"Ever since the Industrial Revolution and the advancement of machines over that of man's labour, the working classes have never allowed themselves to be trodden on. As a nation, Great Britain has and will always remain great, largely because we refused to be ruled or governed by those who live offshore.The Vikings couldn't do it, the Romans couldn't do it, and soon the European Union shall discover that they cannot do it either!
There is a determination, a downright doggedness dug deep into the heart of an English man that comes to the fore whenever respect towards him is found wanting; particularly when he displays outright defiance against all odds in his Churchillian challenge: 'If that's all you have to throw at me mate, do your worse then!' We witnessed this bulldog spirit during the 'Second World War' when we took on the might of Hitler's Germany; despite being greatly outnumbered in manpower, weaponry and fighting planes, whilst other friendly countries decided not to join the fight until the enemy entered their backyards and bloodied their nose. We saw this very same 'get up and go' spirit during the height of the German nightly bombings, during the Blitz. We witnessed the courage and bravery of our pilots fighting and winning the war of the airways as they engaged in dogfights in the London skies with superior German planes.
Brave English men and women in the emergency services of ambulance and fire brigade risked their lives daily as they battled on like angels of the night, retrieving injured and dead bodies from beneath the collapsed houses and ruined buildings which had been flattened to the ground, whilst all around them, bombs continued to drop from the sky, gas mains exploded and fires broke out. Imagine the sheer guts and courage it took to take a crying baby from the arms of its dead mother and after leaving it safe, display sufficient composure to return to the carnage and repeat the process. Then, in the morning after a night of heavy bombing, when householders awoke and saw only one house in their street still standing, what else did these brave women whose houses had been levelled to the ground and reduced to rubble do? They found their doorstep amid the rubble, cleaned and whitened it for future use before sending their children off to school, while they prepared for another day of defying the enemy.
Even, part way through the war when the British forces were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk on the French coast and faced being wiped out by the mighty German Army, every British small boat holder and owner of any vessel which was capable of floating, risked their lives by sailing to Dunkirk and brought our soldier boys back home, so they could fight another day. Even the 'dogfights' in the sky over London, saw badly outnumbered British pilots flying inferior planes to their enemy, win the battle of the air with their skill, bravery, guts and sheer doggedness. As Winston Churchill said, 'Never was so much owed to so few by so many!'
I remember a Probation colleague of mine in Huddersfield called David Toothill. David always told it as he saw it. He expressed precisely what he felt in his bluntest of Yorkshire ways, which invariably included a few choice swear words. David once pointed out to me how foolish it was to underestimate the underdog. I paraphrase: 'It is often found in many settings from prisons through to hospitals, schools, probation offices and even the Houses of Parliament, that those on the bottom rung of the ladder will always be able to frustrate and beat those at the top!' David told me during a time when the main grade Probation Officers in Huddersfield were at loggerheads with their seniors over some particular procedure that management was needlessly insisting upon. Without repeating the numerous expletives he used within his explanation, my paraphrased version of David's words are as follows:
'In any fight between the Masters and the men, the working class will always emerge as top dog, Bill, because the middle-class bosses aren't like us. Whereas they were brought up to play by the rules, the working classes were brought up to first survive. And if that means kicking them in the goolies when they're on the ground and then burying them, so be it!'
I've never forgotten David's view about getting one over on one's betters, although I very much doubt he ever did see anyone who he would acknowledge as being better than him. A bit like the British bulldog spirit, I think, don't you?" William Forde: October 9th, 2017.