Where I disagree with the Freeman movement
My blogroll contains a few links to people some might consider raving revolutionaries, specifically the Freemen on the land, as embodied by Captain Ranty. Now I have a deal of respect for the good Captain and cohorts, and what they are trying to do. I appreciate that the oaths sworn by those who consider themselves our rulers are, to say the least, now highly suspect. Sovereignty has been sold. Deals have been struck. The economic futures of whole countries have been mortgaged to the hilt and then refinanced, consolidated and remortgaged again then sold twice over to cover the interest on the remortgage. Like the people who make up those countries didn’t really matter. Effectively what this means is that the old oaths of office sworn in the UK are for all intents and purposes, worthless. The laws, traditions and treaties they were based upon have been conveniently tossed in the rubbish bin for future Historians to squabble over. Constitution? Oh, you mean the UK’s ‘unwritten’ constitution? That old thing? Dahleengs, Magna Carta and 1689 is sooo out of date. Look at this sparkly new EU consti-thingy we signed for you peasants. So who cares if you aren’t allowed to go your own sweet way any more. Yes, it pisses me off as well. Massively.
To the Captain and friends, this discarding of ancient law and precedent renders a good deal of modern statute law worthless. They consider the discarding of law and effective handing over of sovereign authority to a foreign power as nothing less than an act of the highest treason against the people of the UK. They have a very good point. Democratic countries and nation states are (so we are assured) based upon mutually binding promises between rulers and ruled. When those promises are not upheld, then membership of that grouping loses its authority. What this leaves you with, as Mao once pointed out, “Grows from the barrel of a gun.” At that point there is no Democracy, people have no real say in how they are governed, and the whole system begins to break down.
The problem is that whole European (and elsewhere) electorates have been bought with political promises substantial as soap bubbles. “Vote for us and we’ll make everything fair.” kind of thing. “Hey! We can get everything we want by taxing the rich!” Those who make these claims either don’t realise that ‘Fair’ and ‘Rich’ are relative terms, and don’t include the people with the smart money. The ‘Rich’ might well turn out to be the guy who is at present only ‘comfortably well off’, and the ‘Fairness’ he / she is about to find out about is the greater burden of taxation being surreptitiously lowered onto his / her brawny shoulders. Which has already happened, funnily enough. Or rather unfunnily enough. Oh and where are those ‘rich’ people? You know, the ones with the real (not fantasy) money. Like the Cheshire Cat, all that will be seen of their money is a fading fiscal grin, and the more the ‘Tax the rich’ faction clamour for the ‘rich’ to pay for their lifestyles, the higher the burden on the once only modestly well off John Q Public. Not real rich people at all. A vote for ‘Fairness’ will ultimately kill the very system that almost levels the playing field. De Toqueville was right.
All for the sake of power and privilege. That’s what has gone wrong. Too many politicians have gotten too goddamned cosy with taxpayers money.
So, how do we fix it? This system that is so broken? This bargain between individual and state that is the functioning, beating heart of a democracy? Do we rise up, or do we try to pressure the politico’s into taking the pressure off ordinary people and reach some new solution? Where I and the Captain disagree is not about what the problem is, but rather the means of solution.
For me, butting heads with authority using old rules is not an option. Challenging the courts on their home ground is not the solution. Rules can be changed, adapted, and even blatantly ignored by the Judiciary and courts under political supervision. Confrontation simply ups the temperature and the rule makers and enforcers will cheat in order to rid themselves of petty nuisances. Because cheat they will to be rid of people whose only ‘crime’ is to speak their mind or stand up for themselves. The little guy will be sidelined, ignored and sometimes imprisoned. I’ve seen this in microcosm because it’s how UK law works. It’s why a rich man who can afford fancy lawyers can literally get away with murder. Criminals can intimidate witnesses, and political types protest outside their opponents homes and get at their opponents friends and family, because the coppers can’t be everywhere. The little guy working off his own bat (Which is what most Freemen seem to be) can be abused at will because the law is changing so rapidly and applied so arbitrarily. It also helps to remember that what you get in a British court is law, not justice. The law can be bought. This is the way it’s always been. The trick is to make law work in your favour.
“Okay mister brainbox.” one might easily ask. “How would you fight the broken system? How do we get our ancient rights back? How do we get rid of the awful grinding bureaucracy that blights the land if not by fighting back?”
Well, firstly; try not to flag up on the old judicial radar. For my part I’m a law abiding sort by nature, which helps. I also understand how thinly spread the powers of Law and Order are, and try not to make their job more difficult. Because whilst the uniform confronting you may not be your friend, the person within it may be persuaded that you mean no real harm. Politeness pays. Officials are like everyone else, with a few notable exceptions, human. Often a friendly non-confrontational approach will pay off where everything else fails. It is possible to out-nice them, but don’t take the piss. Completely stupid they aren’t, no matter what that nice young radical chappie down the pub told you about “standing up for your rights”.
Understanding what an official is, and the parameters of their job is also useful. Understanding what part of the process you are in is critical. Anything legal must be done just so, or you can walk. The court or issuing authority must do things just right or their case falls apart. Procedures must be followed. JP’s and Judges are bound by very strict rules and guidelines, and whilst they may gloss over certain items for expediency’s sake, if you can clearly demonstrate someone is playing fast and loose with courtroom procedures or the rules of evidence, the case against you will probably collapse. As an aside; while ‘arresting’ JP’s for serving under an unlawful authority may look like a jolly super wheeze, don’t expect to get away with it more than a couple of times. The “Are you serving under your Oath of Office?” approach also has a limited lifespan.
It seems to me that what the Freemen are engaged in is asymmetric warfare, for ancient freedoms. A fight by peaceful means against a new, unaccountable and illegal (In the Freemens eyes) Establishment which appears to be holding all the best cards. Which to a degree they are.
Not that I am advocating any morally or legally reprehensible acts. I’m simply commenting on how the Freemen seem to want to butt heads with the establishment. Which I think will be their undoing. Unless they change their approach.
Upon reflection; the only way for the code Napoleon type laws, which puts the onus of proof on the defendant to be overturned and ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ restored is the complete collapse of the EU power bloc. Secession from the EU may be the only legal way forward. Accomplishing this salient act will require cooperation with other Freemen type organisations in other EU bloc countries. Organisations with which to form expedient alliances, build bridges, and perhaps form the foundation for a more democratically accountable alliance of European countries to replace it. A true grass roots reform, not the current dysfunctional top down, micro-manage everything culture currently in power.
To achieve this, one has to understand the limits of the State in operational terms. The law and the state are not very flexible institutions, and have a long track record of reacting in a heavy handed and inefficient manner. It’s all they really know. For example, several years ago a thrifty Welshman worked out how to use discarded chip shop oil with a touch of methanol in a diesel engined car. The reaction of the state; make it an offence to use said fuel in a vehicle without paying ‘fuel duty’ (but then had to do a climb down because it was unenforceable). This is how the current crop of politicians think. Yellow, red or blue, it makes no odds. They all studied politics in the same schools.
One of the key things to remember is that the organs of the UK’s top down state don’t work very well on evenings or weekends, which is a point worth considering. Read people like Inspector Gadget for example to understand how thinly the much vaunted blue line is spread, where all those highly trained Police Officers spend their time, and under what restrictions they work. Add to this the additional snippet that Council employees and other such state functionaries are actively discouraged from using any form of initiative, and you begin to see the cracks through which Freemen may slink unobserved with a sly grin on their faces. Traveller communities for example, regularly run rings around state employees because they play by their own set of rules. Do Travellers pay tax or road duty? Not that I’m condoning such behaviour of course.
The trick appears to be not to directly confront, don’t play their game, for game it is, on the over intrusive states terms. The odds are stacked in their favour, they play with loaded dice, and make the rules up, so don’t play.
The truth is that the top down, command driven state cannot cope with an opponent, who like McCavity the cat, isn’t there to be caught. This is why the Hunt ban never really worked. Multiple events in widely spread locations (Gosh, did our dogs kill that fox? Oops, sorry. Really.) The tactics of the Flashmob, where tens, sometimes hundreds of like minded individuals turn up at say, Victoria Station to do the zombie dance for three minutes to Michael Jacksons ‘Thriller’ then disappear in a hundred different directions before Security can intervene or the Police arrive. Both peaceful activities, but if the same principles are applied to other activities it may be enough to make other unjust laws unenforceable. In a posted video showing how scrutinised and observed the British are, Ranty asked how the powers that be could ever watch all that surveillance footage, read all those emails and eavesdrop on the texts and phone calls. The answer is they can’t or they’d need so many bored security staff the economy couldn’t stand it. And there he had a partial answer to his own question. The dots are all out there to be connected. Some assembly and creative thinking may be required.
For example; the overweening state needs increasing tax revenues to function, and here is it’s Achilles heel. Barter between Freemen and sympathetically inclined individuals cannot be taxed because it does not have monetary value. Growing for your own consumption cannot be taxed. True, this requires effort, but if you want to be free, then effort is required. As there is no such thing as a free lunch, nothing good happens without a little graft. As solutions go, it’s got to be be better than just sitting there, watching crap TV and moaning about getting shafted.
The aforementioned may not provide the answers the good Captain was asking for originally here; but they’re the only workable ones I can currently offer.