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Friday, 22 February 2019

1848 - When change in the UK led to Revolution in France

On this day ...

The 1832 Reform Act in the UK (or the English Act and the Irish and Scottish Acts that followed it) was not the end of electoral reform in Britain; it was not, to beg a phrase, even the end of the beginning of Parliamentary reform. But it did do two things - largely abolish the Rotten Boroughs, and increase the electorate to about 20% of the population. I was going to describe this as peaceful change, but of course it was not quite peaceful. There was Peterloo.

And then there was religious fear. In 1829, in response to deep fear of explosive civil strife in Ireland, Roman Catholics were permitted for the first time to stand for election. The non-conformists in their chapels and meeting houses in Birmingham and Manchester were livid; did not they deserve the same rights as the Irish? And so government reluctantly moved in 1832 and enacted the first, slow step to reform that would take a further 96 years to roll out - the final franchise not coming until 1928.

Across the Manche the Kermits also felt outrage. In comparison to our 20% of enfranchised people, barely 1% of the French had the vote. They didn't mess about. In February 1848 they rose up. Forty-two were shot to death by nervous troops and on 23rd February Louis-Philippe abandoned his throne and ran away to England. Thus began the Second Republic (we're now up to the Fifth).

De Tocqueville (a favourite of this blog - I'll give him a post of his own in due course) observed  "We are sleeping together in a volcano. A wind of revolution blows, the storm is on the horizon."

Like a forest fire, the events in France in 1848 spread throughout Europe.

What began almost peacefully in the UK (15 died at Peterloo) set the course for change in Europe. That's why they're so worried about Brexit. 

32 comments:

right-writes said...

I thought we were still suffering from rotten boroughs, the kind where you could pin a particular coloured rosette on a monkey and it would win for that colour party.

I know it's true, the house is full of such monkeys.

jack ketch said...

Perhaps the only thing of real note to come out of the Peterloo Massacre was the Manchester Gaurdian (*Michael Caine voice* 'not a lot fo people know that'), other than that it had demonstrably little long term effect here or abroad -despite the mythology.

Budgie said...

Votes don't give people freedom, otherwise the GDR would have been free. And we had a vote in 2016 to decide whether to Remain in the EU, or Leave the EU. We, the people, decided to Leave, as laid down by Parliament and the government. But our "educated" MPs (exactly how does a nonentity candidate suddenly become erudite, informed and wise just by being elected?) have decided otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Rotten boroughs? Like those that don't bother with enforcing building regs, leading to outrageous catastrophes such as the Grenfell Tower fire, you mean?

The fact that the UK voted to Leave is indeed a body blow for the EU project, but it wasn't actually unexpected. Other countries might leave too in due course, but even that wouldn't end it.

Ask the young, who are the future.

Since the UK lost its Empire, and especially since Boris Johnson's time as Foreign Secretary, not many continental people take what happens here very seriously any more either, understandably.

Budgie, as it stands, the UK is leaving. Farage will get his shove between the shoulders, don't worry.

Wessexboy said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Rotten boroughs? Like those that don't bother with enforcing building regs, leading to outrageous catastrophes such as the Grenfell Tower fire, you mean?

Have you got a crystal ball then, Anon? I thought expert witnesses were still giving testimony on such legalities and compliance issues...
As to the reason to clad a perfectly sound concrete structure in the first place...EU requirements?

Anonymous said...

Almost all the constituencies are now rotten boroughs. The MPs are selected by the aristocrats in the party head offices in London and parachuted in.

One thing that might help would be a law that a candidate must have lived in the constituency (or perhaps within three miles of it) for at least ten years.

Meantime, at the next election (if there is one), vote for a local independent candidate. Not for a party.

Don Cox

Anonymous said...

The towers were clad to improve the views for the rich Tory voters in Ken and Chelsea. I thought that everyone knew that?

Budgie said...

Anon, 10:30 said "... as it stands, the UK is leaving ...". The dWA locks us into the EU's single customs territory, military, diplomatic and security control, fisheries control, aligned with single market rules, subject to the ECJ, and continuing to pay vast sums of money. If the dWA gets voted through by our MPs, even without the Eire/N.I. backstop, it is Remain.

You also seem to miss the main point that our MPs are, in the main, essentially party nonentities who are suddenly supposed to be erudite, informed and wise just by being elected. Not so much rotten boroughs as rotten MPs with an inflated sense of their own capabilities and worth.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes 1973, when we came out of our caves to be given fire, laws and language by 'the six'!

That was probably when the rich in Kensington became far-sighted enough to see all those ugly concrete towers up 't north that all those Labour donkey controlled rotten boroughs decided to Euro-clad too.

Anonymous said...

Budgie, so you are saying that the voters cannot be trusted to elect decent MPs, it seems to me.

Why ever should they be trusted on the vastly more complex matter of the UK's EU membership then?

Budgie said...

Anon 11:48, So you are saying that the voters cannot be trusted to make a simple decision between Leave or Remain, it seems to me. Yet Parliament decided that the voters could be trusted to do so. The Referendum supersedes MPs "judgement" - that's what democracy is: people power.

Voters don't choose their MPs, that is decided by the parties. And the MPs stand on the party manifesto. Or not. Which is one point at issue. Voters were assured, and expected, that MPs would implement the Leave mandate. Don't blame voters for MPs' stupidity, vanity, and betrayal of Leave.

Anonymous said...

The UK is leaving, and the EU will be all the better for it now, so it makes little difference what people like you think of it here, Budgie.

Anything, which gets rid of Farage and the twenty-two other wastes of oxygen is Leave. Your vote is discharged. There's nothing more.

But the Toxteth and Poll Tax riots didn't spread to the Mainland, so this outbreak of idiocy looks likely to peter out the same way. Polls show an upsurge in EU support, notably in Austria.

Given the international screaming embarrassment that is Tory-ukip UK, who could wonder?

Span Ows said...

Anon, the term 'Rotten Borough' has nothing to do with poor or bad legislation: it is where the size of the electorate was stupidly small to warrant its own MP and/or was small enough to be controlled by a single family or in some cases even a single person.

Span Ows said...

Anon: "Ask the young, who are the future."

Since the UK lost its Empire, and especially since Boris Johnson's time as Foreign Secretary, not many continental people take what happens here very seriously any more either, understandably."


Have you asked the young on the continent? LOL, I think we know the answer to that. You're in an echo chamber, you and a couple of your like-minded EU-blinkered wets are arrogant enough to think the world believes the same.

Raedwald said...

Polls show an upsurge in EU support, notably in Austria.

Yep - latest Eurobarometer survey http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/Survey/getSurveyDetail/instruments/STANDARD/surveyKy/2215

AUSTRIA - Tend to trust the EU 45% Tend NOT to trust the EU 49%
The trust figure is up 1% from spring 2018 - break out the Sekt for this dramatic upsurge!

(Oh and let's ignore the majority that still distrust the EU)

Cascadian said...

Nope-they are far more afraid of "populists" in Spain, Hungary, Italy, Poland even Germany and France. These evil populists who recognize the waste and fraud that the EU has practiced, essentially pissing away the peoples secure pension years and early-earning years potential.

The EU model has impoverished Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Italy and its cash cows yUK and Germany having bought into the climate fraud have impoverished their industry. The socialists have run out of other peoples money and there will be a big reckoning. A Ceaucescu moment awaits.

You are now full-time dependent on the good graces of Russia for energy, the USA for security and the IMF for maintaining the fraud of the euro currency. Your social fabric is destroyed.

DisMays job was to extricate you from that mess, she has performed as expected and failed miserably.

Misty-eyed jingo-ism about the universal franchise is pointless, one vote every five years is not democracy given the damage that MPs led around by the likes of camoron or DisMay (dare I mention Turdeau) can and are doing.

Bill quango said...

The flaw for these euro trolls is they have no conviction in their own project.

If the Eu was as wondersous and bountiful and essential as they claim, and if the Uk would be as weak and bankrupt and alone as they claim, then logically, ALL political parties would be campaigning to rejoin the EU in 2022.
And the voters, subsisting on raw onion bulbs and rhubarb would be demanding that happens.

Instead all we have is this endless project fear. You will be sorry if you go. So very sorry. So very very sorry. And we i the Eu won’t have you back. No way. You can keep your money.
....so..you’d better remain.

Two and a half years on.
Still only project fear.

No wonder trolls are attracted to the negative themes of the dungeon.

Budgie said...

Anon 22 Feb 13:25 said: "The UK is leaving ...".

Unfortunately not if a version of Theresa May's draft Withdrawal Agreement (approved by Selmayr's juniors) gets voted through the HoC.

Even if the odious Eire/N.I. backstop is removed, the UK will still be: locked into the EU's single customs territory; under the EU's military, diplomatic and security control; under EU fisheries control (CFP); aligned with single market rules, including CAP; subject to the ECJ; and continuing to pay vast sums of money.

However, if we ever do actually Leave, you can keep your rotten, undemocratic, dirigiste, underperforming EU, and welcome to it. And this time we will not rescue you from yet another sordid European ideology.

jack ketch said...

let's ignore the majority that still distrust the EU-Raed

That majority of some 75% of Austrians who feel themselves to be 'EU Citizens'?

75% der Österreicherinnen und Österreicher fühlen sich als Bürgerin bzw. Bürger
der EU (-2 Pp. gegenüber dem Frühjahr 2018), das sind um 4 Pp. mehr als im EU28-
Durchschnitt (71%, +1 Pp.).
§ Insgesamt fühlen sich in 18 Mitgliedsstaaten mindestens drei Viertel der Befragten als EUBürgerin
bzw. EU-Bürger, am häufigsten in Luxemburg (89%), Deutschland (86%) und
Irland (85%), am seltensten hingegen in Bulgarien (51%), Griechenland (52%), Tschechien
(56%) und im Vereinigten Königreich (58%

Yep in dear ol Blighty 58%....

I've only glanced at the report but the '<3 EU and all its works' trends seem to going upwards. As the report says (in bold) Das Ansehen der EU ist damit
so positiv wie noch nie seit der erstmaligen Abfrage im Jahr 2000.

Raedwald said...

Jack - two completely different questions.

'Do you feel yourself to be an EU citizen?' Should get a YES from 100% of all those whose passports tell them that this the fact.

Anything under 100% is abject failure. 75% from Austria is dismal. That's 25% who wilfully and contrary to fact won't accept the suzerainty of the EU Empire.

No wonder when they they are asked if they trust the EU, 49% say no.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

A small point of order. Universal suffrage didn’t become universal in the U.K. until 1973. Prior to then Stormont elections had a property qualification, thus neatly excluding the bulk of Catholics from power.

Anonymous said...

The "tend to trust" question is a red herring.

"Do you want your country to leave the EU" is the one, and that is where the movement has been.

You know that of course, but you are a cynic, and a would-be manipulator.

jack ketch said...

Should get a YES from 100% of all those whose passports tell them that this the fact.

*SNORK* nice try Raed but I know your German and your acquaintance with the 'German' mindset is better than that! If they had asked 'are you an EU 'Citizen'' then the result would have been nearly 100%- except for the few frothy mouthed 'Reichsbürger'.

Yes I know they were two different questions; I was merely pointing out that one shouldn't make too much of a seemingly paltry increase (it isn't). Personally I am dismayed that any people would 'tend to trust' their government/rulers. People should always deeply distrust those set over them and governments should always fear their people (there's a quote I think?).

Anonymous said...

Who are "they"?

Anonymous said...

While all this "look over there" is going on, let's remind ourselves of some history, in the light of our Defence Secretary's bizarre announcements.

Churchill sent the warships Prince of Wales and Repulse to the Far East to serve as a “veiled threat” to deter Japanese aggression. Both vessels were promptly sunk by Japanese aircraft and their fate should have served as a warning to any power that bluffs without thinking through what will happen if that bluff is called.

The Chinese were never likely to react militarily to vague threats, but they did cancel trade talks with Chancellor Philip Hammond. It was a curious moment to irritate a country with the world’s second largest economy just weeks before a post-Brexit Britain will be looking for new markets.

Bill Quango MP said...

The final anon above has a point. It might be way, way off topic, but it is a point.

The politicians have a new gunboat. And want to send it somewhere. Shanghai was a bad choice.

Toulon would have been a better destination.

Anonymous said...

I see that a few Tories have just decided that sixty-six million people should get a new PM in three months time.

On the other hand, every senior EU official must be approved by a majority of our MEPs, who themselves are elected by Proportional Representation. They must also meet the approval of the Council of Ministers (the member countries own, that is) and of the European Council, of the leaders from the twenty-eight democracies, the EUs supreme authority. On the other hand, the PM of this country was not first decided by the electorate. She was not chosen by Parliament either. She was not even selected by the ordinary Tory Party members. The shortlist was chosen by the 1922 Committee of the Tory Party on advice from the Board, and the parliamentary party basically went with that. The irony of the EU-hating whimperers, with their endless squeaking about a lack of democracy in the EU sadly escapes them it appears. It will be the same again next time, but this one has at least scraped through a General Election.

Budgie said...

Anon 17:15, You strain to be sillier than even you are (I hope). Their are problems in all systems- including the UK's. But the lack of democracy in the EU is a design feature, not a fault. Party leaders in the UK Parliament are elected by their constituents, not merely party members. Or not. As in the case of Nick Clegg.

No senior EU official (think Juncker, Tusk, Selmayr, etc) is elected by the EU demos. They do not compete for the popular vote. There isn't even an EU demos anyway. The EU is an empty rootless ideology serving only the people who have power in it; and who give each other the jobs.

There is little possibility of saying "No" effectively in the EU. Each click of the ratchet, however odious, is designed to be of smaller import than leaving. So the choice is: accept or leave for each step. You may have noticed that the British people decided that could not go on, that the steps added up to too much, and we should Leave.

Raedwald said...

What Budgie said

Dave_G said...


The EU must be cr@pping itself at their coming elections where the irritation of (ex)UKIP will be the least of their concerns.

This is only the start of the backlash. We've all seen that the EU's answer to its problems has always been 'more EU' and that they refuse to listen to those that they wish to rule over - their refusal to even listen to Cameron was more than enough warning and if they hadn't been so intransigent they might have forseen the result (Brexit) and worked to avoid it. Arrogant, arrogant, arrogant.

This is a catastrophic approach to leadership - I wonder how many of the EU Parliament would have agreed to listen/discuss with Cameron but the tw@ts at the top simply took their usual 'we know best' approach. They only ever work in a totalitarian, dictatorial manner like the USSR, East European countries, Cambodia etc and we all know how they turned out.

If you can't see the comparisons then you are part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

The UK Head of State, HoL, President of the Law Commission, Chief Civil Servant - which is what Juncker is - and the top judiciary are not democratically selected in the UK either.

The fact that we are going to have yet another imposed PM is truly laughable, however.

Dave, who is this "EU"?

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 11:10
“The towers were clad to improve the views for the rich Tory voters in Ken and Chelsea. I thought that everyone knew that “?
It is alleged that :
The tower was clad as suggested above.
No gap was initially left between cladding and concrete allowing rainwater to percolate into flats causing damp and molds.
Residents complained and a drying gap (or chimney) fitted by spacing cladding off of building face.
At the same time steel framed single glazing removed and replaced with upvc windows that fall out when heated.
Only lower three floors of cladding fire resistant as flames from burning cars or bins would not reach higher.
That a fire might burst out of a flat after failure of UPVC windows does not seem to have ever been considered.