Nightmare In Trafalgar Square
There was noise below. Thousands of people milled in the Square below. That was not entirely abnormal, in his occasional wakeful periods, when the souls of thousands woke him up with their adulation.
He had awoken at the end of the first world war when Britain came through its 4 year torture of World War, named the Great War, ‘the war to end all wars’, the longest and most bitter since his own war against the tyrant Napoleon. Horatio had been known, even in life, for his willingness to share danger, to lead his ships into the fire of opposing fleets in order to gain the positions necessary for victory. He had been brave and his bravery had earned victory. He had lost an eye in Corsica, and an arm in Tenerife, and finally his whole life at Trafalgar, which had again brought him, and the Navy, and Great Britain, an important victory over Napoleon and his Revolutionary Empire. He woke when the bombs fell on London in the second World War, but miraculously he survived intact, his column not even so much as tarnished, and when there was dancing in the streets, flag waving, kissing and cheering on Victory in Europe Day, and later the same year when Victory against Japan was achieved he saw the large crowds below celebrating the hard won victories of the nation and worshipping its heroes. He had become a god, unbeknown to the populace below, and the tourists who, especially in later years, and particularly in the most recent years, had come to worship and honour him. He had come back to life, as it were, as a god, enshrined in the statue created to his honour.
In the distance over the years he heard the rising melodies of ‘Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves’, emanating from the Albert Hall in the distance, and sometimes from other places in the Great Capital. ‘Britons Never Shall Be Slaves!’ Well thanks to him they never would be! And thanks to his Navy, who later, very soon after his Trafalgar victory, trounced the slave traders and freed even the African slaves from their ships of death and despair. He had heard about this in the years when he reawakened after his statue was erected and he became a god. He somehow just knew about the way his Navy had been used in the years after his death. He had not wanted his friends to lose their riches and privileges. He didn’t want Wilberforce and his campaigners to end the slave trade, which resulted in the slaving ships of other nations being commandeered and the slaves being taken back to Africa. He felt the anger of betrayal in the early years, but years of worship and adulation had helped him to admit that it had not worked out so badly for Britain or for the wealthy friends, who were well rewarded for the loss of their slaves by the government purse. There was much relief he sensed in the consciences of the people, wealthy or poor who never felt comfortable with the idea that a human being, even blacks, could be placed in chains and even worked to death, or enslaved for a lifetime. Britain had grown in power and wealth, but also in maturity and conscience. He found himself being quite proud of them, for the development of their responsibility and care for the huge Empire they now found themselves ruling. These were no longer the days of aristocratic and royal power, but was now a whole nation working together towards the goals of Empire trade and fair governance for all. As the song said, ‘Britons never would be slaves!’
Nelson jumped boldly down from his column and proceeded to chase the demonstrating students from the Trafalgar Square.
The students were very scared of him. They had never seen a statue come to life before. It was as if somebody had waved a magic wand over London, and all manner of evil and depraved statues and characters from history had come back to life. Figures opened slabs in Westminster Abbey and violent Kings and Queens, Generals, Ministers, Politicians, Bishops, and Aristocrats came out to play, risen once more to life by the call of the students and Black Lives Matter protesters. Nelson had seen the protesters like ants swarming over the Square below and climbing onto the lions, daubing paint on them.
“Let’s put some discipline back into these young people,” he rallied the others. With their whips they rounded the young protesters up as if they were nothing but a flock of sheep. He singled out the black and brown ones for the harshest treatment, but he suspected many of the white faces must be Irish, or maybe the rebel American revolutionaries so he gave them short shrift too. His keen godly ears heard much that went on in the great square, which he knew well had been named after the great sea battle, which had been his greatest Victory, and which had been won so bitterly at the cost of his own sacrifice and the sacrifice of so many sailors in his fleet. Every one of them, from every class and position in Britain had risked all to achieve that Victory and to each one Britannia was indebted. Unlike these rioters and revolutionaries who turned against their nation and its greatest heroes. They had climbed the column towards him, a brave but foolish action. , which did remind him of the sailors on his old ships, but they meant him harm! They came with ropes and tools to cast him down, and paint to despoil his image.
“Beware! You woke him up you stupid fools. And he has awoken the others, many of them far more dangerous figures of the past who really would not understand much of modern freedoms or moralities, or care much for your demands. Your angry attention, and cruel criticism for a man of his times woke him up. But you did not realise that he is real. He has been made a god, like a Roman god, by the adulation of the populace, by the praise heaped upon him by rich and poor in our Establishment. Governments have praised him. In the Albert Hall every year songs have been sung to the memory of the nation he served, and he too has been elevated into the legend he has now become. Tourists from all over the world have come year on year. You thought he wasn’t watching, but whenever the numbers were large enough and the passions strong enough he awoke to observe the passage of this nation through time. Is it any wonder that he has now become a god. You woke him up and offended him with your criticisms and now he is down off his pedestal, thinking that his nation has been betrayed and taken over by foreigners, that Britons no longer rule the waves, that the youths no longer serve their nation. He is on his feet and crashing around London looking for the enemy. He understands much, probably more than we understand because he has seen the passage of time with his own eye, but there is much that he does not understand about us and the modern world. He has not lived amongst us for more than two centuries so how can the god who has been created know what it is to live and work in the 21st century, or to be a student filled with recently implanted ideas and ideals and partial knowledge, turned into temporary revolutionary zealots with their sudden great educational leaps forward before they take up their own modern day enslavements in the call centres, stock exchanges and banks et cetera.”