the foundations of oppression can't be plucked up without the anger of a multitude

British Heroes

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In the pub last night in the company of some of the finest minds of our generation, fed-up of the debate over Thatcher’s legacy, we started to compile a list of British heroes. The criteria were much debated. I think we seem to have gone for quality of impact rather than quantity. We tended to be broad-minded in our definition of Britishness, while accepting that these heroes may also be heroes of other countries too. Consensus was rare and fickle. Here it is though in the order in which we ‘thought’ through the names. Wikipedia links to those less well-known ones. I’d like to know what anyone else thinks of this:

George Orwell

David Attenborough
William Blake
Charles Dickens
Tim Hunkin (engineer, cartoonist ‘The Secret Life of Machines’)
Joe Strummer
Roots Manuva
John Peel
Rosalind Franklin (whose data Watson and Crick ‘used’ in discovering DNA)
Tim Berners-Lee (who invented the world wide web)
Tox (the ubiqitous graf artist)
Salman Rushdie
Howard Marks
Chris Morris
John Lennon
Jonathan Swift
William Shakespeare
David Nutt (the scientist whose assessment of the government’s drugs classification so displeased his masters that he lost his job and achieved hero status)
Gerrard Winstanley (the Digger spokesperson. “The earth should be a common treasury for all”)
Fox Talbot (photography pioneer)
Alexander Graham Bell
Isambard Brunell
Wilfred Owen
Bruce Parry (Tribe documentary)
Louis Theroux
Tony Hart (As in Hartbeat. The rich man’s Rolf Harris)
Roald Dahl
Terry Gilliam
Michael Palin
Armando Ianucci
Aldous Huxley
Ernest Shackleton
Alan Turing (‘the father of computer science’)
Linford Christie
Sascha Baron Cohen
Stephen Hawkin
Jah Shaka (reggae legend)
Michael Eavis
Stephen Fry
Harold Pinter
J.M.W. Turner
Ken Loach
Gary Oldman
Charlie Chapman
David Bowie
Mary Wolstonecroft (feminist legend)
Rabbie Burns
Jane Austin
Leah Betts (must have been getting pretty late by this point…)
John Maynard Keynes
Darkus Howe
Bertrand Russell
George Bernard Shaw.


So there you go. Nowhere near enough women in that list. My suggestions for female heroes were poets that nobody had heard of so couldn’t get them to put them down. I think there should be more sports people as well. W.G. Grace is a massive omission in my mind. Still, quite a good range I think…

Written by angrysampoetry

April 9, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Posted in Opinions, Politics

Tagged with ,

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