In years gone by, children were taught about the exploits of our nation’s heroes as they learned to love their country. Now, a ragbag army of left-wing zealots and their ill-educated acolytes are on the march, determined, by reinventing the past, to dictate the future – under their heel heroes must be stamped down and the concept of heroism itself obliterated.
Patriots should not and must not let the truth of our island story be so dishonestly re-written. In late 1803 Napoleon Bonaparte began to mass French forces in Calais in preparation for an invasion of Britain. Napoleon always knew that Britain must be crushed if his dominance of continental Europe was to be secured, which is why he prepared a huge invasion force of 130,000 troops and a flotilla of 2,000 ships to carry them across the channel. In the end, Napoleon’s invasion never happened because Britain’s command of the seas frustrated his plans. In 1805 the French fleet was destroyed at Trafalgar, bringing the imminent threat of invasion to an end. If it hadn’t been for the efforts and tactical genius of one man, Horatio, Lord Nelson, the history of our country, and by extension the whole of Europe, might well have been radically different. So it is little wonder that Nelson is considered one of our greatest heroes.
Yet, it is a mark of the bewildering times in which we live that some would like to topple Nelson from his column.
The National Maritime Museum has apparently announced a review of his ‘heroic status’, with dDirector Paddy Rodgers reiterating his belief that, in light of the Black Lives Matters protests, “museums have a role to play in offering multiple perspectives on our history in a way that clarifies people’s ability to reflect on their identity.”
Notwithstanding early signs that Maritime Museum bosses – following pressure from 25 Common Sense Group MPs – may be backpedalling, what is required is unequivocal confirmation by those missioned to protect and promote the reputation of one of England’s greatest heroes that Nelson’s greatness is not in question.
It is of little matter to those who want to falsify history that Britain abolished the slave trade in 1807, just two years after Nelson’s untimely death at Trafalgar.
If it hadn’t been for Nelson’s victory Britain would not have possessed the naval power necessary to enforce a ban against the wishes of countries that wanted to perpetuate this barbaric trade in human souls.
Quite simply, if not for Nelson, the slave trade may have endured.
But none of these truths matter to the culture warriors, for all they want is for history is reinvented in their image.
Heroes are vital to our shared sense of identity.
By embodying the spirit of their times, they help to bring historical truths to life, building our collective understanding of how our nation was forged.
In other words, heroes help to bring us all together; whereas those who wish to destroy Nelson’s image want to pull us apart as for such Cultural Marxists, identity must always be defined by a sense of grievance.
Rather than building social harmony, they scheme to spread discord; rather than extending opportunity, they plan to trap people in narrowly defined groups; rather than fostering shared patriotic pride, they deride our colonial history, dismissing our worldwide contribution to civilisation across generations.
Heroes offer us hope, an understanding that through dutiful endeavour we can make a difference.
It’s therefore little wonder then that they have no place in the ‘brave new world’ the culture warriors of Black Lives Matter and other fellow travelling extremist movements plot to impose on us.
Nelson’s story doesn’t end with his death at Trafalgar.
He played a key role, illustrating the emotive power of history, when Britain once again faced an imminent threat of invasion by a foreign dictator.
In 1940, Winston Churchill dispatched his friend, the great Hungarian-born movie impresario, Alexandar Korda, to Hollywood with a mission to persuade America to enter the war.
In response, Korda turned to the story of Lord Nelson, producing That Hamilton Woman staring Vivien Leigh and Laurence Oliver.
In the film Oliver delivers the line, “you cannot make peace with dictators, you have to destroy them, wipe them out.’’
It is even rumoured that Churchill wrote the line himself.
The inspiring story of Lord Nelson helped to persuade American public opinion that war was inevitable.
The USA entered the conflict just a few months after the film was released, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Nelson is a hero because his story can inspire us all, regardless of backgrounds and circumstances.
His story is ultimately one of dedication and duty.
As we were all once taught, he lost both his right eye and right arm in service to our nation, ultimately sacrificing his life as well.
Perhaps it’s his patriotism, encapsulated by his famous signal before the battle of Trafalgar, “England expects every man to do his duty”, that has set the culture warriors against him.
We live in an age where many rights rights without obligations, power without responsibility.
The story of Nelson, like that of other great national heroes, such as Winston Churchill, teaches us that through service and sacrifice, men and women reach the apex of human endeavour.
So compelling is such heroism that many of Britain’s colonial subjects, notably in Africa and the West Indies, named their children Nelson, Winston and Gordon, after men who were amongst the Empire’s greatest sons.