Thursday 14 May 2009

Did Magna Carta Die In Vain?

The video is Anthony Hancock and lasts 24 seconds only.

As history is for ever having its course changed and being rewritten, let us remind ourselves of our ancient freedoms. When Good King John was made an offer he could not refuse at Runnymede in 1215, just who were the brave freedom fighters winning our ancient rights? They were the major property magnates of the day, who did not like the deal that the King offered, in particular the liability for paying taxes and obeying a system of unified law. This kind of thing was only for the little people. These magnates continued to hound the crown and later organised another bid for authority in the shape of a Parliament. In its original form the House of Lords meant those at the top of the rich list of the day, and the House of Commons, a collection of cheer leading groups selected from amongst their side kicks and connections. This remained more or less the case until the early 20th Century. Then, an urbanised population, global trading, the rise of money merchants, and the severe depression in British agriculture displaced most of the old upper class replacing them with new money and more complicated ideas about how to handle it, basically the rich kept the lot without obligations.

The problem was that in creating urban living with new communications meant that the little people wanted a say, and worse, a decent share of the loot. So whilst they had to be given votes with the attendant risks of them getting organised, something had to be done to keep them in their place. So was born the Ponzi scheme of the welfare state (if you think this is an idea I have pinched, not so, I was flogging this one years ago), consumerism, easy credit, the modern media and marketing, and dear Zeus (oops, that’s my DNA out) the unlovely and stomach churning celebrity culture, of which our present politics is just a branch.

Now our new elite, The London Mediocracy, are paying off the great magnates who have just wrecked the system they created with money from taxes we will be paying for years. They are frantically trying to avoid either paying fair taxes, or having to obey the laws that the rest of us do, and to prop us a system that is crashing down around our ears. This is the context in which the wicked comedy of the expenses racket is being played out. In the meantime the little people do not like it and they still have votes. The trouble is that they have little or no idea of how to use them effectively, and the options they have before them offer little respite from the past.

Given 21st century conditions in our representative assembly we do not need well over 600 people elected on the basis of a voting system that has inflicted serious damage on the nation now for too long. We need only half as many, if that. As for the Second Chamber, the present arrangements are worse than the previous. If we can work out what it might do, and there is a need for counterbalance then the way it is elected should reflect that. As for the head of state, given some of the political grotesques we could be saddled with, Her Majesty etc. look the least worst option. There is talk of Cromwell in the air. He’s the wrong man. Perhaps Jack Cade, maybe John Lilburne, but not John Wilkes, more Edmund Burke, or Henry Hunt. A personal favourite would be William Lovett, but the idea of Moral Force with Temperance and Kindness would be difficult to sell against the commercial interest.

So it might come to the Eastern Association after all, and who would I ride with?


  1. It is a conundrum as to what was so good about 'Republicanism' that the former 'lords of all they surveyed' stepped off their thrones and set up shop in their treasuries?

    Which is to posit that the 'kings' are not gone, they merely went underground.

    Perhaps you can put a finger on something that has troubled me.

    Why is it that the average person rejects the idea of making decisions for themselves?

    We can flip that rock over and point out that this process allows the self-interested to ignore popular opposition and have things 'their way' 99% of the time.

    As an advocate of 'direct democracy', I think the legislative branch should be abolished extension, the 'executive branch' needs to go too. Sadly so does the 'politically connected' Judicial branch.

    There is another way to 'rearrange' these boxes so we are no longer doomed to suffer decisions that only benefit the 'well-off'.

  2. Post script:

    Make decisions for themselves is meant in the context of voting directly upon proposed legislation rather than abolishing the 'rule of law'.

    Man has yet to prove he has the wisdom to live in harmony with one another by merely observing social customs, which vary too widely to be universally accepted.

  3. Perhaps you should be invoking Jupiter rather than Zeus, given the 'bread-and-circuses' culture that distracts the populace from the machinations of the political elite.

    At least the Senate sat in the round. I'm heartily sick of the PMQ 'showtime' aspect of Parliament, where government and opposition sit like monkeys on facing branches and hurl abuse at each other. At best, it's a distraction; at worst, sensible bills are lost simply because they were introduced by the opposition.

    I have heard it said that the system is pupolar with the voting public as an entertaining spectacle. Well, I don't want spectacle, I want sensible decision-making.

    Although since, as I understand it, the distance between the benches ensures members are out of sword's reach of each other, perhaps it's time to bring it up to date and issue them all with more contemporary weapons.

    Now that WOULD be a spectacle.