Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent
To blow up the King and Parli’ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s mercy he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Hulloa boys, Hulloa boys, let the bells ring.
Hulloa boys, hulloa boys, God save the King!
–Traditional English nursery rhyme
It doesn’t get much press on this side of the Atlantic, but it should. Today, November 5, is Guy Fawkes Day, the day that the English remember one of their most notorious villains or one of their most celebrated heroes, depending on their mood or ideological leaning.
On this day in 1605 Fawkes, a disgruntled religious minority tired of official abuse, attempted to take down the entire English government—king, ministers, parliament and all—by blowing up the House of Lords with a large cache of gunpowder during the State Opening of Parliament.
Fawkes was discovered and promptly executed, but he is remembered—in typically dry English humor—as the last man to enter parliament with honest intentions.
Yesterday, Americans elected a new congress. I expect the new Republican-controlled Senate to be at least a little more business-friendly than the one it is replacing, and now that the Republicans control both houses of congress, they will be able to control the legislative agenda.
We’ll see what they do with it. The optimist in me hopes to see the American energy markets opened to export and a reform of Obamacare…and maybe a new free trade deal or two. But I have a feeling that instead we’ll get a lot of populist grandstanding about “securing the border” and “protecting marriage.” Oh, and probably a lot more pork-stuffed military procurement deals. You know, since our armed forces, which are bigger than the next 17 countries’ militaries combined, aren’t nearly big or well funded enough.
Tonight, pour yourself a drink and offer a toast across the Atlantic. Wear a Guy Fawkes mask if you feel like it, or burn a Guy effigy or the effigy of whatever politician irritates you the most. But tomorrow, tune out the political noise, roll up your sleeves, and focus on your investing.