms, consummately practised in the toils and exigencies of war...'
    It was written by John Milton - about Oliver Cromwell!

  7. All great stuff and grist to the mill Peter... I am surprised one or two other 'interested' blog members have yet to chip in with their twa'penneth... maybe we'll tempt them from the shadowy alleys of Lurkerville into the full spotlight........ and by the way, DON'T start me on Cromwell!!!!! :0

  8. Thanks Barry. Yes it will be good to have further input from other members of the coalition...another point to bear in mind is that M did his best work after the age of 50. Your best days are not behind you...
    Re Cromwell - noted!

  9. Voting on separation? We just kicked the buggers out...

    1. ...O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave! wipes a tear from meh eye LOL

  10. The voice from the Colonies.... we are not sure whether YOU should be TRUMP eting in at this point!

  11. The slagging of the Duke is just the typical British tabloid reporting style where we hate to see someone getting on too well, as soon as they get to the top the garbage rakers are out digging for dirt. We should concentrate on the fantastic performance he managed to drag out of the Allied army against what was supposedly the best army in the world and relegated them to the 2nd division. A few dodgy decisions in his early career do not deserve to tarnish a fantastic reputation. Barry is just bitter because he never got that job with the Sun newspaper.

  12. Accosted in public once again, at Falkirk... dark forces are indeed at work. It's a bleedin' conspiracy... I refuse to be silenced by the agents of Spin! please see additional corroborative evidence above M'lud!


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