I was fortunate to have been able to study History at University, so for some time have been aware of the uniqueness of our country, the fact that we have not been subdued by a hostile invasion in almost a thousand years is based on something. Our unparalleled success over hundreds of years as a global trading nation and leader of global commerce does not come out of the blue. Our awe inspiring and unrivalled history of invention, development and innovation in the evolution of the modern world where, despite being only 22nd in the world by population we are 2nd in the world by number of Nobel prizes. These and many other fantastic achievements have combined over the passage of time to produce citizens with a unique outlook on the world, they are industrious, inventive, adventurous, argumentative, determined, even handed and courageous. This has been the British way for 100`s of years.
There are countless examples of this throughout our history, a prime example where we saw this displayed was in the Napoleonic wars. Now, France and Great Britain have very similar sized populations whilst, in 1800, Great Britains population was around 10 million while France had a population of over 30 million ! Our navy, our principal defence, was substantially smaller than that of our continental superpower enemy and her allies. The vessels were basically the same (many of the ships in the British Navy were originally captured French warships), their ships generally had more cannons than ours and the individual practical skills of the sailors were comparable. What was different was our attitudes and beliefs. Our navy encouraged initiative, recognised intelligent pragmatism and embraced a level of meritocracy unparalleled for the time and then backed it up with a training regime that institutionalised excellence. This was our secret to success against a much larger enemy with substantially greater resources.
I would therefore contend, that what marks us as different is our culture, temperament and attitudes. Underpinning and intertwined with that is our legal system. A system that can trace its origins back to the Anglo Saxon shire courts and has evolved alongside us since then.
Return to The English Channel tomorrow for Part 2.
Mark Davies completed a degree in British History at Leeds University in 1982, before going onto a career in the IT industry. He has worked for a number of leading companies such as ICL, SkillsGroup and EDS, rising to senior executive roles in sales. He gained wide experience doing business across both the public and private sector marketplaces throughout the UK and internationally.
Mark now has an interest in a number of smaller businesses and is semi-retired, and stood as a parliamentary candidate for UKIP in the 2015 and 2017 General Election.