Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Images from the birthday party

  • Councillor Gary Millar, of Liverpool City Council, declaims to the crowd assembled in front of my statue in St John's Garden, Liverpool;
  • Councillor Hazel Williams, deputy Lord Mayor of Liverpool, prepares to lay a wreath;
  • detail of wreath;
  • display from bicentenary exhibition in St George's Hall, Liverpool;
  • detail from the magnificent statue erected by the good people of Liverpool in my honour.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Birthday celebrations

The last time I spoke in public it was to a crowd of some 7,000 in my home city of Liverpool when I took the opportunity to denounce the massacres of the Armenians. Today a gathering a mere one per cent of this size gathered to join me in my 200th birthday celebrations in this great English city - but it was a large and warm enough crowd to cheer the heart of an elderly gentleman.
I do wonder that I have become such a person of inconsequence that my successor as Prime Minister or successor as leader of the Liberal Party could not attend. Nevertheless, it is stated that a prophet is not without honour except in his home, and it is gratifying indeed to be honoured in your own home city when you are such an age as I.

Within the city's magnificent St George's Hall, a series of lectures was delivered, leading me to the verge of weeping as they recalled the sounds and sights of my childhood in a city on the brink of transition.

I am able to share some moving pictures now, thanks to the wonders of telegraph transmission, of the laying of a wreath. Shortly I shall share some further photographs and discuss the very moving and appropriate contribution to the proceedings made by the excellent Mr Steve Binns, who is the city's community historian.


Remember the opium wars

The account of the sad,mad gentleman who has been deprived of life by the Chinese authorities for the carrying of substantial amounts of narcotic substances is distressing.

Nevertheless it ill befits ministers of Her Majesty's government to treat the matter as of diplomatic importance or as an affront to British pride, or even to British values.

For it is barely some 150 years since this nation, most shamefully, went to war with China to enforce the smuggling of drugs into that great country. Her Majesty's ministers are quite entitled to express regret about this present incident, but not dismay, as in the Chinese mind this too readily sounds like a nation that has forgotten the opium trade.

We are no longer a nation who goes to war because a pirate loses his ear. China is a great nation with a great past and a momentous future. There are many breaches of the rights of its citizens for which it can be criticised, now and in the recent past. Its justice is harsh but we should not as a nation look foolish by seeking confrontation over the fate of proven criminals.

My birthday!

It is now 200 years since the date of my arrival in this world. It's my birthday!