The powers that be are obviously getting really nervous about plans for uniformed troops to march on parliament on Thursday as part of their protest against government cuts to the military. The army has even threatened to court martial any uniformed soldiers who join the protest.
Why the nervousness?
Well, it’s a long long time since British soldiers have demonstrated against the government on the streets of London. In fact, the last protest by the military was as long ago as 1649, when 300 soldiers protested at Oliver Cromwell’s order to send them to Ireland.
But that protest isn’t the one that’s making the top brass of the military and the government so nervous.
The demonstration that’s really worrying them actually happened a year earlier, in December 1648. That was when troops under the command of one of Cromwell’s Colonels marched on parliament and forcibly removed from the Houses of Parliament all those MPs who were not supporters of the New Model Army.
It is arguably the only military coup d’état in English history.
Think about it. Angry soldiers forcibly removing MPs from parliament who refuse to support the military? No wonder Cameron’s getting nervous. Maybe he’s worried the troops will be joined this time by police officers from the parliamentary protection squad?
By the way, the colonel in charge of the purge of parliament was called Thomas Pride.
And the forcible removal of all the unsympathetic MPs by his troops was known as Pride’s Purge.
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