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  • Haydn Wheeler

Neuters, neutrals, a let's talk route to achieve change has always been seen fit.

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

Neuters neutrals and waverers, is a term used with broadness in meaning and had manifested itself by many in language to describe the imposition of many at the outbreak of the English Revolution . The language used to label is decided on many occasions by ones opposing side or sides in an argument. In a war both opposing sides of that war can agree a dislike or a chance to recruit where neuters and waverers are concerned. Indeed, a Puritan cry from the pulpit through the English Revolution was that a neuter or waverer on ones religious grounds, is one neutral in religion, and as such evil and a sin.

"Rotten-hearted nauseous Neutrals" was the description given by contemporary biographer John Vicars of the Western Clubmen in his accounts of Parliamentary activities in "England's Parliamentary Chronicle 1645-1646".

This colourful take on the Clubmen is nothing out the norm with regards to how warring factions within a war and especially a Civil War deal with a neutralist party.

A divide defined can be of in a true sense with the numbers to validate a divide or as seen and portrayed as once momentum is behind that belief for that divide. Having a neutral view is often giving a 'one sitting on a fence' tag. This suits an agenda of those that oppose a settlement one could argue, choosing a side in fact could continue an unresolved divide. Leaving a divide by victory not of settlement. Only for that divide to fester. .

A 17th century Clubmen description by secretary to Thomas Fairfax Rushworth, gives a neuters tack in the political sense.

"Two captains of the Club-men (as they were called) being a great number of the inhabitants of several parts of Wiltshire, and some counties adjacent, who gathered themselves together, alleging they did but stand on their own defence, to prevent Plundering; and that they would in that posture remain Neuters until the King and his Parliament should agree. (1645)"

1645.9) in Rushw. Hist. Coll. I. 52

Being of a neuter stance could find ones fate in the Civil War a dangerous position. An account by a Mr Elton who was taken prisoner then discharged by Royalist troops on April 5th 1645 gives an account of The Clubmen in Hereford. Tagged under the name neuters ( neuter insurrection ) they had fines imposed on them and a hanging of those who were chiefs among them. An account of The Clubmen stance at Ledbury is also witnessed and an act of plunder on the inhabitants of Winchcombe. "

"Cambden's garrison went lately to Winchcombe, where they plundered them so here that the plundered had not a sunday, clothes left on them and cattle drove away"

News and Affairs 1645

An example of divide where a neutral stance was adopted can be seen via the Labour Party in the UK election of 2019. After the result of the 2016 UK European Referendum vote, a divide in the UK was caused, the shout of traitors and mutineers shouted from some sections of the press to describe judges and members of parliament and a "going against the will of the people" was seen. A narrow vote to leave the European Union saw those of a neutral stance pushed to the sidelines. As mentioned to try to heal of this divide a neutral stance by The Labour Party was took. If a win in a general election, a later question was to be put back to the people of what form of exit if any was wanted. To build bridges of communication at times of large historical shifts between who holds the reins of Government and the people, doable or foolish. Can a neutral a non partisan stance between divides and a voice of real change in achieving a route to real change be achieved? A collapse and anew cycle, or a reform of what is of now? In the case of the 2019 UK general election, a Conservative win saw a vote largely based on a definite leave campaign agenda.

Neutralism, temporisers, waverers and time-servers find the treason card played against them no matter what century?

Halifax, statesman, writer, and politician after the 17th century English Revolution and the man labelled a Trimmer ( a neutral who trims ones sails to suit the winds blowing) called for moderation. "Condemning the madmen of two extremes who make common sense a treason".

Trimmer and time-servers were seen as pejorative terms.

A tale of The Earl of Kingston Upon Hull Robert Pierrepont , labelled as a neuter at the break out of civil war in 1642 and desiring a peace when pushed to take sides declared, “when I take up arms with King against Parliament or with Parliament against the King, let a cannon bullet divide me between the two”.

His wish came true it appears. A few months later and after taking side with the King, he was took prisoner at Gainsborough. On being put upon a pinnace and being transported down the river to Hull, Lord Newcastle with his troops on shore fired upon the pinnace. With hearing the shot the Earl came on deck to tell them to cease their fire for he was in danger. With this he was hit by a cannon bullet and as such divided in two. He being in the Parliaments pinnace and then hit by a cannon bullet from the Kings army, his declaration for both sides voiced at the outbreak did occur. A foot in pinnace on Parliament a cannon bullet of King.

A tale of the fate of one who sees fit to be voicing a neutral stance at the beginning of the conflict. Prisoner of one side an enemy to the other. Not to be trusted, one who may waver. A man of circumstance and as Hallifax stated, "two extremes who make common sense a treason" who is forced, pulled into choosing side.

In the English Revolution divides developed as the war drew on. The outcome of the Civil War and shaping of what followed there after had no agreed settlement. The Clubmen organised to put pressure on the warring parties to reconcile these divides through necessity. Neutralism here was seen through the eyes of cynicism by opposing sides. Crypto-royaliist or parliamentarian was labelled against The Clubmen. The tagging of underlying labels could thus undermine The Clubmen's neutralism .

Neutralism for a settling of a conflict and as a voice inside a warring divide has to win parties from both sides in that divide. To survive the as said cynicism and undermining by opposing forces is an uphill struggle . Momentum of the unrest shapes the effect of that neutral stance also, here speed of effect works both ways. A weariness of the Civil War by 1645 on the people had caused a neutral form of protectionism. Neutralism in the English Revolution has to be seen as violence being put upon them and plunder of those neutral, with a need to protect from in force if needs must. A call to cease the fight and talk to settle your grievances.

Can a third neutral stance party take a Revolution into a complete Revolution or is compromise always the appearance a third party brings to the table?

The divides in Spain 2017 with the call for Catalonia Independence brought a third force also into a divide, a blurring of a binary choice woven around the call for and question around Spain and Catatonia Independence. Now being joined by the Parlem movement, a lets talk input and questioning of choices given. A look at achieving real change in governance, truly representative and the underlying problems, grievances of the generality.

The writing of their grievances in a manifesto and a demand to be listened to was brought to the streets in Spain in October 2017.

“The time has come to say that Spain is a greater country than her rulers.

They have spread hatred, they pit us against each other and divide us. If we don’t intervene as a society they are going to turn this country into a difficult place in which to live. That’s why it’s time for citizens to take a step forward and take to the streets next Saturday, with white clothes or ribbons and white banners and signs to show them that we don’t want them to use us, to divide us, to lie to us, and that we are many more [than they] and this is not something to be resolved by them, but by the people, by dialogue and coexistence.

In the past few days we have felt rage, and above all, great sadness. We have witnessed things that we have never wanted to see and that hurt us deeply and which are happening as a result of the actions of irresponsible leaders who neither listen nor speak. As citizens we refuse to be forced into a dead end street. Not in our name.

We know that coexistence is possible. Spain is better than her leaders and has demonstrated this on many occasions. It’s time to come together, to show them that they have been incapable and irresponsible, and that there are other ways to do things. Without blocks and without blockages. We need to opt for dialogue, respect and understanding. We are many, we are diverse, we are respectful, and above all we want a better country and not one infinitely worse.

Coexistence is created through dialogue, and laws should serve that dialogue. Laws cannot be used as an obstacle, and much less as a means to generate a civil conflict. We need to say enough is enough to this spiral, we need to stop, sit down, and think about our country. It is through democracy, listening , and dialogue that we will reach solid and lasting social agreements (pacts/contracts).

Those of us who want a country based on respect, on fraternal dialogue, and democratic coexistence in the face of violence should hang white sheets on our balconies. Instead of building walls, we need a clean sheet to construct a country in which all of us fit.

Spain is a better country than her leaders. Shall we talk?

Day: Saturday 7th of October at 12

Place: In front of the city hall of your city

#Shall we talk?

Sourced Spain: shall we talk?CRISTINA FLESHER FOMINAYA 7 October 2017

The writing of a manifesto from a grass-roots peoples movement as to a political class, deciding ones fate has a nod to The Clubmen movement of 1645.

The Clubmen were brought about by a quarrel as said not by them but between King and Parliament. This resulted in the writing of petitions and declarations from a people’s perspective and pushing for a settlement. Although not a call for a dismissal of the structure of governance one must see The Clubmen demands as voice with a revolutionary effect in place. The complete rejection of the War put upon them and calls for a peace were being voiced outside the warring parties . An order brought back was not as said a call for the fall of the King, Parliament structure but a reform of and agreement. As with revolution, a complete revolution still has many voices within that revolution. All voices in that revolution are as such, of that revolution.

How change occurs and keeping that change inclusive is the question.

A new written Constitution and a bottom up people's say to what is in that Constitution could be achieved. A manifesto voiced by the Parlem movement one could argue, could bring a more complete leap forward in bringing a settled change. A real change for all.

The actions here by the State upon the Catalonian's with the enforcing of article 155 and the Catalonian's unilateral declaration of independence have overtaken the "lets talk" early on the streets movement initiative . But the underlying problems and grievances voiced by the Parlem 'Hablamos?' ('Let's Talk?') movement run deep and reconciled.

A third force raised in the Parlem discourse of “Lets Talk” being shouted from the voices of many in Spain , is a cry The Clubmen of 1645 would resonate with.

The course of the English Revolution had brought the Waverers and neutrals into a now seen opportunity to recruit for advantage, to bring on side to Royalist or Parliamentarian in the English Revolution. The term Clubmen (by association) formed by neutrals in the spring and summer of 1645 in the Civil War was now recognised as a third force. A thing to put down, recruit, or by a diplomatic route of listening to, was and discussed by Roundhead and Royalist alike.

The Parliamentarian New Model commander Fairfax in Dorset and Wiltshire in the early months of Spring and Summer 1645 was negotiating with The Clubmen. A negotiating route had been seen fit. Others around him saw this third force as insolent, a rabble force of nauseas headed neutrals.

Neutrals were seen by Fairfax in the light of waverers as the war dragged on and a chance to bring on side or find no quarrel with. The diplomatic hand was at play. Through a fear of sheer numbers The Clubmen could muster or a general grace to here there grievances, the route of non violence was seen preferable. The alliances of the Clubmen with different parties in the Civil War is not a product of where they, The Clubmen, saw their advantage or locality, but more of a case where stability did apply and a reaction against who was causing most harm to them. Both sides were seen as being in a war most unnatural and causing miseries. What was seen by some for the Parliament cause with The Clubmen in Dorset was the view The Clubmen did waver more to the Royalist and as such crypto Royalist. This was not the case. A discourse with who is immediately of your locality is of no surprise, alliance with through dialogue is a course most wise and not an agreement of on side. As declared by the Clubmen, they were not in the business of joining sides.

An example of non allegiance to either party we see in early March of 1645. Sir Lewis Dives (Royalist commander Dorset) trying to quell the Clubmen anger made promise to put an end to the Royalist plunder of Dorset. This it seems was to no effect as by May the threat to Sir Lewis by the Clubmen to join the Parliamentarians commanders in the West of General Graves and Weldon was being voiced. This followed a then issuing of horse and furniture (tackle) by Dives so The Clubmen could defend themselves.

Both Royalist and Parliamentarian were seen as unjustly by The Clubmen at different intervals in Dorset. In the example as mentioned a tool most handy in getting a desired result.

Massies men and the Parlimentarian garrison at Sturminster Newton Castle had a bloody meeting with the Clubmen on June 29th 1645. Both sides had casualties and Massies Dragoons horses were took. This was soon settled after with an understanding agreed.

A report in the Parliamentary Newspaper Perfect Occurrences June 27th 1645

Massey and his troops reputation for plunder is on par with Prince Rupert and troops in notoriety. Localities and personal grievances brought about by garrisoned troops so long put upon a county and passing through armies had taking a toll.

Keeping a neutrality from what was now a plunder on ones own property and family and being kept on a generality across the County had brought divides in that generality.

Godmanstone and the killing there also of Royalist troops is another example of a divide.

The breakaway occurrences at Sturminster and Godmanstone must be seen as locality grievances. The arrival of Massey and troops in the County is of consequence with regards to Sturminster Newton Castle, as is Gorings troops at Godmanstone. Gorings Crew was a term used to describe his troops, renowned plunderers.

These were both labelled as a skirmish between Clubmen and soldier.

One could argue that the New Model Army and the forming of in some extent brought about the better relations between soldier and non soldier. John Lilberne the Leveller commented on the Clubmen in Dorset to the House of Commons “ divers of them telling us that they never knew what it was to finger soldiers’ money”.

A neutrality of position by a body of people against a binary question “whose side you on” when in mass, becomes a force by consequence itself in it’s very choosing route of neutrality, We in the English Revolution and in 1645 see both warring parties seeing these neutrals now in the light of maybe waverers and a play for advantage of or to quash to avoid the other side taken advantage of.

To see The Clubmen seeing themselves as waverers at this point in 1645 and as such an advantage to play for by the warring parties is wrong. History reflects there is a plurality of voices inside any movement. The Clubmen as now seeing a Parliamentarian victory likely and as such choosing sides is not so much a choice but a consequence of being neutral, and as such forced to go with events when a tipping point arrives.

A neutral position in the conflict had become a wavering position forced upon The Clubmen by a coming victor in that war. The Clubmen had to comply or be seen as a threat, by a now Parliamentarian advantage in the Civil War. The Clubmen movement had by its very nature of timing in the English Revolution, of the war at that time of 1645, put themselves in a position now most critical. Defeat of the King was now foreseeable.

Cromwells dragoons bloody battle with The Clubmen on Hambledon Hill on August 4th 1645 is a case in point. When bargaining to comply on Parliamentarian terms, The Clubmen were of the view, "terms of our own choosing”. This was quashed by Cromwell's dragoons.

By November of 1645 on Bredon Hill in Worcestershire a gathering of three thousand strong of Clubmen had chose officers and leaders to lead them and they declared for Parliament. Led by Sir Edward Dineley, formally a Royalist Commissioner this body of Clubmen took to blockading Royalist garrisons and later confronting Prince Rupert and Maurice with troop while they rode to Oxford. This ended badly to say the least. Against a force of disciplined soldiers The Clubmen were cut and slashed, five were killed and Edward Dineley himself injured.

The nearing of the end for The Royalists had seen in the later stages The Clubmen in the North declare for Parliament. Each County was put upon by garrisoned troops and the breakdown in keeping a neutrality was as said earlier a case of a tipping point in the Civil War.

After 3 years of miseries and bloody conflict a swift end to hostilities must have been very much a desired course. The stance made by The Clubmen on Hambledon Hill on August 4th 1645 one could argue was the final defeat of The Clubmen on a truly generality, on our terms desire for a settlement between King and Parliament neutrallity.

Cromwell after trying to level with Clubmen on his terms that day decided to quash their cause after no joy on his terms, as mentioned earlier.

Later describing The Clubmen that day as “vile and silly creatures” a term I would suggest not of a nod to a misplaced sympathy by The Clubmen to a Royalist cause in nature but a snipe at their insolent, above their station in demands cause of their own.

A Mr Lee was the runner between both parties that day on Hambledon Hill, a man most important and a diplomat most urgent.

A course of neutrality took by The Clubmen and the "Let's Talk" movement in Spain are of course miles apart in the true nature of neutrality. One in a bloody warring divide, a revolution away from divine rule of a King and raising of taxes minus Parliament consent and to the beginnings of a Parliamentarian representative democracy, the other in a challenge to that of now representative democracy to be truly representative.

What is clear are the similarities of how to achieve an outcome that really quells the divides in ones society. Both saw dialog as a route to achieve this. No room for a binary choice but as said the blurring of that binary choice begins the steps to real change, as this can only be achieved by an inclusive route minus extremes. A a change of paradigm in need maybe through a let's talk route to achieve has always been seen fit.

"For it was seen fit to show our strength and air our grievances".

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