Tuesday, 18 January 2011

My Five Greatest Men and Women - Part Two and Three

British History has never ceased to amaze me, especially the study of Modern British Politics. The passion and audacity of politicians in the latter part of the 20th Century is something that we now rarely see. The Eighties was ruled by the vigorous and overwhelming Mrs. Thatcher and her great adversary Neil Kinnock, the infatuating orator who bought a divided party of militants and moderates together.

However, although Number Two was a leading figure in the Labour Party's history, it is not Mr. Kinnock I speak of.

Harold Wilson, another great British Prime Minister - The Prime Minister who bought about some of the greatest social reforms in Britain. It is not necessarily Mr Wilson's economic policy that i admire, but more so his policy on issues such as Race, Women and Homosexuality.

I first came across the Labour Prime Minister when studying History at A Level. My British History teacher at the time presented Wilson in such a way that I could fully appreciate how progressive the Race Relations Act, Sexual Offences Act and Abortion Legislation were.

It is somewhat a shame that the Labour party has somewhat devolved from it's old principles. Nonetheless, it is good to look back and admire a man who made Britain a much fairer and progressive society.

Number Three

Those of you who know me well will acknowledge my infatuation with one sport in particular, Rugby Union.

Admittedly, I'm not the best player of the game - in fact quite far off.

Nonetheless, I play the game because I so enjoy it. I love the speed and physicality of a game, where every inch, every centimeter hangs a win in the balance.

However, I have become quite concerned with the sport and the way it is going. Lets face it, Rugby Players are getting bigger and bigger. The game has become less about agility, speed and fast thinking, it's become more about bulk and force.

The voice of Rugby as he is so often called, Bill McLaren. The man with the highland accent, whose voice I will forever associate with that beautiful game. Bill McLaren to me, represents Rugby when it was a game of intelligence and spontaneity.

Do not get me wrong, not all Rugby has taken this form. Many Rugby teams and societies dis encourage the practice of all means necessary of getting bigger. Nonetheless, I was conversing with a Liberal Democrat colleague recently, and he was a keen player in the 70s, perhaps McLaren's greatest era and he recalled the immense excitement of the game at this time. However, he agreed with me that some young people involved in the game are taking it too seriously and endangouring their own health.

I believe Bill McLaren, as a logical and compassionate man, would look down on such practices.

I grew up watching Rugby with my mum (and occasionally my dad) hearing McLaren's voice booming over the game, describing every pass, every tackle, and every sidestep in a beautiful and poetic fashion.
In a god like way, McLaren's voice watched over Rugby Union and the efforts he made to getting young people involved in the sport firmly situate him in My Five Greatest Men and Women.

As stadiums fell deathly silent in tribute to the great man, one could not help but feel a part of Rugby Union that had once lived, had now died.

On the anniversary of his death tomorrow, Rugby will remember Bill Mclaren.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

My Five Greatest Men and Women - Part 1.

There have been many human beings who have stood out from the norm. Men and women who have showed mankind that they are leaders and revolutionaries. Throughout human history, the majority of man has been the average being trying to live a life of peace, happiness and respect. However, this has not been a fundamental attribute to man's existence. The pursuit of happiness has been ensured by great leaders of people, grand dignitaries who have protected the fundamental rights and privileges of the often vulnerable citizens of planet earth.

In the twentieth century the world was scarred and battered by many wars and conflicts that tore the fabric of international peace and plunged many people into an age of fear and oppression. Those who stood tall were knocked from their place as a plague of violence and conflict spread across Europe. However, one man held a nation together. The Prime Minister of Britain, Winston Spencer Churchill a leader of people, a man of untenable strength, a powerful man. Regardless of party affiliations, Churchill is undeniably one of Britain's greatest war time leaders. The Prime Minister provided the British people with a sense of patriotism and pride that would guide them through an evil and inhumane conflict. Prime Minister Churchill challenged the forces that doubted his fearlessness in the face of a brutal adversaries.

However, Churchill was not a flawless man. His Black Dog (as the Prime Minister liked to call it) that clung to his shoulder represented the dark and depressed side of a man of great intelligence and wit. Perhaps, the end of the Churchill's confidence and strength came with his electoral loss in 1945. The former Prime Minister was considered the greatest tool of war for Britain at a time of conflict, but an unnecessary harbinger of brutality and hostility at a time of peace.

Nonetheless, Churchill is remembered as a grand icon of peace and freedom. Nothing can take away the great pride the British people feel when they hear the irreplaceable orator's speeches. His voice rose from the shattered and collapsed buildings on the streets of London and inspired a nation to pursue peace and follow the road to reconciliation and mutual understanding.

Winston Churchill will remain forever Britain.