Whose England is it?

19 05 2014

Image

Photo courtesy of Arthur Uther Pendragon.

Sometimes you see a photograph that makes you stop and think. This picture of King Arthur Pendragon in the mist at Stonehenge is one of those.

King Arthur Pendragon? Surely I am in the wrong century?

No, I’m in the here and now.

For those who don’t know the 21st C Arthur, The Pendragon believes he is the reincarnation of the 5th C King, returned to save his land – England – from destruction. Over the years, he and his Loyal Arthurian Warband have challenged environmental damage through the courts or by direct action; not always with the support of the wider public but certainly with a passionate belief in what he and his band are doing. Predictably, it has made him many friends – and many enemies. The point of this blog entry isn’t to examine Arthur’s claims but to discuss this beautiful photograph. However, if you are interested in learning about the man, there is a link to his autobiography and his Druid order at the end of this post.

I first met Arthur at the end of the 1990s in Yorkshire. He was good company and didn’t mind sharing his beer. Or his ideas. He was fascinating to listen to as he told us about his plans to protect his land and bring back some of the ancient respects between humans and their land. Yes, some called him a dreamer (amongst other things) but his passionate belief in what he was doing also showed him as a man of vision, even if that vision was not one shared widely in England. But – listening to him – no-one could doubt in the least that he understood the ancient contract between man and the land.

The years passed and Arthur was active in many campaigns, He was a frequent visitor to the courts, either as a litigant or as a defendant. He saw the inside of prison a fair few times. It didn’t deter him. He lived his vision. The Pendragon was – and remains – an able orator and defender of his dream. Those of us who had the unmitigated pleasure of seeing him debate head to head with Professor Ron Hutton in Croydon about whether Arthur Pendragon was real or not have a memory to cherish. It was a stunning debate from both men.

In short, Arthur got on with it.

And so did England. It became a land ruled by a minority whose economic interests were as far removed from the ancient contract as it could be. A land whose wildlife is under threat in the interests of Mammon. A land where the sick and seriously ill have been subjected to harassments ending in deaths. A land where – quite literally – big companies intend to cut away beneath the ground underfoot.

This is not Arthur’s England. This is not the England of the many friends I have in that country. It begs the question:

Whose England is it?

So, fast forward to this photograph. What do I see?

I see a man photographed unawares. I see a troubled King deep in contemplation, as if the weight of his world was becoming an unbearable burden. And regardless of whether you buy into Arthur Pendragon reincarnated or not, I see a symbol of much that is decent about England troubled by the direction his country is taking.

 

Links:

Biography of Arthur Pendragon: http://tinyurl.com/mdt9ypv

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arthur.rex.984?fref=ts

Loyal Arthurian Warband: http://www.warband.org.uk/about-arthur.html