Constitution

Few of us would disagree that the world would be a better place if we all lived by the rule-of-law – but can the same be said about living by the rule of statute? The writer thinks not.
We are approaching the tenth anniversary of the present Queen and her “evil councilors” being served with a lawful petition raised by a committee of 25 Barons exercising their right under Chapter 61 of Magna Carta to order her not to give Royal Assent to the statute which gave effect to the Nice Treaty in 2001.
Throughout the ages mankind’s ingenuity has allowed one group of people to control others. The creation of the ‘legal fiction’ is a superb example – it is the very foundation of how we are controlled today and yet the knowledge of its existence eludes all but a tiny few of us.
Alexander Pope
An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king, Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow Through public scorn, mud from a muddy spring, Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know, But leech-like to their fainting country cling, Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow, A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field, An army, which liberticide and prey Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay; Religion Christless, Godless a book sealed; A Senate, Time's worst statute unrepealed, Are graves, from which a glorious Phantom may Burst, to illumine our tempestuous day. - Percy Bysshe Shelley, Sonnet: England in 1819
These are the great springs of national misfortunes. There have been monsters in other ages, and other countries, as well as ours ; but they have never continued their devastations long, when there were heroes to oppose them... They, who go about to destroy, are animated from the first by ambition and avarice, the love of power and money: fear makes them often desperate at last... A Parliament, nay one house of Parliament, is able at any time, and at once, to destroy any corrupt plan of power. - Henry St John, Lord Bolingbroke, "Letters on the Spirit of Patriotism"
A people may choose, or hereditary succession may raise, a bad prince to the throne; but a good king alone can derive his right to govern from God.  The reason is plain: good government alone can be in the divine intention.  God has made us to desire happiness; he has made our happiness dependent on society; and the happiness of society dependent on good or bad government.  His intention, therefore, was, that government should be good... A divine right in kings is...a divine right to govern well, and conformably to the constitution at the head of which they are placed.  A divine right to govern ill, is an absurdity to assert it, is blasphemy... The office of kings is, then, of right divine, and their persons are to be reputed sacred.  As men, they have no such right, no such sacredness belonging to them: as kings, they have both, unless they forfeit them. - Henry St John, Lord Bolingbroke, "The Idea of a Patriot King"
Do you know what would hold me together on a battlefield? The sense that I was perpetuating the language in which Keats and the rest of them wrote! - Wilfred Owen
The last three months of 2009 seem likely to be exciting ...
The Ministry of Justice has this to say about the Constitution - The British Constitution is not, as it is in many countries, a ‘written constitution’. It is not codified in a single document but is made up of a complex web of statutes, conventions, and a corpus of common and other law. It is also informed by an interweaving of history and more modern democratic principles. The legal premise of the United Kingdom constitution - that the UK parliament is sovereign - is a fundamental part of our constitutional arrangements. This means that an Act of Parliament must be obeyed by the courts, that later acts prevail over earlier ones, and that the rules made by external bodies cannot override Acts of Parliament. The Bill of Rights 1689 and Magna Carta are important elements of our constitution. Magna Carta is Primary legislation and has the same status as any other legislation and is not immune from repeal or amendment. The same applies to the Bill of Rights which was an ordinary Act of Parliament passed in the ordinary way. What a pack of lies.
Elizabeth Beckett
I am old and now seriously ill. I cannot die without making clear to you, that you have broken your oath to us your people. - from Elisabeth Beckett's last letter to the Queen, 21st January, 2009

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