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Our history is full of hope,
of tolerance, of liberty:
wait whilst I fill my mouth with soap,
and set my British bubbles free.

We weren't the first to ban the Jew,
nor flailed the Fleming in his place;
we weren't the type who would subdue
the Welsh. We never cared for race.

No woman on a ducking-stool
was ever dunked, or wore a scold;
fair play was more than just a rule
in all our annals. Hearts of gold

ensured that happy Catholics
were never called by cruel names;
we did not light the tinder-sticks,
nor fan the heretic with flames.

Drogheda, Derry, Amritsar
are names we like to relish:
the simplest fool knows, near and far,
how we were never hellish.

Did we not rule the salty waves?
How well our ships were greeted!
Please ask the millions of slaves
how hard they weren't mistreated.

We did not scorn the olive-skinned,
nor denigrate the turban;
and who would say we'd ever sinned
from Cairo down to Durban?

Invent the concentration camp?
Participate in plots?
Take this from me, as freedom's champ,
we never harmed the Scots.

Read this history. Open, shut.
Can you see what I mean?
We may have sold some weapons, but
our hands are whistle-clean.

PM-in-waiting Gordon Brown told the BBC that immigrants – Muslim preachers included – should understand British history, so that they would understand the country's values of freedom, liberty and tolerance.
7 June 2006


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