In the 18th century, James Hargreaves invented the Spinning Jenny, and Richard Arkwright pioneered the water-propelled spinning frame which led to the mass production of cotton. This was truly revolutionary. The cotton manufacturers created a whole new class of people - the urban proletariat. The structure of society itself would never be the same.
When Christians start thinking about Jesus, things start breaking down, they lose their faith. It's perfectly possible to go to church every Sunday and not ask any questions, just because you like it as a way of life. They fear that if they ask questions they'll lose their Christ, the very linchpin of their religion.
The Royal Family are not like you and me. They live in houses so big that you can walk round all day and never need to meet your spouse. The Queen and Prince Philip have never shared a bedroom in their lives. They don't even have breakfast together.
It would no doubt be very sentimental to argue - but I would argue it nevertheless - that the peculiar combination of joy and sadness in bell music - both of clock chimes, and of change-ringing - is very typical of England. It is of a piece with the irony in which English people habitually address one another.
In the past, I used to counter any such notions by asking myself: 'Would you really want President Hattersley?' I now find that possibility rather cheers me up. With his chubby, Dickensian features and his knowledge of T.H. Green and other harmless leftish political classics, Hattersley might not be such a bad thing after all.