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Was 1940 the proudest year for Britain?

10:41 UK time, Wednesday, 28 July 2010

David Cameron says 1940 is "the proudest year in British history bar none". What years in British history make you proud?

The Prime Minister was speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Wednesday. Listen to the clip here.

Was 1940 a proud year? Does any year beat 1940? If so tell us why? What makes you proud of Britain? What were Britain's proudest moments?

Thank you for your comments. This debate has now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    Can't tell you, its just all so subjective.

    By 939 king Aethelstan had united all the old english kingdoms into what eventually became England.

    Good date for England.

    Not so brilliant for the rest of the British isles...

    But pretty much any date you choose is going to be swings and roundabouts.

    One man's silver lining is another man's cloud.

  • Comment number 2.

    1649 - The year that Charles I was executed. The message from the British people to their King was - if you don't want to represent the British people and govern for their benefit then you will be killed. The traitors who run the country today should remember Charles I.

  • Comment number 3.

    1997. That's when we finally got rid of the tory government for 13 years.
    Now, unfortunately they are back by default.

  • Comment number 4.

    It may well be true that 1940 was our finest hour but I would like to see a national consciousness to again reach those heights. Too often I fell that we trade on passed glories (case in point the wars, and how could I not mention 1966!!!).
    I would hope that in the future we could say that Britain will once again have a great period where her contribution to the world would give the people a sense of pride that could rival the likes of 1940. Changing world fortunes seem to happen very fast these day, (1940 might be great but 10 mins later at ten to 8 it's not so rosy!) Countries seem to be able to go broke overnight. Our finest hour as said could well be 1940, however since then in spite of this, the main foes from this period (eg Germany and Japan) have since gone on to be much more prosperous.
    Lets recognise our past, but keep in mind we must look to the future, otherwise we will fail to make the strides required to keep a descent position in the world.

  • Comment number 5.

    After his gaffe last week i am not sure DC is best qualified to make such a statement.

    A couple of good years from my era (and will) include
    2009 - the birth of my daughter
    1999/2000 - the advent of the millenium bug that didn't actually appear!, and
    2015 when people realise that they are now either Labour or Tory and vote accordingly instead of the deceit we have already faced by the Lib Dems.

  • Comment number 6.

    1945 was

  • Comment number 7.

    1940?
    Churchill becomes PM
    Germany invades France
    Auschwitz opened
    Dunkirk
    Battle of Britain begins
    The Blitz
    Coventry bombed
    The first McDonalds opened
    Leon Trotsky killed
    "Pinocchio" released

    And we should be proud of all that?

  • Comment number 8.

    I would have thought after yesterday's fiasco when was on his knees in Turkey throwing Israel under the bus to ingratiate himself with the Islamic government, that his advisers would have told him to just stop talking for a couple of days.

    He really is a monumental fool. I'll never vote conservative again whilst he's leader of the party.

  • Comment number 9.

    As I wasnt around in 1940 I cannot really judge.

    But in saying that any year in which we were the "junior partner" to the yanks just makes me so proud of David Cameron. If the man had any decency he would resign for that comment alone, never mind the nonsense he has been spouting ever since in both Turkey and India.

    2010 looks like being a year of shame due to the actions of our politicians! Just when we all thought it couldnt get any worse.....

  • Comment number 10.

    I would agree that 1940 was a great year, especially for the few. The problem is, is that generation tend to lord it over the rest of us, which wouldn't be so bad, as they did save the country, after all, but with it comes a lot of racism, and other attitudes that they justify based on their success in the war. Never is this more true than with my step-father, and the out-laws (as I call them). It's particularly ironic with my step-father, as he was Polish; if only he were alive now to see the racism that is directed at the Poles!

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm beginning to worry about Camerooon what tripe.

  • Comment number 12.

    2. At 1:53pm on 28 Jul 2010, grainsofsand wrote:
    1649 - The year that Charles I was executed. The message from the British people to their King was - if you don't want to represent the British people and govern for their benefit then you will be killed. The traitors who run the country today should remember Charles I.

    ------

    I thought the message was that its the British people that are sovereign,not the monarch and by acting against their interests the king was guilty of treason....

  • Comment number 13.

    Professoryard tweets "1963 - the start of Doctor Who". Do you agree? Follow Have Your Say on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BBC_HaveYourSay

  • Comment number 14.

    Talk about damage limitation! DC thinks it's the proudest year in British History, yet we were apparently junior partners for this particular period of the war, according to him.


    1918 and 1928 - with the vote for Women and then vote on equal terms as men, was a proud day in our history.

    1833 for the Slavery Abolition Act, likewise.

  • Comment number 15.

    How anybody can say 1940 is our proudest year is beyond me. We actually were very close to losing the war, and would have done if there had not been 20 miles of water between us and France. Indeed a large minority of the Government were prepared to do a deal with Hitler, it was only Churchill's leadership which stopped this. Alright we stood up to Nazi Germany alone, but to be honest we had no choice.
    I personally don't think any year makes me particularly proud as they are just numbers. I am more proud with the great things which have come out of the Britain over centuries including democracy, lots of important inventions and medical breakthroughs which have improved the lot of humanity.

  • Comment number 16.

    In 1940 Britain was beaten in every aspect except in the mind.

    Our army had been routed. Our navy was not much use. and a few airmen were all that stood between us and subjection to tyranny.

    Everyone, including the USA though we couldn't, shouldn't fight on.

    A lot of the 'establishment' thought that we shouldn't fight on. They all thought that the germans would leave them to run the country the same way as they always had.

    It was Churchill, a man vilified as an 'outsider' all his life, who couldn't, wouldn't give in. He knew that if we gave in both he and the country, including all of our history would be gone for ever.

    So yes it was our finest hour.

    The fact that we had ceased being a world player 50 years previously. The fact that there had been no investment in the country from the wealthy classes so our (military) resources were pitiful. The fact that the majority of senior officers were not fit for the job.

    All these facts counted for nothing if in our minds we refused to accept defeat.

    The rest of the war was a none event for Britain. We never took on and won against the germans when on equal footing. Only when we significantly outnumbered them (as at El Alamein) did we win. We bombed german cities without causing very much damage (Berlin was destroyed by the Russian army). We fought and won the battle of the atlantic, which we almost lost despite the germans never having anything like enough U-boats. We sent the worst officers and troops to fight Japan and they were quickly overwhelmed, only fighting a forgotten side-show in Burma.

    We were amongst the victors, and suffered more than most. This allowed us to sit at the big boys table for the next 65 years, despite us continously falling down the table of countries with a high standard of living.

    Our 'pop' culture briefly put us back in the limelight in the 1960's but for the last hundred yers there has been nothing much to crow about.






  • Comment number 17.

    Clearly cameron and the rest of the tory toffs lived on big country estates in the countryside and would not have experienced the Blitz.

    My personal favourite year was 1997 when britain entered a new golden age.

  • Comment number 18.

    DunningDesign tweets "1314, Battle of Bannockburn!" What do you think?

  • Comment number 19.

    David Cameron says, does he?

    Judging by his inept performances in the USA, over Gaza and now India, perhaps he should pack up and come back to England.

    Proudest year for Britain?
    Not really interested in Britain, but Proudest Year for England?

    1966, 1346, 1918, 1805, 1982, 1945, 1588, 1815 and 1415.

    What makes many of us proud is a year in which we have beaten someone. So, these years correspond to Germany, France, Germany, France/Spain, Argentina, Germany/Japan, Spain, France, France.

    Several recurring themes there...

  • Comment number 20.

    Well according to Harold MacMillan (SuperMac) it was 1957, when he said "You've never had it so good!".

    I guess my mum might agree, that's when I was born... ;o)

    Personally I think hour finest hour was in December 1943 after Post Office Telecommunications engineer, Tommy Flowers, built the world's first programmable digital computer, Colossus, at the Post Office Research Station, Dollis Hill, and it became operational at Station X, Bletchley Park.

  • Comment number 21.

    Why must he persist on this junior partner in 1940 idea? .. (40's as he now says he meant) what a sickening prostration. Nothing to be proud of there.

    but .. he is correct now at least .. that 1940 was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland's greatest year

  • Comment number 22.

    No it is not nor could it be. A war of any kind no matter how just is never a good time for any country. It is a silly idea to think it is.

  • Comment number 23.

    2010, when Britain got rid of the worst Labour government this country was ever dragged to the brink of banktrupcy by.

  • Comment number 24.

    18. At 2:18pm on 28 Jul 2010, BBC_HaveYourSay Host wrote:
    DunningDesign tweets "1314, Battle of Bannockburn!" What do you think?

    ----

    I think the day that Twitter went live was a black one for society, Not as comprehensively, heinously depressing as the birth of the Daily Mail, but its early days yet...

  • Comment number 25.

    Perhaps 1605 when the gunpowder plot was rumbled. We don't seem to celebrate much else as a whole country.

  • Comment number 26.

    If we prepare well, 2053 could be a good year.

  • Comment number 27.

    I agree with grainsofsand that the killing of Charles I was probably
    England's greatest moment. It started England down the road of the great constitutional monarchy. England outlasted all her rivals and has had a stable political system as a result.

    The Battle of Britain in 1940 is something everyone in the UK can be proud of. But I wonder if that generation that fought the war feels that way. Britain suffered in WW2 partly because of problems created by her political class. The treaty of Versailles, the lack of preperation by the govt in the 30s, the impact of the Great Depression etc.

    The Battle might not have been necessary but for bad decisions at the top. It is telling that voters booted Mr. Churchill after the war.

  • Comment number 28.

    2300bc construction of stonehenge without any modern equipment hauling 5 tonne stones from southern wales to salisbury plain.
    1215 the magna carta
    seriously the list could go on and on and on, but i would tend to steer clear of wars as i believe just like violence against a person they represent a monumental failure of respect on both parties that feel the need to throw their toys out of the pram.

  • Comment number 29.

    "7. At 2:00pm on 28 Jul 2010, Tio Terry wrote:

    1940?
    Churchill becomes PM
    Germany invades France
    Auschwitz opened
    Dunkirk
    Battle of Britain begins
    The Blitz
    Coventry bombed
    The first McDonalds opened
    Leon Trotsky killed
    "Pinocchio" released

    And we should be proud of all that?"

    Apart from making Churchill PM, I don't recall the Brits doing any of the rest.

  • Comment number 30.

    2010: Eventually realising the damage a Labour government does to the UK and its economy and getting rid of them (hopefully for good!)

  • Comment number 31.

    mmmm. Did he also relate how Tory members of cabinet in 1940 wanted to make a deal with Hitler?

    I think Cameron has got it wrong. 1945 was our proudest year, The war against Nazism was won, Japan surrendered, Britain began the procees of decolonialisation, handing back countries who we had no right to control, we voted for a Labour government who rewarded the people who fought and worked for the war effort, a health and welfare system...all being undone by this brutal rightwing ideologue in No. 10 today. Consensus was born during the War. It has been destroyed by ruthless thatcherites like David Cameron who now is at war with the children and grandchildren of those who faught in the war ....out of bigotry, to suit the Rich and the faceless capitalist.

    If the War years were our proudest, the last few decades and the imediate future stand as our most shameful as the Rich burst open with wealth accumulation while people pay to keep them in yachts and privilage.

    Sure we have been liberated from Fascism and Communism now we just need liberated from Cameron style faceless capitalism as he seeks to destroy human rights and hand more to the mega rich.

  • Comment number 32.

    A thought just occurred to me, Isnt this the same Mr "call me dave" cameron that earlier this week, yes this week claimed whilst sucking up to the americans that we were just a junior partner to them in a war they hadnt even entered. Now he's proud of what exactly, run dave run they are on to us!!!!

    Seriously is anyone buying any of this nonsense good ol dave realising that he had seriously offended alot of people in this country with the "junior partner" remark now turns tail and pulls this tripe out of his pocket.

  • Comment number 33.

    At 1:54pm on 28 Jul 2010, achristian wrote:
    "1997. That's when we finally got rid of the tory government for 13 years.
    Now, unfortunately they are back by default."

    1979. That's when the greatest leader in the history of the universe was elected : Margaret Thatcher.

  • Comment number 34.

    Is there a switch somewhere in Central Office where an intelligent Tory could turn off the infantile drivel emerging from this wannabe prime minister? The person accomplishing such a feat should feel immense self respect, although pride of place will wait for the moment the switch is permanently turned off.

  • Comment number 35.

    Is he sure? Only asking, because last time he mentioned Britain in 1940, his knowledge of that year seemed a bit shaky. Maybe 1940 was just the 'junior partner' of the year he really means...

  • Comment number 36.

    I can see why 1940 is considered up there, being able to hold of the onslaught was indeed a great feat of which a nation should be rightly proud.

    Some of the proudest days for me, when my children were born, the brilliant NHS staff that looked after them, that made me proud.

    Around the 20th July 1981, Headingly, Bob Willis steaming in, wickets collapsing and Sir Ian in his pomp. (Sorry Aussie pals) And then the remainder of that series.

    Being proud of my Dad who served in the Falklands, not for the conflict, but that he stood up to be counted.

    Being proud of Glasgow, thats where my Mammy came from.



  • Comment number 37.

    18. At 2:18pm on 28 Jul 2010, BBC_HaveYourSay Host wrote:
    DunningDesign tweets "1314, Battle of Bannockburn!" What do you think?

    ----

    I think you'll find the battle of Neville's Cross in 1346 was both more historically important and also set a more recognisable precedent for future Anglo-Scots relations :)

  • Comment number 38.

    1966 was a good year for English football.

    Eric was born.

    :p

  • Comment number 39.

    1960 - the year I was born.

  • Comment number 40.

    1991 Sir Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web
    1948 Beginning of the National Health Service
    1937 Sir Frank Whittle invents the jet engine
    1902 First Old Age Pension
    1891 Free Education for Every Child
    1842 Mines Act ends child labour
    1807 Abolition of slave trade

    and many more....

  • Comment number 41.

    30. At 2:43pm on 28 Jul 2010, Sue Denim wrote:
    2010: Eventually realising the damage a Labour government does to the UK and its economy and getting rid of them (hopefully for good!)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Strange to be proud of that, like a turkey's pride for the Cranberry sauce he just made.....................

  • Comment number 42.

    At 2:39pm on 28 Jul 2010, Sue Denim wrote:
    "7. At 2:00pm on 28 Jul 2010, Tio Terry wrote:

    1940?
    Churchill becomes PM
    Germany invades France
    Auschwitz opened
    Dunkirk
    Battle of Britain begins
    The Blitz
    Coventry bombed
    The first McDonalds opened
    Leon Trotsky killed
    "Pinocchio" released

    And we should be proud of all that?"

    Apart from making Churchill PM, I don't recall the Brits doing any of the rest.

    GB failed to prevent the invasion of France by diplomatic means.
    GB did nothing to prevent concentration camps.
    Dunkirk was a British military disaster.
    Britain was very lucky to win the Battle of Britain, Hitler turned to Russia, that saved us.
    GB failed to prevent the Blitz or Coventry bombing.
    McDonalds were allowed into the Country!
    No, Trotsky was not down to GB - accepted.
    Pinnochio was intended as a joke.

    Sorry, but I don't see it as a year of great British triumphs to be proud of.

  • Comment number 43.

    All that can be said for 1940 was "Cometh The Hour, Cameth the Man". (thank god!) W.S.Churchill. In other guises he was no where near but in this cause he was immense. Could do with man to cometh in these hours, sadly I won't hold my breath.

  • Comment number 44.

    30. At 2:43pm on 28 Jul 2010, Sue Denim wrote:

    "2010: Eventually realising the damage a Labour government does to the UK and its economy and getting rid of them (hopefully for good!)"

    1997: Eventually realising the damage a Conservative government does to the UK and its economy and getting rid of them (hopefully for good!)

  • Comment number 45.

    HairyMart tweets "1948 - NHS introduced". See the tweet here: http://twitter.com/HairyMart. Is this Britain's proudest year? Follow Have Your Say on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BBC_HaveYourSay

  • Comment number 46.

    @6. At 1:59pm on 28 Jul 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:
    "1945 was"

    here here

  • Comment number 47.

    The best year is yet to come......2012 and the London Olymipcs! I am sure Lord Coe would agree with that. And I am sure an opinion poll could be cobbled together to that effect to......

  • Comment number 48.

    bobdvb tweets "having been abroad and seen the way British tourists behave I struggle to feel proud of my nation any more". http://twitter.com/bobdvb. Do you feel proud in any way about Britain?

  • Comment number 49.

    th3_0r4cl3 wrote:
    2300bc construction of stonehenge without any modern equipment hauling 5 tonne stones from southern wales to salisbury plain.
    1215 the magna carta
    seriously the list could go on and on and on, but i would tend to steer clear of wars as i believe just like violence against a person they represent a monumental failure of respect on both parties that feel the need to throw their toys out of the pram.
    =========================================================================
    YEAH.....you would have sat back and made a pact with Hitler....because we should have respected him a bit more. You are the stuff heroes are made of!

  • Comment number 50.

    Here we have no 24 in the series of "How we at the BBC can undermine the hated Tory government"

    "Let's pick a sentence of the PM, take it a bit out of context, elevate it into a major issue and then invite people to pick holes in it"

    What next on HYS? "David Cameron says he enjoys eating Fish and Chips". Do you enjoy Fish and Chips? How will we develop sustainable fishing in the future?"

    I think 1940 was an excellent year. For one thing the BBC was in its infancy and not the bloated NuLabour monolith, full of its own self-importance, that it has since become.

  • Comment number 51.



    I don’t know about the best

    But I will tell you the worst years for Britain

    1925 & 1979

  • Comment number 52.

    Two months in.. OK he's a Tony Blair! Pinkie and Perky "un-elected" (again) in the mother of all democracies 'HA' He was not even born in 1940 with that silver spoon in his mouth "old boy" PS; The Yanks came in to WW1 with 6 months left,,, the second, WW2 was in December 7th 1941 because of Japan. What are you talking about David? I thought the best year for the torys was in 1984 - IE: Sold the lot now you take the lot! My father was 7 years in Burma and my uncle was DFC/DSO Bomber command/Bar. Regards from Wales David mate!

  • Comment number 53.

    Another day, another Camoronism.

  • Comment number 54.

    23. At 2:27pm on 28 Jul 2010, kaybraes wrote:
    2010, when Britain got rid of the worst Labour government this country was ever dragged to the brink of banktrupcy by.
    ================================================
    1997, when Britain got rid of the worst Conservative government this country was ruled by, a bunch of free-loading, corrupt, bribe taking nonentities who's policies of tax and public services cutting were continued for 13 years under labour.



  • Comment number 55.

    48. At 3:18pm on 28 Jul 2010, BBC_HaveYourSay Host wrote:
    bobdvb tweets "having been abroad and seen the way British tourists behave I struggle to feel proud of my nation any more". http://twitter.com/bobdvb. Do you feel proud in any way about Britain?


    ---

    yes, its a fantastic place to live.

    Don't late the Mailers bring you down.

  • Comment number 56.

    In June 1940 at Dunkirk, the the remnants of the militarily beaten British Expeditionary force withdrew from French shores. Part of his speech in parliment Churchill said, 'wars are not won by evacuations'. Britain's proudest moment in that war was surely the 11 months between 'D' Day 6th of June 1944 when the British soldiers, airmen and navy with their wonderful allies, landed on those French shores again and went on to the Victory in Europe day of 8th May 1945. I was a boy of nine then and my, Britain was so proud. One specific day during the war that Great Britain was exceptionally proud was when people woke up one morning towards the end of May 1943, to be told by the booming voice of the BBC announcer, that the magnificant RAF men soon to be known as the 'Dambusters' had successfully breached two of the main dams in Germany. The sinking of the Bismark in May 1941, was another proud day.

  • Comment number 57.

    We learn from history that we do not learn anything from history.

  • Comment number 58.




    1990


  • Comment number 59.

    [7. At 2:16pm on 28 Jul 2010, thelevellers wrote:

    Clearly cameron and the rest of the tory toffs lived on big country estates in the countryside and would not have experienced the Blitz.

    My personal favourite year was 1997 when britain entered a new golden age.]

    Do I have to point out that David Cameron and probably most of the conservative politicians were not even born during the Blitz and neither was I. My parents (working class .. yes they actually worked!) lived in London and were fortunate to survive as a terrace block just a hundred yards or so away was flattened. Buckingham House was also bombed and whilst the big cities were the main target, many rural areas suffered from bombs dropped as 'left-overs' were ditched on the return journey.

    The 1997 onward era saw the tarnished gold of Kids killed or maimed by the dubious war in Iraq, through to raids on my pension funds by the Labour Government and no I do not have a fat protected final salary pension, nor have I ever sponged off the state. It saw the setting up of extremely wasteful Quangos and spent money it did not have and nearly bankrupted the country.

    This year ushered in a Coalition Government which if not wrecked by tactical voting by the idiots in Labour or the right wingers who behave as badly will restore some faith in Government.

    If it succeeds then it will be my Golden Year.

    We need private enterprise to generate money. Communism collapsed because it bankrupted the state, the Labour Party were well on the way to bankrupt us.

  • Comment number 60.

    This 65 year obsession with a war we barely survived does our national psyche no good. I'd much rather forget the whole sorry affair and concentrate on building a better future instead of forever living in the past as so many seem to do.

    Personally I consider the 2010 Equalities Act to be of far greater importance as for the first time everyone in the country had the same level of legal protection regardless of their age, sex, sexuality, race or religion and it signified that at last we are finally moving towards an open and equal society for all.

  • Comment number 61.

    So now suddenly Cameron is an expert on history and facts after his recent major blunders. I wonder which advisor told him to pick 1940. It's obvious this is an attempt to make up for his total lack of knowledge of world history.

    The man is an embarrassment.

  • Comment number 62.

    I liked 1997 when we kicked out the Tories and kept them out of office for the longest time yet. Hopefully at the next election we will kick them and the new Tories (Liberals) out again for even longer !

  • Comment number 63.

    16. At 2:16pm on 28 Jul 2010, JohnH wrote:

    In 1940 Britain was beaten in every aspect except in the mind.

    The rest of the war was a none event for Britain. We never took on and won against the germans when on equal footing. Only when we significantly outnumbered them (as at El Alamein) did we win. We bombed german cities without causing very much damage (Berlin was destroyed by the Russian army). We fought and won the battle of the atlantic, which we almost lost despite the germans never having anything like enough U-boats. We sent the worst officers and troops to fight Japan and they were quickly overwhelmed, only fighting a forgotten side-show in Burma.


    -----------------------------

    Outnumbering the enemy is a standard military doctrine, ideally you should outnumber the enemy by at least three to one. If you have an equal footing situation then you end up as we did in WW1, getting pretty much nowhere. Therefore your statement makes no sound military sense. We successfully invaded Italy along with the Americans, and after D-Day, we did take on the Germans in various battles. So you're non-event is somewhat flawed. Have you actually studied any aspects of the fighting that actually took place during the war?

    I'm not sure the people of Hamburg and Dresden would agree with your sentiments regarding the bombing of their cities. The bombing of Berlin was carried out by the RAF and the USAAF, no aerial bombing was carried out by the Russians. They had the forces on the ground to finally take Berlin. The achievement of the Dam Busters was a great victory for morale, but actually made little impact on the heavy industries in the Ruhr. Many factories were back to their pre-raid capacities within a matter of weeks. Perhaps this is what you should have referred to with all your doom and gloom.

    The Battle of the Atlantic was won largely thanks to Bletchley Park. I can assure you the Germans had plenty of U-Boats to start with, but as we began to get the upper hand, thanks to the intelligence provided by Bletchley Park, their numbers dwindled significantly.

    The so called worst officers and troops who were overrun by the Japanese in the far east, were already in place well before Japan invaded, and they were there because they'd pretty much always been there as a colonial force. Yes, the rather luxurious lifestyle some of them led did not help our cause when the Japs did come.

    Finally, and something you failed to mention, besides any of the fighting, this country made great technological advances during WW2, perhaps you should credit it with that as well.

  • Comment number 64.

    We did enough in 1940 to persuade Hitler not to persevere with his plans for invasion while he turned his attention on the USSR. This common threat to our survival had a unifying effect. What is more interesting to speculate on is how we might have fared had we been invaded by German Land Forces in strength, followed by their 'Death Squads' and their other organs of terror. We should also be 'proud' of some other years in our island history, for example 1805 (Trafalgar) then victory in the Napoleonic Wars. Our part in the abolishment of slavery and subsequent operations by the Royal Navy against the international slave trade (then thriving in the USA) also should be a source of national pride.

  • Comment number 65.

    The best year for me was 1997, I was 20 years old and I still remember waking up on that glorious morning to find out the conservatives were GONE! The sun was shining, there was a spring in my step and "Brave new world" didn't even come close to how myself & many of my friends felt. Of course it went downhill pretty sharpish from that moment on but that day.....Oh that glorious day.

  • Comment number 66.

    [pedant mode on] Surely the proudest year for 'Britain' can only date from 1707 and the act of Union. Anything prior to that would be the proudest day for Scotland/England/Mercia/Wessex/a muddy prehistoric field etc. [pedant mode off]

  • Comment number 67.

    1940 was Britain’s first full year of war. It was not only the year that the country’s very existence was threatened, it was also - as Churchill said - its ‘finest hour’. Defeat and occupation by Nazi Germany were very real possibilities, but it was the momentous events of this year that helped to shape the course, and eventual outcome, of the Second World War.
    In 1940, Britain needed leadership, determination, courage, effort, sacrifice - and luck - to survive.

    I'll not argue against what Churchill said -
    LET US THEREFORE BRACE OURSELVES TO OUR DUTY AND SO BEAR OURSELVES THAT IF THE BRITISH COMMONWEALTH AND EMPIRE LASTS FOR A THOUSAND YEARS, MEN WILL STILL SAY “THIS WAS THEIR FINEST HOUR”
    WINSTON CHURCHILL

  • Comment number 68.

    2010- the year Gordon Brown resigned as Prime Minister!

  • Comment number 69.

    1990 was also a great year. Thatcher's own party stabbed her in the back and threw her out of Downing Street and we got to see her cry. Not such an iron lady after all.....

    I will always cherish that image. We had a party to celebrate.

  • Comment number 70.

    17. At 2:16pm on 28 Jul 2010, thelevellers wrote:
    Clearly cameron and the rest of the tory toffs lived on big country estates in the countryside and would not have experienced the Blitz.

    My personal favourite year was 1997 when britain entered a new golden age.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    And what golden Age was that?
    Illegal wars, Poodle Blair and Bigotgate Brown a country verging on the point of bankruptcy so that we need to go cap in hand to former enemies and colonies looking for handouts.

    Where can I buy what ever it is your are consuming?

  • Comment number 71.

    Since the year mentioned is Battle of Britain year, my assumption is this is why the year was mentioned. I would have thought that Cameron would have made his year 1945? Still a war, from which the British Royals did very well from their investments in Krupps.

    Today, the country is full of the nationalities we fought to keep out. For those who died to keep it that way? No thanks to politicians of D. Cameron's ilk, the invasions still came and were sanctified as "immigration". By the same type of politicians, who would have us make war on Iraq and Afghanistan.

    If Britain were truly a "free" country, I might give this question proper consideration? If I, were a truly free person. I could answer? Taxation is the yoke around all of our necks, that continues even after death.

    This the pot that all the money-grubbing politicians, are after. That never-ending shangri-la of taxation.

    The idea that Britain is some kind of beacon of hope, for freedom? Is a fallacy.

  • Comment number 72.

    I have a few candidates;
    1999/2000 THE MILLENNIUM DOME! a proud event indeed.
    2003 BEAGLE 2! we went to Mars and promptly broke down.
    2003 (again) EUROVISION. Jemini do GB proud by scoring an impressive 0.
    1956 SUEZ. A last throw of Imperial glory falls flat.
    1997 HONG KONG. Prince Charles expression summed it up
    nicely.

    .....these are things we can all be proud of I am sure.

  • Comment number 73.

    1998. The year I watched Arsenal do the Double.

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    Many commentators are saying 1997 getting rid of the Conservatives, I would not agree I voted Labour for the first time that year, I voted Labour twice more because there was no one better to replace them.

    2010 is not a year to be proud of either. We got rid of one of the worst governments of all time and replaced them with a bunch of clones who remind me of the 1997 NuLabour party. I often despair for the poor quality of politicians and political leadership we have in this country. There is no single member of any political party who is worthy of my respect!

  • Comment number 76.

    Let me see, 1940 includes the removal/resignation of an appeasing British government and Neville Chamberlain, so yes, thats good.

    The previous continuous MASSIVE failure of British government to prevent Germany from breaking its treatys and enabling Hitlers war machine to grow beyond that which Britain was capable of resisting, resulting ultimately in the greatest DEFEAT in British history, resulting in Dunkirk in which our military forces showed exemplary courage beyond the call of duty in the face of such attrocious government failure to provide the weapons/equipment planning and competance needed to hold back and defeat the German onslaught.

    The Courage of British airmen in the face of such overwhelming odds was also exemplary and beyond the call of duty, of whom were also extremely lucky to not be totally annilated because Hitlers governing and military also negligently and foolishly FAILED to see the relevence or importance of Britains radar station masts which highly visibly dotted around the south coast of England.

    In the face of such endemic attrocious British government failures the men and women of our nations military stepped forward with what little they had been provided with and resultingly fought with such courage as well as desperation and gave their lives in the prevention of such an astromically horrendous adversary fromdestroying our nation completely.

    70 years have past since those courageous actions by our young men and women, WHERE and WHAT are the lessons learnt?

    Even recently, we are informed of the total lack of RELEVENT modern equipment and resources provided for our military, while STILL expecting and demanding that they do their duty. WHERE is our government's DUTY to THEM?

    The most PROMINENT words that followed WWII were- "LEST WE FORGET"

    I might add:-

    Lest we forget those who failed in their ultimate duty to Britain in a time of austerity, by their insistance that we CUT our military ability/spending, because they could NOT see any relevent material/physical threat of any serious substance.

    Apparantly some suggest that militarily, presently we act and punch above our affordability and station. Our military and nuclear weapons I would like to point out, are both essential parts of our last resort life support machine. The more you cut back on maintaining them the greater enevitability of death of our nation, a historical fact based upon reality and evidence of our species know history.

    Providing 10,000 military personel is NOT a huge force, and in fact it takes 2 or 3 soldiers to provide each front line soldier with the ability to fight, hence UK fighting force in Afganistan is actually/factually LESS than 5,000.

    If trust and decency/fairness was so reliable of our species, then the most we would presently need for national protection is a few securicor guards at airports and ports. Also, how long does trust last for, what circumstances can change that trust and decency and fairness. Can every married/single man/male trust his wife/partner under every eventuality and circumstance or vice versa. I think the majority do not trust with such completeness and purity.

    Is it not a common known fact that just due to detrimental change of economic circumstance we can from historical evidence/facts assess that human behaviour will deteriorate and that crime will grow!

    Is it not a common known fact that just due to detrimental change of world economic circumstance, we can from historical evidence/facts assess that human behaviour will deteriorate and that the possibility for new wars and new enemys will materialise from BEYOND ANY HORIZON and grow very quickly.

    Cameron so perportedly honours our brave servicemen and women by his words, but at the same time in my opinion he hypercritically insults them and dishonours them and their sacrifice by his governments impending actions resulting in cutting our nations already massively understrength defences, now as with then pre WWII, due to austerity and due to apparantly no conceivable physical threats, on the horizon!

    Whether 100 people in UK demonstrate for UK military/nuclear cuts and instead spend the money on NHS/education etc or 10 million or even 59 million demonstrate, it is Camerons ultimate and foremost duty beyond ALL else, just as is EXPECTED of our front line military, to do what is required and necessary to protect this nation by maintaining and providing that which is ultimately capable of providing such protection to this nation. Ultimately, it is Camerons and his governments CALL OF DUTY.

    Thing is do they have the stomache, aptitude, resiliance and courage to go BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY, as is so predominant a reality and fact with and of those service personel who wear British military uniforms

    Hence, Lest we forget the historical lessons learnt, and NOT just the consequential events!!!

    Unlike PC games, in real life, so often, in extreme circumstances, you have just ONE chance, just ONE life.

    To foresake such ultimate care of duty to our nation and our nations people for political self gain is in my opinion no worse a form of cowardice than can be imagined or a reality.

    Polititians play political name calling games with our public services and other parts of our nation.

    I say, do NOT play your pretentious/deceitful and idealistic political games with our military, or with the COURAGE of those who have died and who are duty bound to die on and for our nations behalf, and do NOT neglect your duty to them or our nation

  • Comment number 77.

    In light of our sainted PM thinking that 1940 was our finest hour and including the so many other ill informed comments he has made as he travels all over the world. Could this guy please take some of his own advice and employ a volunteer from his Big Society idea to instruct him in basic diplomacy home and abroad. Meanwhile I nominate the Declaration of Arbroath 1320 as Scotland's finest hour as it pleaded for the Scottish people to be an independent nation and 1998 when we finally re- established our own parliament.

  • Comment number 78.

    1911.

    Britain was at its absolute peak as the unassailable world power in every aspect: commercially, diplomatically, militarily, culturally.

    The Workshop of the World. 80 per cent of the world's ships built in British yards. Ports, roads, bridges, railways, civic infrastructure built in every corner of the globe by British engineers, British investment and British inspiration. Anything British-built was the acme of quality, workmanship and innovation.

    King George V was crowned Emperor of India at the Delhi Durbar.

    Sterling was the currency of the world, the bedrock of international trade and commerce.

    The Royal Navy was the greatest single human enterprise on the planet.

    The civilised world was linked by "All Red Routes", everything worked efficiently and with a quiet dignity. Three posts a day. Mail from England to India delivered in a fortnight.

    One fifth of the world's surface was pink.

    1940? It was the beginning of the end. It was the Edwardian Era that was the absolute pinnacle.

  • Comment number 79.

    That was the year before the USA came and joined in the war and we still had our gold reserves and the USA got a good deal out of the UK that took us years to pay them and as Cameron was not born then did he get this of his father or the history teacher at Eton, please this is Cameron golden year and he is making the most off it already rich just think what he can do for himself in five years, he is another Blair.

  • Comment number 80.

    1940 was far from a year to be proud of!! for a start it was barabric like at school kids had no rights..thank god corporal punishment was abolished xD

  • Comment number 81.

    Forget pride. Our greatest will be when Jesus Christ returns to liberate the poor and the oppressed from Capitalist finance terrorism of which David Cameron is a fully payed up member of.

    Liberation from Nazism and Communism....comming soon, liberation from Capitalist tyranny.

    Remember our soldiers voted in 1945 for liberation from poverty and were rewarded with a welfare and health system that the tyrants of the Directors and class bigots seek to destroy. Fascism is still here among the tory Right and I include rightwing christain fundamentalists who represent pure evil.

    In reality 1940 was born of myth. 1945 was pure greatness because Hitler commited sucide and Nazism was destroyed.

    The alternative is too horrible to think about but we ought not to forget that this evil government are undermining all the good this nation stood for during the War as they punish the vulnerable and poor and let those who have almost destroyed us, off the hook.

    Britian is not the Nation of the War-we are of greed, self interest and cold, uncaring lacking compassion as we put our faith in the market which is Britain's God. We have ditched the real god as we allow perverted speculation whilst the depravity of the tory media blame those who are largely innocent. Yes Fascism is alive and doing well in brutal free market cassino Britain well financed by the Directors and Big business.

  • Comment number 82.

    1400, Owain Glyndwr's rising against english oppression in Wales.

  • Comment number 83.

    Why don't you ask the senior partner Dave?

    My advice - Stop digging!

  • Comment number 84.

    I think 1900 marked about the last year Britain could still be proud.

    We were global #1 but have since got lazy and slithered down and down until today we seem to rank only about 12th average in terms of global wealth, power, influence, competition, health and education etc.

    Let us hope that sanity prevails, the dead hand of socialism is cast out forever and perhaps we may look forward to prouder years yet to come…

  • Comment number 85.

    No doubt there was a great sense of pride at that time; my grandmother often spoke about her pride of Britain and the people she knew during the war years.

    I'm not saying Britain’s perfect but I personally think there's a lot of be proud off, our achievements during the war being just one of many good examples.

  • Comment number 86.


    At 1:54pm on 28 Jul 2010, achristian wrote:
    "1997. That's when we finally got rid of the tory government for 13 years.
    Now, unfortunately they are back by default."

    33. At 2:53pm on 28 Jul 2010, Anarcho-libertarian wrote:
    1979. That's when the greatest leader in the history of the universe was elected : Margaret Thatcher.

    Regretably she was elected leader of the UK in our universe. Your comment might be valid had she been elected as leader of let's say the dalek universe or indeed any universe where destruction is worshipped

  • Comment number 87.

    How does lip slapper know? he wasn't around then. This is the year (1940)before the British got into debt with the Americans, I suppose that was a good year based on that.

  • Comment number 88.

    As a so called democracy I would say that any year was better than one where we have been forced to have an unelected government telling us what to do. And they who hate the publci sector but who are happy enough to take the tax payers money for their salaries.

  • Comment number 89.

    1775 when citizen militias standing up for their rights as Englishmen put a superbly trained professional army to flight and put Parliament and King George on notice that they weren't going to take oppression lying down.

    It's interesting to note that today Congress in many ways treats us worse than Parliament ever did but there's no sign of revolution. It's true what they say: be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

  • Comment number 90.

    Does cameron actually know what happened in 1940...Judging by his previous 'junior' comments one has to surmise he hasn't the foggiest about what he's blabbing on about. Remember to take what camerons says with a pinch of salt, but please can someone keep an eye on our salt reserves, we dont want the fiasco we had at the beginning of the year with the lack of salt.

  • Comment number 91.

    1585 - first colonisation of Americas by the English.
    By inference, 1776, when this triumph was transformed into a tragedy, the worst year.
    They'll come begging to be let back in one day soon; you wait and see.

  • Comment number 92.

    Every year the French got a good English hiding ;-)

  • Comment number 93.

    17. At 2:16pm on 28 Jul 2010, thelevellers wrote:
    Clearly cameron and the rest of the tory toffs lived on big country estates in the countryside and would not have experienced the Blitz.

    My personal favourite year was 1997 when britain entered a new golden age.
    ===============
    I remember that period. The Golden Age of Labour bankruptcy

  • Comment number 94.

    49. At 3:19pm on 28 Jul 2010, krokodil wrote:
    th3_0r4cl3 wrote:
    2300bc construction of stonehenge without any modern equipment hauling 5 tonne stones from southern wales to salisbury plain.
    1215 the magna carta
    seriously the list could go on and on and on, but i would tend to steer clear of wars as i believe just like violence against a person they represent a monumental failure of respect on both parties that feel the need to throw their toys out of the pram.
    =========================================================================
    YEAH.....you would have sat back and made a pact with Hitler....because we should have respected him a bit more. You are the stuff heroes are made of!


    =============================================

    Ahh with respect mr Krokodil you have me all wrong whilst i maintain that war is an epic fail, war should not be celebrated, a victory of a war thrust upon a nation yes definitely so. I definitely would not herald 1940 as a great year as so many people were suffering at the tip of the nazi jackboot.

  • Comment number 95.

    It'll be a proud year when we have a leader that stands up and says to the EU 'on your bike' we look after our own affairs we are not going to be lorded by you any longer' and, reverses immigration sending all those that came here in the last fifty years bereft of any skill other than the ability to draw benefits. As it is, it hasn't happened yet, so I can't name a year.

  • Comment number 96.

    4000 BC when God made the world

  • Comment number 97.

    I hoped - against hope as it turned out - that when Bliar was elected, he would bring some fairness and equality to the UK.
    Recent history has shown the whole con-trick that is the Westminster Club, but for a few months I really believed that things WOULD get better.

  • Comment number 98.

    In response to 63 SussexRokx

    Even when we outnumbered the germans three to one we still couldn't win. And the germans beat us time and time again when they had inferiour numbers to us. You comment about us invading Italy and France WITH the Americans against a german army drained of manpower due to them fighting Russia.

    As for the bombing, that was a disaster, for us and the germans. We lost 30,000 civilian dead in the blitz which lasted 150 days & nights. We killed 60,000 in Berlin in 3 years (I was taking about the destruction by the Russian Army not its airforce). We bombed cities with a bombing airforce that cost as much as our army (resulting in british-made tanks that were always late in service, ineffective and obsolete, so we had to rely on the americans, again!).

    The germans started the war with 28 submarines and only started to produce more in 1942. They NEVER had enough. You fall into the trap of the myth makers when you think that the code breakers won the war. If we had completely broken the code the U-boats could have been wiped out in a month. It was as a result of changing tactics and specialised escort vessels and weapons that finally won that battle.

    As for 'great technological advances' read 'Enigma' by Robert Harris. We built code breaking computors for Bletchly Park at a rate of 5 a month and refused to allow the americans to use their greater manufacturing capacity to help. We made a working jet engine in the teeth of opposition from the RAF higer-ups. Some of the bomber electronic aids actually allowed the germans to track and shoot down our planes.

    I do not doubt that our contribution to the war was, for us, significant. But compared to what the Russians and the USA did (the US built $38 billion manufacturing plant) the only significant event we accomplished was, as I said, to stand alone and not give in when ALL thought that we should.








    Because this nation came so close to going under is why I say 1940 was definitly our proudest year.

  • Comment number 99.

    49. At 3:19pm on 28 Jul 2010, krokodil wrote:
    th3_0r4cl3 wrote:
    2300bc construction of stonehenge without any modern equipment hauling 5 tonne stones from southern wales to salisbury plain.
    1215 the magna carta
    seriously the list could go on and on and on, but i would tend to steer clear of wars as i believe just like violence against a person they represent a monumental failure of respect on both parties that feel the need to throw their toys out of the pram.

    =======================
    You don't have to live by the sword to die on one

  • Comment number 100.

    Hello, Rather_Be_Cycling of #78.

    I thought you were a pro-yankee!

    You forget 1 other wonderful aspect of 1911 - England won the ashes 4-1 in Australia.

    Vintage year indeed!

 

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