It is not an accident that children have always learnt history best when they have studied it chronologically through reigns. Nor is it an accident that teachers who want to attack our national narrative always want to take kings and queens out of it, and replace it with a series of "themes" designed to show that everyone except the rich has had a miserable time.'
So writes that fine British journalist Charles Moore (whose equally perspicacious articles about Israel, especially this and this, stand out as beacons of fairness, integrity and commonsense) in today's London Daily Telegraph at the end of a piece about the Queen's Jubilee celebrations.
Moore is absolutely right. History as traditionally taught in British schools has long been a (no pun intended) thing of the past. The names of successive British monarchs and their dates, and the exploits of such onetime heroes as Marlborough and Clive of India have been relegated to the dust. Leftwing prejudice and political correctness in the education system have seen to that. The effects are deleterious. You have only to look at television quiz programmes in the land of the mother of parliaments to see the ignorance displayed.
Older contestants who left school at 15 or 16 typically trounce younger ones when it comes to questions such as the purpose of Magna Carta or the dates of the English Civil War or the nature of Monmouth's rebellion or what national victory was (within, I think, living memory) commemorated on 21 October each year. Even history graduates, since they lacked a basic grounding at school in the chronology and constitutional development of their own country and studied other areas of history at tertiary level, are frequently left floundering when faced with such questions.
Children are deliberately given the impression that the British Empire was a shameful thing, with no redeeming qualities. Lord William Bentinck's suppression of suttee and thugee? In a topsy turvy left-liberal educational world that teaches that all cultures are relative, such things are best forgotten.
Manipulative and mind-bending, the BBC nowadays rarely makes a series on British history that is without a political agenda informing the narrative. One series, a gripping and enjoyable one about the glories of Bronze Age Britain, depicted the Roman Invasion as a disaster for the already highly civilised and skilled native population, which for all I know was a fair enough thesis.
But at the end came the propaganda, overtly voiced: since the British had known the sorrows of military occupation it ill-behoved their descendants to militarily occupy Iraq!
Most of the time, however, the agenda is vigorously to push the line that Britain, or at least the English part of it, has always been a multicultural society.
One of the most egregious instances of manipulated history is on the BBC's website for children, in one of the items connected with the Queen's Jubilee.
The last time the Island Nation was invaded was, of course, way back in 1066. Barring the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands Britain has not been invaded since.
And yet the manipulative, mind-bending BBC makes the following extraordinary claim:
"Throughout our history [my emphasis], Britain has been invaded, occupied by foreign armies and had loads of people coming and going."Another instance of this type found its way onto the children's website in the wake of 9/11. This was the equally extraordinary claim that the first Muslim community to settle in Britain did so in, if I remember the precise date correctly, 1625.
That meant that the first Muslim community arrived in Britain in the year that James the First died and Charles the First acceded to the throne. In other words, an entire generation before London's tiny Jewish community (generally held to be the earliest non-Christian community in Britain) was officially allowed to exist openly in the realm following the Expulsion of 1290.
Why had I never heard of this early Muslim community? Who were they? (I'd vaguely heard that Barbary corsairs arrived in the Bristol Channel in the first half of the seventeenth century, kidnapping coastal villagers as slaves, but these raiders were hardly a community of settlers, and in any case I doubted that the BBC, given its sensibilities, would wish to publicise them.)
I emailed CBBC politely asking for more information. A reply was never forthcoming.
But sometime between that day and this they appear to have taken the statement down.
Funny about that, eh?