Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Billion Dollar English Wreck Found

As a 'child of Thatcher' I have looked with contempt at the various pathetic excuses for government that have dragged themselves through the House of Commons over the years, but have always seen my homeland as 'God's country'.

As if to cement this view further God decides that he will help out our Sceptered Isle in these current times with the discovery of a billion dollars worth of gold under the English Channel.

Like a 265 year old piggy bank it was uncovered by a US based treasure hunting firm, Odyssey Marine Exploration, going to show that the US and the UK still make a good team.

The Florida-based firm found the site 330ft under the English Channel, nearly 100km from where the ship was historically believed to have been wrecked, near the Channel Islands.

Jason Williams, executive producer of JMW Productions, which filmed the discovery, said: "Reports from the time say that the ship was carrying four tonnes of gold, around £400,000 sterling, which it picked up from Lisbon on its way to Gibraltar. Today this has a bullion value of £125 million, but that is just its raw weight. That means it is worth about a billion dollars."

The Ministry of Defence has given the company permission to go back down to the wreck to try to find the treasure. The British Government will legally own any gold that is recovered, but Greg Stemm, chief executive officer of Odyssey Marine Exploration, said he was in negotiations and would expect to be rewarded for the find.

Mr Stemm said: "The money is not as important as the cultural and historical significance of the discovery. It is a monumental event, not only for Odyssey but for the world.

"It is probably the most significant shipwreck find to date. HMS Victory was the mightiest vessel of the 18th century and the eclectic mix of guns we found on the site will prove essential in further refining our understanding of naval weaponry used during the era."

Having plundered our gold reserves and sold them for historically low prices, Gordon Brown will probably be thanking his own personal God for such an amazing discovery.

Could it help it in current times? Doubtful. In a sane world, any find from this ship would be auctioned off to the highest bidder and the money put towards helping out military veterans, or something similar. After all 1000 sailors are estimated to have perished in the storm that sank the Victory, it would be a fitting tribute.

Problem is the historical value of the find is so significant that any gold found on this ship will, no doubt, be plonked in a museum somewhere. Not such a bad thing if the money made from visitors is used for helping out veterans. You know as well as I do, that it won't be, it will just be pushed back into the Treasury for some hair brained governmental scheme.

I know this is all a bit cynical, but suffering years of incompetence will do that to you.

Looking on the positive side, maybe this is a sign, a sign that things are not so bad after all. A reminder of the once unrivalled greatness of England. Maybe it can stir the hearts of the English people to remember that we are a great people and we can get through anything that is thrown at us and still come out the other end as winners, the Prom King to the rest of the world's prom Queen.

I know US readers always believe that the US is the greatest nation on the planet (and as Americans they should believe that) but I would, as an Englishman, beg to differ.

Shakespeare said it best.

This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle. This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars. This other Eden, demi-paradise. This fortress built by Nature for herself against infection and the hand of war. This happy breed of men, this little world. This precious stone set in the silver sea which serves it in the office of a wall, or as a moat defensive to a house against the envy of less happier lands.

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

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