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The FEUDAL HERALD

An Online Newsletter from The Baronage Press
featuring Heraldry and related subjects

Vol. 2, No. 11-12, November-December 2000

The Baronage Press Website
may be reached directly at
http://www.baronage.co.uk


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Copyright (c) 2000 by Pegasus Associates Ltd and The Baronage Press



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CONTENTS

* A Welcome and an Explanation
* Two Elections
* Al-Gore-ism
* The Princess Royal
* Estoile's scrapbook

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A WELCOME AND AN EXPLANATION

The purpose of this newsletter is to link regular BARONAGE readers to those articles in the magazine that might interest them, so in it you should find mention of the art, symbolism and meaning of heraldry, and, from time to time, of the history, politics, warfare, chivalry, books, cinema and other entertainment to which heraldry has thematic links.

As many readers will have suspected, the non-appearance of this newsletter in November arose from the continuation of our problems with those hostile forces who feel threatened by the exposure of the Internet's bogus title and arms scams.
Details are published on the Contents page of the current issue (or non-issue) of the magazine. In brief, someone infiltrated a virus past our defences and wiped out the work of the last six months (we were backing up at the time and it invaded the secondary disks). This work included the text and graphic material prepared for the November-December issue (which we hope to rebuild and to publish in January).
Additionally, the ".baronage" mailbox has been under bombardment with hundreds of e-mails arriving hourly. In consequence we have closed it down while we examine alternative systems that will allow us to filter out the junk while admitting genuine e-mails.
The special issue of this newsletter intended to inform readers of the expansion plans will be published within a week or so.

TWO ELECTIONS

The last two weeks have seen two elections bizarrely linked.

In the United Kingdom the retirement of Parliament's much-admired Speaker (who fulfils the duties of a chairman in the House of Commons, Britain's chamber of constituency representatives) required her replacement to be appointed. In times past the most suitable candidate has emerged from among those best qualified and has been approved by the other members is a sober and dignified way (although in the way of tradition the popular choice feigned reluctance and was then physically dragged to the Speaker's Chair). This time, however, there were a large number of candidates, none of whom showed any of the traditional reluctance. This time most of the candidates had election campaigns and made electoral promises to potential supporters. It was most disappointing.

The winner was a man who had allegedly promised a large block of female members that he would look kindly on their demands for a more Politically Correct House of Commons (such demands including the right to breast-feed children in the debating chamber, and to have the hours of Parliament's business modified to allow mothers to see more of their families). The winner was also the man who had been most heavily backed to win at the bookmakers. (Incredible, is it not, that a Member of Parliament could place his bet on someone winning the Speakership, and could then go and vote for his choice? But it is not incredible -- in fact it was to be expected -- that the man on whom most money was placed was the man who won with the most votes.)
The Speaker's office is of huge constitutional importance in the United Kingdom, and among commoners its holder ranks second only to the Prime Minister. It is thus not unnatural to consider his election in the context of the election in the United States of the new President. This, also, was controversial in much of its proceedings, the final choice being confirmed only after dimples had sought parity with holes, and after the Supreme Court had been required to determine indirectly the wishes of the People.
The bizarre link between these two elections, between the President of the United States of America and the Speaker of the House of Commons in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, was forged by those who wish to abolish the British monarchy. Prior to these two elections the anti-monarchists advocated (among other less practical schemes) the Head of State either being elected in the manner of the American President, or being ex officio the Speaker of the House of Commons. We must thus be grateful to those who have illustrated so clearly the absurdity of our choosing the replacement of our Sovereign Lady with a procedure that could encourage antics such as those of the lawyers in Florida, or with the ex officio nomination of a man whose principal qualifications might be limited to Politically Correct views on breast-feeding in public.

AL-GORE-ISM

Although "algorism" originally meant the Arabic system of arithmetic, it has in recent years been extended to mean "the skill of computation using any system of numerals". In view of the arithmetical computation exhibited in Florida this month the modern meaning seems especially apt.



THE PRINCESS ROYAL

We were all delighted to read the announcement that Princess Anne has become a Lady of the Thistle, joining Scotland's Order of the Thistle as one of only three ladies this century.

We are to publish an article on the Thistle's early origins in a future issue of the BARONAGE magazine.


heraldry - Estoile on shield
heraldry - Estoile on shield
A page from Estoile's Scrapbook

( A fanfare of trumpets )

Princess Anne's admission to the Order of the Thistle mentioned above calls to mind the various origins accorded to the plant's importance in Scottish history. One of the more picturesque places this in 1010 when an army of Danes landed on the east coast to attack Slains Castle. They approached at night (quite reasonable!), and to maintain silence removed their shoes (on moorland - absurd!). When they reached the castle's moat they jumped in to swim across it (pure Hollywood!), but the moat was dry and overgrown with thistles. The screams of the barefoot invaders roused the garrison from slumber and the castle was saved.
Yes, it is easy to laugh, but this sort of story is still told in guide books written for tourists, and is retold by guides leading tour parties around Scotland's historic sites. Remember, if you intend to visit Scotland as a tourist, do not forget to bring with you a generous supply of scepticism.
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