Parliament Square is one of the sacred places of the British nation. It is a place for contemplation and for celebration. In it, to paraphrase Eliot, history is now and Britain. The Houses of Parliament are history as architecture: glory in stone. Across the square, in Westminster Abbey, the parish church of the British Empire, history meets eternity. The Abbey contains many memorials to the embattled dead who shaped our history in Parliament. The square is solemn and glorious: a heroes' acre: a majestic link between our present and our past. Dull must the visitor be of soul if Parliament Square does not speak to his deepest thoughts and re-animate his most profound patriotism.

For the past few years, it has also been a tinkers' encampment, home to a squalid straggle of tents and protestors, Thus solemnity is violated: sacredness, scorned; history, trashed.

A couple of miles to the East, there is another symbol of national pride. In the bleakest days of the War, St Paul's Cathedral was courage as architecture. Despite their jaunty exteriors, many Londoners were cold and hungry and frightened. No-one knew what the next night's bombing-raids would bring. But then, come morning, there was still St Paul's, still standing on its hill: still standing for hope, for serenity, for the promise that evil would not prevail.

Today, St Paul's has been closed by another protesting rabble, for longer than the Nazis managed. Thus again, solemnity is violated, sacredness, scorned, history, trashed.

This is a country which seems to have forgotten how to take pride in its heritage, to venerate its past, to draw on its history as an inspiration for ts future. A generation which allows Parliament Square and St Paul's to be treated like this is a generation which has forfeited the right to call itself British.