The irony of the Guy Fawkes tradition: Grant
OPINION: Perched on a mighty plinth on Parliament’s grounds is Richard Seddon. I’m not a fan of King Dick. He introduced liquor licensing, held questionable racial views, and was responsible for the Labour Day holiday, which most of my staff spent at Armageddon. On full pay. Still, he was resolutely opposed to women’s suffrage so he wasn’t without merit.
However, standing beside this colossus from the past it’s possible to admire the misshapen confusion that is our parliament house. To the centre and right sits a Victorian design, complete with the Roman columns and stone arch windows popular during that period.
Except, it’s not finished. The design was the process of a competition and the winning entry had two wings. Only one was built.
Tragically, resources needed to complete the building were squandered sending nearly 17,000 young men to perish in Europe in the grand folly of the Great War.
Half a century later, the Government, buoyed with borrowed cash, resolved to complete the
‘‘Sadly, his motives were not pure.’’
project. The obvious choice would have been to revert to the 1911 blueprint but the political class wanted to make a statement. That’s how we got the Beehive – a 10-story aneurysm that ruins the symmetry of the initial design.
It’s a mess. The architectural equivalent of putting mustard on pavlova. A physical manifestation of the incompetence of government and why, since the dawn of western consciousness, wise men have wished to be free of the tyranny of kings.
In this glorious tradition is a certain Mr Guido Fawkes, who wished to destroy Westminster and everyone in it. Sadly, his motives were not pure; driven by a loathing of a Protestant monarch rather than any libertarian impulses.
Guy Fawkes Day was historically a celebration of his capture, torture and death but over the past century this evolved into an ironic rejoicing of his initial dark intentions.
Seddon’s statue prudently faces away from the mess politicians have made of our Parliament building and the holy alliance of an old-school Muldoonist and a cohort of freshfaced comrades that is currently plotting within its confines.
Alas we have no metaphorical Fawkes to free us from the dark years ahead, but this week we can
Damien Grant: Guy Fawkes Day was historically a celebration of his capture, torture and death but over the past century this evolved into an ironic rejoicing of his initial dark intentions.