01 May 2007

Evil May Day

Today is the 490th anniversary of the (appropriately named) xenophobic Evil May Day riot (also Ill May Day) that took place in the City of London in 1517. If nothing else it is yet another reminder of what happens when people listen to demagogues (as if history isn’t full of examples...).

Two weeks before the riot an inflammatory speech was made at St Paul’s Cross (a preaching cross outside the cathedral). The speaker Dr Bell called on all "Englishmen to cherish and defend themselves, and to hurt and grieve aliens for the common weal".

Over the next two weeks there were sporadic attacks on foreigners but things came to a head late on 1 May. Although a 9pm curfew was announced for the night of 30 April/1 May a mob of apprentices (who in those times seemed to form the backbone of any riot!) formed which over the next few hours attacked foreigners, looted their houses and freed prisoners jailed for previous attacks on foreigners

The under-sheriff of London, Thomas More (later canonised of course but never cannonised as he was in the Simpsons!), unsuccessfully tried to disperse the mob. The riot subsided after a few hours. Nobody was killed during the riot but several hundred rioters were arrested of which 13 were tried for treason and executed on 4 May.


beakerkin said...


What is going on with the respect camps in the UK? This seems a tad far fetched but sending people for sensitivity training for being anti-social is a tad extreeme.

There has been some talk on American talk radio and this has to be an exageration. If someone were to make jokes about hooligans at sporting events or people who talk to inanimate objects like cars, plants and toaster ovens could one end up in one of these classes.

This may not sound so far fetched
as I have heard horror stories about the antics of the local domestic violence program. The sad part is that the local program does not deal with the accompaning alcohol or drug problems. More to the point it provides dangerous advice such as if you are angry with your spouse walking away is a form of agression. They do not teach people how to express their anger in a productive manner. They do go off into idiotic territory such as calling your other your life companion. House plants are called "botanical companions".

Anonymous said...

Kawania che Keekeru!

Happy St. Tammany's Day, tmw! It isn't an evil day in the USA!

Anonymous said...

Kawania che Keekeru!

Happy St. Tammany's Day, jams!

I'm so confused....

CC said...

May Day! May Day! May Day!

Of course, in the mini-Mexico that is Houston, the big day is May 5. Cinco De Mayo and birthday of my Sunbum.

jams o donnell said...

Beakerin some of the ASB programmes are probably a very good idea, but they will not work with incorrigibles and of course they need drug and alcohol treatment programmes. The government has improved access to drug treatment programme but more is needed.

In theory some of those mentioned could be eleigible fotr those programmes but in reality I doubt it would be applied.

St Tammany? Tammany Hall was the NY Democrat HQ wasnt it? or am I way off Farmer john?? Evil May Day is long forgotten here!

Ah in which case enjoy Saturday ewbl!

Anonymous said...

The Sons of Saint Tammany existed long before the NY Democrats usurped the organizations bones in the nineteenth century. And the "Sainting" of Tammany goes back to at least 1738, Philadelphia. Tammanend was the Delaware Chief who sold William Penn his original land at the founding of the Pennsylvania Colony.

And Tammany was the Chief who signed over hunting and fishing rights, in perpetuity, to all his open oodlands to the Phildelphia members of the Schuylkill Fishing Company and Company of Fort St. David's, thereby preventing the "Crown" from barring Robin of Loxley and his Merry Men from Sherwood Forest! These Philadelphia revellers eventually teamed up with members of the Gloucester Fox Hunting Club to form the First Troop, Philadelphia Cavalry... and found the US Marine Corps. Fish House Punch, anyone?

But mums the word. I'm allowed to crow these tales on on May 1st, or on the sly, because I never joined a Philadelphia Fire Company (founded by Dr. Ben Franklin) or celebrated with the New Year's Shooters. I only go to mummers parades on New Years Day and watch them play "Oh, those Golden Slippers" on a kazoo or put on skits of St. George vs. the Dragon...

Of St. George or St. Bute, let the poet laureat sing,
Of Pharaoh or Pluto of old,
While he rimes forth their praise, in false flattering lays,
I'll sing of St. Tamm'ny the bold, my brave boys.
Let Hibernia's sons boast, make Patrick their toast,
And Scots Andrew's fame spread abroad,
Potatoes and oates and Welch Leeks, for Welch goats,
Was never St. Tammany's food, my brave boys.
In freedom's bright cause, Tammany pled with applause,
And reason'd most justly from nature;
For this, this was his song, all, all the day long,
Liberty's the right of each creature, brave boys.

E Pluribus Unum!

jams o donnell said...

Err thanks Farmer John....

Anonymous said...

My pleasure. I enjoyed your post on St. George the other day... thought I might "return the favour", so to speak.

jams o donnell said...

YIu're welcome.. I think I may not have understood one or two of the references!