Thursday, October 27, 2022

The blundering Prime Minister

 Lately there's been a bit of Prime Minister news over in Paul Thomas Miller Land, as some of us call the UK. There was the one goofball that vaguely mirrored our own goofball, and the one that was in and out in a dash, but in tonight's discussion of "The Noble Bachelor" at our local Peoria library group, I was reminded of one other, the one whom Sherlock Holmes called "blundering."

The guy gets overlooked a lot, because he shows up in a fun quote about Anglo-American relations that always makes we Americans happy. Sherlock Holmes likes us!

"It is always a joy to meet an American, Mr. Moulton, for I am one of those who believe that the folly of a monarch and the blundering of a minister in far-gone years will not prevent our children from being citizens of the same world-wide country under a flag which shall be a quartering of the Union Jack with the Stars and Stripes."

Okay, let's also ignore how a guy whose brother "was" the British government thinks that America and Britain are going to team up and take over the whole world, and get to that blundering part. Yes, there's a lot to ignore there, including that flag, but back to "blundering."

The monarch of folly, we have seen in the Hamilton musical, of course, King George the Third.

But the blundering monarch, Lord North (his courtesy title -- let's not get into how you have to use first names on second sons like Lord Robert St. Simon for the moment) a.k.a. Frederick North, the Second Earl of Guilford, as his friends surely called him, was often seen as "the incompetent who lost the American colonies." (Hey, Wikipedia says!)

So, fresh off of his appointment in 1770, Lord Freddy North (as we disrespectful American bloggers are now going to call him) stopped Spain from taking over the Falkland Islands and was all full of himself, as one would be. Some longtime political activists in American did that big tea dump in Boston, and Freddy decided to punish the city of Boston, closing their port, taking over their state government, and declaring that any officials of the Crown accused of a crime got to have their case decided in England and that all witnesses for the prosecution had to pay their own travel fees to cross the Atlantic for the trial. (So basically, Brits with a government appointment could get away with anything.)  George Washington called that last part "the Murder Act," as it basically allowed it. 

So, having ticked America off, Lord Freddy told some Sackville guy and the Earl of Sandwich. (Yep, that Earl of Sandwich!) to deal with figuring out how to deal with the rebels. (Does this make the Earl of Sandwich Lord Freddy's Darth Vader?) That didn't work, he then went "Hey, America, we'll take back all the BS if you quit fighting us!" and America went "Nope!" Lord Freddy was forced out of office in 1782 with a motion of no confidence, having basically blundered his way into losing the middle of North America. (Let's pretend all of the above was a "Drunk History" report and not a sober Sherlockian's recitation, shall we?

On the good side, Fred didn't screw up Canada for England during his term. He saved that for some PM in this century. (Now's your chance, Canada! They're distracted!)

So there you have it, the Prime Minister whom Sherlock Holmes insulted the worst. Was he also giving the current Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury (not the salisbury steak Salisbury!), the compliment of being the potential PM to ally with American and take over the world with that crazy flag?

Could be. The guy did have Mycroft working for him. And not so blundering, I guess.

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