Lessons from History

By Eric Streeton.

Rye has had to repel many attempts on its Freedom. One good instance is the many assaults by our then French foes on the Town over the centuries. Then we were able to strike back and bloody their noses for them. If something was taken from us against our will we would just take it back, just as the men of Winchelsea and Rye did when the French stole our Church Bells. Even Hitler could not bring the Town to its knees; it rose like a Phoenix from the ashes.

Through out History there have been bully boy administrations picking on the little man and woman. One example of this was the Highland Clearances, where the Highland Chiefs drove the Highlanders from the Glens so they could profit from their misery. Now in this day and age tactics have become more subtle as with Rye’s Allotment Holders, they cannot force them off the land, but they can price them off of it. Then, as the land becomes unmanageable, along will arrive some very generous benefactors offering to redevelop these two unmanageable blots on the landscape. But the sad thing is after the passage of time we will all applaud them for it.

If Robert Tressell (Noonan) Author of the Ragged Trousered Philanthropist were to come back to life, he would still see many similarities in this area a hundred years on. Do you remember the Band of Brigands he described so vividly? I will remind you with a quick quote “These Brigands did just as they pleased. No one ever interfered with them. They never consulted the Ratepayers in any way”, it sounds very familiar doesn’t it? Also do you remember him describing in his book The Great Money Trick? I think we could even draw a parallel from that. If the Brigands take away Rye’s Public Toilets they could save approximately £41.980 what a good idea. Yes but what good use can they put this money to? This is where the committee for bright ideas comes in. Let’s create a Communications and Media Officer, goodness knows we desperately need one; our credibility within the district is at rock bottom. What a good Idea; lets earmark £30.000 for the job. Look at this we have made a saving of £11.980 we are in profit all ready. Not the same Great Money Trick as in the book, but a Money Trick all the same.

The Band of Brigands are proposing once again to try and sabotage one of Rye’s and Battle’s most popular traditions, yes its, Bonfire Night. They are thinking of adopting a Code of Practice well below the Governments own guide lines for Firework noise. I understand this reasoning is the result of a complaint made in Bexhill, about an event in Bexhill. So do we all have to suffer then? Now! Wouldn’t it be poetic justice if all the Bonfire Societies under the Brigands jurisdiction were to detonate or burn a suitable effigy of the Brigands on Bonfire Night, so every body is aware of our displeasure with them? Or did Guy (Guido) Fawkes and his fellow conspirators who were displeased with Bonfire Societies administration have the right idea, even if it was an extreme solution? By the way is there a cellar under our Brigands seat of power? (Only joking, honest).

In past centuries Rye has taken the sword to the enemy, but we can’t do that now. It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. So pick up your Pen, or use your Key Board, Write or E-Mail to your Local Paper, a National Paper, and Television Companies and tell the world about our band of Brigands.

P. S. Power to the People.

From “Rye’s Own” March 2006 Issue