There is an old saying – if democracy worked they would abolish it. Democracy is only tolerated by politicians while it enables them to exercise power, especially in the case of ‘progressives’. The party elites, who operate in the background and are not accountable to anyone even their own party members, love this arrangement. The State establishment – the unknowns – who really have their hands on the levers of power go along with it because it shields them from the public spotlight. At the first indication that some maverick politician is going to disrupt the status quo by being a true democrat – that is government of the people, by the people, for the people – they will react and put a stop to it. Colonel Blimp and Sir Humphrey together with the Secret Service, the top echelon who know better, will discredit or organise a coup in defence of the realm. This cabal will include media-moguls and the chief judiciary, together with the economic movers and shakers. The irony is that the head of the kingdom or realm, in whose name this is being done, is as much a victim as the people. They are a puppet or rubber-stamp of the ‘powers behind the throne’. This is true throughout history (even before democracy) with only tyrants and despots exercising autocratic power through fear and reigns of terror. These people are antidemocratic and only crawl out of the woodwork when under threat and their plans start to unravel. They reveal themselves by their actions and behaviour, all the while claiming to be democrats. We are in such a situation now following the unique demonstration of direct democracy via the EU Referendum.
The people have spoken and the Government has responded positively. HMS Brexit is under orders and building up steam ready to depart as the crowds gather on the quay to cheer her on its way to do battle. Even before leaving harbour she is under attack from every direction, including external and foreign forces. She is enveloped in a fog of devious and mischievous attacks of a spurious nature with the aim that a destroyer can launch a surprise torpedo and sink her in her berth. The people are outraged and in anger throw themselves on the attackers, who little realise the consequences of their actions. This has happened so many times in history – a seemingly minor incident has served to trigger a series of events that have resulted in major changes to the course of history. Overdramatic?
There is great anger about the way the antidemocrats are behaving. This is encapsulated by the editorial in this weeks Daily Mail [12 October]. Without any further comment and my apologies for directing you to Mail Online> http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3833496/DAILY-MAIL-COMMENT-Whingeing-Contemptuous-Unpatriotic-Damn-Bremoaners-plot-subvert-British-people.html
The human-rights lawyers are busy. A hearing in the Northern Ireland High Court has been ongoing. Brought by a rag-bag of nationalist and progressive politicians and activists, who claim a right to veto the invoking of Article 50 due to the Good Friday Agreement peace process. Of course there is no specific provision, but the lawyers have created an implied right. Similarly in the English High Court another rag-bag of fund-managers, expats, lawyers and a foreign hairdresser yesterday launched another bid to prevent the Governments use of the royal prerogative to trigger Article 50 > http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37639307
For such things, and even less, civil wars have been fought. At the heart of this is the never ending friction between those who rule and the ruled who demand that this be with their consent. The similarity between current affairs and the English Civil War are amazing. The only difference is that the roles are reversed; this time the people are players, and the Monarch does not lose her head. But we have to go even further back in history.
Yesterday, 13th October, we celebrated the feast day of Saint Edward the Confessor. King Edward was a good and just king who established rights that were lost following the Battle of Hastings on 14th October 1066. King William was an admirer of Edward to the extent of making the law of Edward the common law of England under Norman rule. His son William II did not follow the Conqueror’s example. Henry, the youngest son of the Conqueror, succeeded on his older brother’s death while resident in Normandy. Faced with opposition from the earls and barons in England, the antagonism of the Church, and an unreceptive native Anglo-Saxon population he proclaimed his Coronation Charter in 1100 on accession to the throne. This is better known as the Charter of Liberties and was a written constitution that regulated the conduct and relationship between Monarch and his subjects, though the common native population did not figure in this arrangement. Among the declarations was; ‘I restore the law of King Edward and the amendments which my father introduced upon the advice of his barons.’ The promises in the Charter were not enforced, often ignored, and the Monarch acquired greater power. Despite this he was held in great awe and described a good man, the “Lion of Justice”, probably nostalgically because of the anarchy that followed his death and the conflict between Stephen and Matilda.
The friction between ruler and ruled was ongoing and ill defined, with taxation at the core. Conflict was the norm with civil wars a frequent occurrence. The need to raise taxes resulted in concessions to the barons, that were then ignored. The Magna Carta of 1215 was an attempt by the barons to curtail the monarch’s powers and enforce no taxation without consent. Neither side adhered to their commitments and the process was repeated in 1216, 1217, 1225 and 1297. It was the same issues that dogged the Stuart kings and led to the English Civil War of 1642-1651.
Some historians seek the roots of that conflict in the Reformation, which led to the Stuarts being kings of three Kingdoms. Although the War did spill over into Ireland and Scotland, it was an essentially English conflict that was in fact three separate wars. It was also called the Great Rebellion and the English Revolution between the Cavalier Royalists and the Parliamentarian Roundheads. In Parliament the Commons were elected by the gentry and the Lords were hereditary. The people continued to be excluded and during the conflict, their main concern was to protect themselves and their property from both sides. James and Charles were always strapped for cash, which was a real problem when they wanted to go to war. At the same time they did not want to convene Parliament in order to approve taxes as they would also have to concede to Parliament’s demands. To get around this Charles resorted to a defunct power to impose ship money in order to fund the Royal Navy. The challenge to this Royal Prerogative was a refusal to pay the tax by people who challenged it in the Courts. They lost and were penalised, leading to resentment and opposition in Parliament. King Charles attempted to arrest his opponents and dissolve Parliament, while at the same time upholding his Divine Right to Rule. Parliament resisted, conflict and war followed with Charles beheaded in 1649. Charles II continued the fight from exile against the Commonwealth of England [1649-53] and Cromwell’s Protectorate [1653-59]. He was restored to the monarchy but it was established that the King cannot rule without Parliament’s consent. Finally in 1688, with the Glorious Revolution, it was established that Parliament is the ruling power.
Now we have the latest chapter of this never ending story. This time the Government are the Royalists and accused of acting in a cavalier fashion with their use of the Prerogative. The gentry in the Commons and the unelected in the Lords are the Parliamentarians challenging the Royal Prerogative with the premise that the United Kingdom is a Parliamentary Democracy and Article 50 cannot be invoked without their consent. The people say we are in charge and have spoken; the Lords do not represent us and the MPs do not reflect their constituents views. Over to the Courts.
This has got all the makings of another Great Rebellion and English Revolution.