After my peregrinations about the ticking constitutional time bomb created by the Lisbon, Maastricht, Nice, and Rome treaties with the EU, I found myself wondering what there is a dissenting private citizen can do. Within the law of course.
After a brief comment conversation over at Orphans of Liberty with the erudite legal blogger Tom Paine on a related matter, I elected to do a little digging. In doing so, I took time out to read the full English text of the Magna Carta, a key constitutional document which Queen Elizabeth swore to uphold in her coronation speech, as have so many of her forbears. In amongst all the anachronistic stuff about Fish Weirs, etc, and the still valid rights of widows and right to a trial by your peers (Not by what is effectively a foreign power), I came across this little gem.
(61) SINCE WE HAVE GRANTED ALL THESE THINGS for God, for the better ordering of our kingdom, and to allay the discord that has arisen between us and our barons, and since we desire that they shall be enjoyed in their entirety, with lasting strength, for ever, we give and grant to the barons the following security:
The barons shall elect twenty-five of their number to keep, and cause to be observed with all their might, the peace and liberties granted and confirmed to them by this charter.
If we, our chief justice, our officials, or any of our servants offend in any respect against any man, or transgress any of the articles of the peace or of this security, and the offence is made known to four of the said twenty-five barons, they shall come to us – or in our absence from the kingdom to the chief justice – to declare it and claim immediate redress. If we, or in our absence abroad the chiefjustice, make no redress within forty days, reckoning from the day on which the offence was declared to us or to him, the four barons shall refer the matter to the rest of the twenty-five barons, who may distrain upon and assail us in every way possible, with the support of the whole community of the land, by seizing our castles, lands, possessions, or anything else saving only our own person and those of the queen and our children, until they have secured such redress as they have determined upon. Having secured the redress, they may then resume their normal obedience to us.
Any man who so desires may take an oath to obey the commands of the twenty-five barons for the achievement of these ends, and to join with them in assailing us to the utmost of his power. We give public and free permission to take this oath to any man who so desires, and at no time will we prohibit any man from taking it. Indeed, we will compel any of our subjects who are unwilling to take it to swear it at our command.
If-one of the twenty-five barons dies or leaves the country, or is prevented in any other way from discharging his duties, the rest of them shall choose another baron in his place, at their discretion, who shall be duly sworn in as they were.
In the event of disagreement among the twenty-five barons on any matter referred to them for decision, the verdict of the majority present shall have the same validity as a unanimous verdict of the whole twenty-five, whether these were all present or some of those summoned were unwilling or unable to appear.
The twenty-five barons shall swear to obey all the above articles faithfully, and shall cause them to be obeyed by others to the best of their power.
We will not seek to procure from anyone, either by our own efforts or those of a third party, anything by which any part of these concessions or liberties might be revoked or diminished. Should such a thing be procured, it shall be null and void and we will at no time make use of it, either ourselves or through a third party.
Now even though this was signed almost eight hundred years ago in 1215 (As Tom rightly pointed out) at virtual sword point; because the reigning Monarch has sworn at her coronation to uphold the document, it remains valid. As with the Common Law in force before that date.
What I get from article 61 is the following;
- Although ‘Parliament is sovereign’ MP’s, their staff, and the Civil Service they direct are effective officers of the Crown, having sworn an oath to the reigning Monarch, and therefore legally bound to uphold the principles enshrined in Magna Carta
- If any such officer does not, there are clearly outlined procedures for a private individual to obtain redress, to begin with; taking an oath of allegiance to the committee of Barons. Funnily enough, if you don’t, then the Crown can ‘compel’ you to. Not that I’ve ever heard of this happening. Nor is it likely.
- Taking such a binding oath is apparently not a ‘right’ or ‘entitlement’, but a duty of everyone who doesn’t agree with an English Governments actions in respect of the rest of the document, like ceding powers to a foreign authority
Then I came across this article where a committee of Barons had actually submitted such a petition on 7th February 2001. It seems the complaint was largely ignored, as the Treaty of Nice, and the Treaty of Lisbon were later signed and ratified. Yet according to the provisions of Magna Carta, these treaty signings were not legally valid. Unless of course the document is a complete anachronism, in which case the English Monarch is no longer the Monarch, and therefore all related constitutional bets (Including Government) are off. Because all of their power is devolved from the reigning Monarch. But wait a minute, that would mean… Oh dear.
There appear to be so many paradoxes floating around the current constitutional situation underpinning the UK that it violates the rules of causality. As well as blowing the basic rule of contracts and other formal agreements out of the water. An agreement (or Oath) between ruler and ruled is only an agreement so long as no one violates the terms and conditions, of which Magna Carta forms one. If the terms and conditions are ignored, such as in any contract, any stakeholder can be said to be no longer bound by it. Rather like with a contract of employment; you break the terms and conditions, you get disciplined or fired, or your Boss violates those terms, then you walk and claim ‘constructive dismissal’.
A broken oath cannot be considered valid. No valid oath means no agreement, which means no Monarch or Sovereign, so how can the UK Parliament (Which derives devolved power from the institution of Monarchy) have any sovereignty at all? Or any of the treaties and arrangements it makes any validity? This is the can of worms the ceding of authority to the European Union has opened up, as it is a clear violation of the Monarchs oath of office, as laid out in the basic documents.
From where I stand, the only real rule seems to be “Sed quoniam inquam sic.” (Because I say so). To which the answer is; “Vos quod cuius exercitus.” (You and whose army?) Usually quickly followed by; “Ut exercitus illac.” (That Army over there). Which rather makes a nonsense of the oft repeated claims by politicians about living in a Democracy. In a real democracy, the threat of coercive force would not be an option. However, this is the real world.
I may be wrong, but on the other hand……..
Might as well say “Hang ’em all” and go do my own sweet thing.