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
Sunday 08 August 2010
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.
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