There’s a time for talk and a time for action.
Old John Bull hoists up his breeches and pulls his waistcoat tight, the red, white and blue flying proud across his rippling gut. Top hat and tails complete his ensemble, each as tall as tower blocks. Iconic, he thinks, emerging from his colossal country manor with towering cane in hand. Mammoth strides take him over the green fields of Blighty, towards the bright lights of the capital.
Britain is in peril once more and only he can beat back its foes, defend its shores, ensure its freedom.
Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves! Britons never, never, never shall be slaves…
Cheers go up far, far below him as he reaches the city’s outer limits, flag-waving Brits pouring onto the streets to send him into battle with rousing choruses of ‘God Save The Queen’ and ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ ringing in his ears. He’s doing it all for them; honest-to-goodness, true-blue countrymen.
The sort of people that the others want to swindle, rape and ruin.
The nations not so blest as thee, must, in their turn, to tyrants fall…
To think that some people once defended those invading hordes, preaching about human rights and open borders. The U.N was to blame, John thinks – that pack of fearful, snowflake politicians sitting shoulder to shoulder with our foes, debating, negotiating, selling off our heritage piece by piece. And for what? All so that lesser nations can line up at the gates, hold open their palms, take their fill. The very thought of it makes John Bull shudder, mini-earthquakes shaking the tree-lined suburban streets around his feet.
Thank God that nonsense is all over, he thinks. Thank God matters are settled the old-fashioned way, in blood and glory.
Thank God for the National Monsters Programme.
As the loud blast that tears the skies, serves but to root thy native oak…
Not everyone was happy with the idea at first. Some nations argued that settling international disputes with giant, mutant monster fights as opposed to endless, boring debates was somehow wrong, that it trivialised important issues. Not at all, John Bull thinks; this is a fairer way to settle things. Nations have to toughen up, play to their strengths, stand tall and proud.
Fight or die.
And it has worked, he thinks, as great steps take him from street to street until he is staring down his foe: Mother Russia, that cold, red bitch. Her hammer and sickle glint in the bright British sunlight. Her very presence on this hallowed ground is an insult, John Bull thinks, tightening his hands into meaty fists around his cane. He’ll put an end to it, rid this bountiful land of the foreign trespasser.
Thee haughty tyrants ne’er shall tame, all their attempts to bend thee down, will but arouse thy generous flame, but work their woe and thy renown…
Always best when it’s a one on one, John Bull thinks, two nations battling it out to prove their own way of life is right. Multiple monster mash ups do happen from time to time, of course, with nations teaming up on shared interests or even taking part in occasional all-in scraps for supremacy. But there’s something pure about two nations duking it out; something proper.
He swings his cane at the commie devil, but she dodges and comes right back at him, raining hammer blows down on his biceps. John Bull grimaces, but he’s up to the task. Who needs votes, politicians, all that debating? His people fought for their freedom, fought to control their borders and destinies; he will fight for them in turn.
His belly rumbles a deafening roar, longing for roast beef, mustard and a pint of real ale.
Blest isle! With matchless beauty crowned, and manly hearts to guard the fair…
The blows come thick and fast between the monsters, every punch, slice and jab sending them flailing into towers and terraces. An even match-up, John Bull thinks, wheezing. But then the Russian gets her blade behind him, wraps it around the back of his stubby legs and slices his hamstrings with one quick stroke. John Bull finds himself on his knees, each the size of houses, each forced into the earth under his great bulk. Mother Russia bears down on him, closing in to land a final, fatal blow.
But the pride of Britain always endures – he’s beaten off the fat cat elite, liberal protests and the PC Brigade, never once letting his spirit dampen. He flings his great cane away; the strength of Blighty lies not in its weapons but in its proud, powerful fists! He swings upwards, putting every ounce of his great heft behind it, and the Red Peril is knocked clean off her feet, crashing down into the heart of the city.
And with that, he has won. Cheers drift to him on the breeze from the tiny specks dancing around his feet. Britain is safe to rejoice once more.
But then another sound reaches him, one of terror and despair, of innocents crushed under the flabby heft of our John Bull. He bends himself down, down, down, head casting long shadows throughout the streets below. Only now does he see the rubble, shattered glass and spreading fires, only now does he see the destruction he hath wrought. Faces come into focus, too: different ages, races and creeds, all united in their suffering. Picking each other up, pulling the broken bodies of friend and stranger alike away to safety.
Are these really his people?
He rubs his eyes and looks again, expecting to see proud, smiling Brits, but instead the figures recoil away from him, the screams continue – this can’t be right, can it? He’s their hero, after all, protector of this noble land. But now he thinks about it, haven’t those same screams always been there, concealed amongst the ceaseless drone of patriotic song? Hasn’t he seen the buildings topple, sheared down by his flabby limbs? And hasn’t he felt that tell-tale crunch beneath his feet with every step he takes, marching into battle with his head held high?
Hasn’t he always known, deep down, that the victories came at a cost?
His eyes start to well, his breath stutters, his chest cries out in pain. Sorrow surrounds him, although some small crowds do still cheer and sing amidst the chaos, dancing over the rubble and corpses under their feet as flames close in around them.
Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves…
He tries to shout out but they can’t hear him anymore – if they ever truly could. They are happy that the threat is over, that they have their freedom, that the foreign parasites can’t ruin their bright and beautiful land.
John Bull stares at the blazing city below him with wide eyes. The wild dance continues all around as the fires spread, as clothing catches light, as voices ring out in perfect, practised unison.
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.