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Opinion: Nik Butler, @loudmouthman

“Remember remember the fifth of November; Gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder, treason; Should ever be forgot.”

The day itself appears to have become a vastly underrated event as it is mostly overshadowed by Halloween. Possibly because the American tradition of pumpkin-carving, along with the excess of fancy dress, has ingratiated itself upon our culture.

Before retailers unleash the festive power of their seasonal line-up, we have a short burst of fireworks, wood smoke and sparklers, then the date passes by with only the spent rockets and empty cardboard littering the gutters as a reminder. This very British celebration is overlooked as an opportunity to remember how we maintained our independence and remained protesters against establishment. Occurring in 1605, it predates American Independence by over 150 years.

In a time without the internet, without emails, without CCTV , without forensics or Facebook, a terrorist plot was uncovered, the criminals were caught and members of the public were encouraged to make effigies and take pictures. Okay, that last part is not true. A terrorist attack on the government which did not require said government to institute a snooper’s charter or insist on a national identity card scheme for every member of the country. How did they survive?

This was an era devoid of Prime Ministers, news agencies, police forces or The X Factor, so did they really have it so bad? The 17th Century was a formative time for young governments and for science, and the course of history may have been markedly different had Parliament and the King been destroyed.

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