The Scum of the Earth follows men Wellington called just that from victory at Waterloo to a Regency Britain war with itself, and explodes some myths on way; such as defeat Napoleon ended threat revolution spreading France. Did victorious soldiers return land fit for heroes? They did not. There was first Corn Laws in same year battle, there famine chronic unemployment. In 1819, Peterloo massacre saw 15 killed least 500 injured when cavalry sabred crowd demanding parliamentary reform. Peace Europe perhaps 50 years – but home, repression air. And time, sheer exuberance period, new buildings, art, even 17 colonies more or less accidentally acquired. By 1848 whole once set complete upheaval. is no one better take cold, hard look battle itself its aftermath, order save us an anniversary misty-eyed backslapping, than political editor Colin Brown.