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Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent
To blow up King and Parliament.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

Most Americans know this rhyme only vaguely from the movie V for Vendetta because, of course, we went through rather a rough patch with the British monarchy before our recent love affair with certain Royals and the fairly recent Special Relationship. It has a deep resonance in Britain to this day as an act that saved the monarchy from the evils of Popery and assorted other things, as this rhyme makes plain:

A penny loaf to feed the Pope
A farthing o’ cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
Then we’ll say ol’ Pope is dead.
Hip hip hoorah!
Hip hip hoorah hoorah!

Now, however, it seems that one of the quintessentially British holidays—the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot and Guy Fawkes, patsy, decidedly back-to-the-future jihadist, not-so-skilled master bomb maker, and symbol of Protestant hegemony in Merry Olde England—is possibly being regulated out of existence.

  • Burn the Guy?
  • Time to stop celebrating centuries of religious intolerance?
  • Classic bureaucratic over-regulation?
  • Parallels to the regulation of fireworks in the USA? (Lots of people do get hurt, start fires, etc.)
  • Something else?

Have your say!

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