The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

5 November 2005

From the Fawkes News Channel

The last line of John Lennon's "Remember" (on Plastic Ono Band) is "Remember the 5th of November," a reference to the 1605 Gunpowder Plot against the British Parliament, spearheaded by Guy Fawkes.

For his part in the Plot, Fawkes was given what we might call "cruel and unusual punishment." Had this happened in 2005 instead of 1605, it wouldn't have happened that way at all:

If Guy Fawkes were around today, he would experience a very different outcome. When captured, a finger would not be laid upon him because of the Human Rights Act. He would be granted full legal aid and provided with the services of a high-powered lawyer, perhaps even the Prime Minister's wife.

A support group would be formed to campaign for his release; a large section of the audience on BBC Question Time would work itself into a frenzy of indignation about his imprisonment. He would be made the honorary president of Leeds University Students Union. George Galloway would argue that it is the Government, not Fawkes, which should be in the dock.

After many delays his trial would collapse in farce over a procedural technicality about the collection of evidence by MI5. Released, he would be made a columnist on the Guardian and awarded an Arts Council grant to explore "issues around terrorism".

God only knows what John Lennon would have said, had he survived.

(Via Tinkerty Tonk.)

Posted at 12:55 PM to Political Science Fiction

Charles, speaking of "remember," that's about an obscure Lennon song.

On the other hand, it's also one of the more listenable tunes on that album. I never thought much of "Second Class Hero," and "God" depends heavily on Billy Preston's piano for its appeal.

But Lennon presents us with a UK-US link, which serves to remind: Guy Fawkes and his plot and punishment used to be observed in the colonial Americas, where it was often called Pope's Day.

Posted by: Craig Ceely at 1:56 PM on 6 November 2005