1065 and all that: Dave's Book of Dates

David Cameron has been criticised for a string of factual errors – from the date the US entered the Second World War to Iran's nuclear capability. David Randall imagines how the PM might tell the story of the past 2,000 years


122 Hadrian's Wall Roman brickie builds long wall to keep out Scots. It's the kind of narrow, discriminatory thinking that has no place in modern Coalition Britain. Still, bloody tempting.

976 World peace threatened After decades of development "for hunting purposes only", Persia acquires the bow and arrow. Sure enough, less than 11 centuries later, the country, now posing as "Iran", is up to its old tricks.



1327 Death of Edward II Silly ass sat on a red-hot poker. It came, one supposes, from a coal fire. How dangerous these old-fashioned forms of energy are.



1415 Agincourt England, in support of its American allies (known as GIs, I believe), defeats the French.



1492 America discovers Columbus.



1536 Dissolution of the Monasteries Henry VIII begins centuries of persecution of hoodies with his "Mug a Monk" policy.



1588 Spanish Armada Allied navy, under command of Admiral Frank E Drake, defeats seaborne invasion fleet dispatched by Philip II of Spain. Some British involvement.



1720 South Sea Bubble A big bubble appears in the South Seas.



1745 Jacobite Rising Always a mystery to me, since I have searched the records and can find no mention of a man called Jacob fomenting trouble. A case of mistaken identity, one supposes.



1773 Boston Tea Party First appearance of the cup cake. Our American friends had, however, yet to grasp the finer points of tea-making, adding the leaves to the water, rather than the other way round. Still, at least they didn't put the milk in first.



1780 Gordon Riots Men bearing this odd, rather un-English Christian name go on the rampage through London's streets. How destructive they have been to our national well-being down the years.



1801 Elgin Marbles return to Britain Greece continues to claim them, but, as I said to the ambassador only the other day: "If they were really Greek, how come they have a Scottish name?"



1815 Waterloo With the kind of foresight for which Tories have always have been noted, the Duke of Wellington opened Waterloo station more than 20 years before railway lines first reached south London.

1829 Metropolitan Police launched Their original mission statement was "Evenin' All" – a message now changed to "Excuse me, sir, did you know you were doing 31mph in a 30mph zone?"



1832 Great Reform Act Perhaps the most significant piece of legislation in the history of the English-speaking peoples – until, of course, my good colleague Nick Clegg introduces our own, ground-breaking Bill.



1834 Tolpuddle Martyrs A group of uppity trade unionists went on holiday to Australia, a jaunt paid for out of public funds. This is the kind of flagrant waste of taxpayers' money we're determined to stamp out.



1835 Hans Pamela Anderson publishes her fairytales.



1840 Penny Post Jolly good idea. You give your fag 1d and a letter and, hey presto, your chum receives it.



1857 Indian Mutiny Even at a distance of a century and a half, one can discern the dark hand of Pakistan intelligence at work.



1865 America wins US Civil War.



1882 Old Etonians win FA Cup Hurrah! Well played, chaps.



1895 Oscar Wilde jailed He went to prison, so I'm told, for being a smart alec. No one likes a smart alec. While there, he wrote "The Ballad of Reading Gaol", a popular song.



1900 Relief of Lady Smith She was, I believe, a martyr to constipation.



1918 Coalition wins First World War.



1945 Coalition wins Second World War.



1948 George Orwell invents Big Brother Yet another triumph for my old alma mater, as an old Etonian devises the idea for this popular TV show.



1956 Suez Britain tries to fight a war without American help, and it is a disaster. Never again.



2010 Coalition wins general election Sure enough, within weeks of the victory by myself and my good friends in the Liberal Party, banks start making profits again, British athletes win gold medals and the country basks in uninterrupted sunshine. And that, as Mr Fukuyama (not, incidentally, an old Etonian) once said, is the end of history.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'