INDEX I recently attended a wedding in Essex, England, and at the reception, one of the guests decided to pick a fight with me over the subject of preserving an old fort which dates back to Napoleon's time which had been built in the same locality. In 1808 construction supposedly began by French prisoners of war who were forced to build this fort as part of England's defenses against a Napoleonic invasion, which of course Napoleon never undertook.

INDEXThe fort was never used for its intended purpose, and neither did it ever fire a shot in anger at any enemy, but that did not stop the military from trying to find a use for it as a means of wasting the taxpayers' money. This doubtful bit of military usefulness was remodeled "in order to accommodate increasingly heavy guns, as technology and the perceived threat changed" [claims Wikipedia, that dubious fountain of knowledge which comes with its own caveats as to accuracy.] So it was that in 1861 more money was wasted and again in 1872, and yet again in 1903 to accommodate ever bigger guns for use against enemies that never showed up.

INDEXIn the 1920s the fort's surroundings were bought by the local council who built houses in the fort's line of fire, and the fort itself was allowed to fall apart. But not being ones to ignore the chance of wasting money, the military took it over again in WWII as a jail for British troops awaiting trial. Then it was used by British Civil Defence until they were disbanded and the place was once more ignored.

INDEXWith more money than commonsense, this heap of rubbish was listed in 1969 as an 'ancient monument' (the Nineteenth Century is 'ancient'?), and that allowed even more money to be wasted on this nonsense. The restorers went to work and discovered the main part of one old gun that had been pushed into the old moat surrounding the fort, when that gun had become obsolete years ago, but it impractical to recycle it as scrap.

INDEXSo the Harwich Redoubt is now staffed by volunteers who have allowed it to be filled up with various artifacts depicting the years since this 'Monument to Waste' was first built. Guns that now deck its walls have been 'borrowed' from all manner of locations so that very few of them can be claimed as genuine artifacts, and one sign indicates that all firearms shown are imitations!

INDEXThe best bit is that the fort's parade ground on the lower level which is used for battle re-enactments during the summer months. This has to be a prime example of what is wrong with British history, because there is nothing to reenact!

INDEX'Britain' as a country was only created in 1707 (with the abolition of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland). That was just a handful of years before 1776 and the birth of the confederate USA, which means that this 'ancient monument' is younger than the original USA! But if we factor in that the USA as a nation was born after the ratification of its written Constitution in 1789, and that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was not created until 1801, but that the current configuration of the UK did not take place until late into the Twentieth Century, then the UK is a very young, and very undemocratic nation. It is undemocratic because 'The People' of the UK have never written and ratified a Constitution; they have an unelected Queen who represents an unelected Crown institution; an unelected Privy Council and half of its Parliament remains unelected.

INDEXSo what's with this nonsense that is celebrated as an 'ancient monument' which only depicts a waste of money? It is doubtful that many of the volunteers who look after this pile of rubbish know the history of the United Kingdom which it was supposed to defend. It will be interesting to see how far the movement towards Scottish independence will go, because the English certainly need to learn about their own history and how much Scotland contributed towards the birth of the USA. It will be one way for the people of England to learn just how undemocratic their government in London really is, and what a total distraction from reality its monuments really are.

August 6, 2011INDEXmore