Monarchy, Democracy, Magna Carta, UK Constitution, The Rule of Law
- Magna Carta
- UK Constitution
- The Rule of Law
By definition is incompatible with democracy. “Monarchy in Britain is a game of consent.”
You cannot have a Government chosen by election (by the people) and at the same time have individuals occupying positions of power simply because they were born the sons and daughters of families who already have political power.
King Charles I (19 November 1600 – 30 January 1649) was tried, convicted, and executed for high treason in January 1649. “Charles believed in the divine right of kings and thought he could govern according to his own conscience. Many of his subjects opposed his policies, in particular the levying of taxes without parliamentary consent, and perceived his actions as those of a tyrannical absolute monarch.” As a consequence, the English people fought a civil war and abolished the monarchy creating a republic called the Commonwealth of England. For 10 years England was one of the first republics in the world. The monarchy was restored to Charles’s son, Charles II, in 1660 with the understanding that no queen or king would ever seek to rule without the Parliament.
(The Independent, 12 June 2015)
The most influential Victorian political analyst and essayist Walter Bagehot in 1867 “suggested in his work The English Constitution that there was no point in explaining the monarchy as a rational part of British society. It has been a set text for little kings and queens in waiting ever since.” (The Independent guide to the UK constitution: The monarchy, The Independent, 12 June 2015)
Writing for an age when the monarch was also an empress and Britain a superpower, Bagehot described the Monarchy as merely a decorative part of the constitution and that the real power was exercised by the cabinet:
“was to float above the filthy business of wielding power and instead embody a sense of “mystery” – a unifying figurehead gifted by history and surrounded by ritual….
…..enjoyed “the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn”, and in exercising these rights would win the affection of his or her subjects.”
In the 21st Century, the Monarchy became a central institution in a very conservative and traditional political order. Despite the fact they are left over from feudalism, the Monarchy or the Royal Family are also doing the business of modern British capitalism.
Monarchy has been described by the Independent as cited above:
“Alongside the Queen’s duties as Head of State (opening Parliament, meeting prime ministers, making overseas visits), Britain now has a “Head of Nation”.”
“These include: providing a focus for national identity, unity and pride; giving a sense of stability and continuity; recognising success, achievement and excellence; and supporting service to others.”
“A head of state elevated by birth rather than merit”
Sir Anthony Jay described the duties of the role of the Queen in his 1990s documentary:
The monarch’s duties, he wrote, “can be done well, or adequately, or badly, or not done at all. They are the ones concerned with behaviour, values and standards; the ones which earn the respect, loyalty and pride of the people.”
The Royal Family is beyond dispute very wealthy. Money is a sort of power. The public pay for the Royal Family to remain wealthy and the cost of the taxpayers is increasing every year. For hundreds of years, they are the largest land owners along with the Church of England, aristocracy and Oxford University.
They also own Duchy of Cromwell (assets of about £800 million giving £19 million to Prince Charles per year in profit) and Duchy of Lancaster (profits to the Queen) and receive grants from the estates. The laws are embedded in feudal laws which also allows the Duke of Cornwall to claim all assets of a person who dies without a will in Cornwall for himself. This is similar in Lancaster which allowed the Duke of Lancaster (passed to the Queen) to claim all assets of those who died without a will to herself. The same goes for assets of dissolved corporations.
An estimate of the Royal Family property portfolio is estimated at over £7 billion with an additional £10 billion in art collections. Other investments vary. A total of what it is believed to be approximately £45 billion.
With wealth also comes power and specifically the power not to obey the rules of the land. Planning permission do not apply, tax is voluntary, leaseholders’ rights to buy freehold not applied, numerous exemptions, Prince Charles cannot be summoned to HM Courts, he can veto any law passed by the Government which may affect the Prince’s interests (done this 12 times already).
“It is a long established convention that The Prince, as Duke of Cornwall, is asked by Parliament to provide consent to those bills which Parliament has decided would affect Duchy of Cornwall interests. The same process is followed with regards to The Queen providing consent to bills that would affect Crown interests. In modern times, neither the Sovereign nor the Duke of Cornwall has ever refused to consent to any bill affecting Crown or Duchy of Cornwall interests. Every instance of The Prince’s consent having been sought and given to legislation is a matter of public record.”
(For more on the Duchy of Cornwall, click here.)
Prince Charles has private commercial interests and can persuade the Government’s policies. His letters to the Ministers were kept secret by the Attorney General. Dominic Greeve tried to veto the Prince’s letters as it could damage the Prince’s image to the throne. Tony Blair, Prime Minister – Labour, was quick to engage with the Prince and became what some called him “pen-pall”. The Prince engaged with Tony Blair’s ministers 27 times. As the Government resisted pressure to disclose the Prince’s letters to the Ministers, the Guardian newspaper took the matter to the court including the Supreme Court and after 10 years of litigation the letters came to light. Suspicion was that the Prince was writing and influencing the Government for years and lobbying and putting forward his point of view. These were called the Black Spider letters. Click here.
Prince Charles and Prince Andrew were both accused by the media as being responsible for closing big arms deals in middle eastern countries- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yaman etc – countries with dictators and with appalling human rights records and civil liberties.
Parliamentary Debate, 17 Mar. 2011, Westminster Hall:
I want to talk about the conduct of our trade representative, Prince Andrew. There are difficulties. I was told on Monday that it might be unfair to say anything that might be derogatory of a member of the royal family, on the grounds that they cannot answer back. Indeed, the person involved has been defended very adequately by both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State, and he has the 24-hour support of the generously taxpayer-funded royal spin machine working on his behalf. If he is not defending himself, he is being more than adequately defended by others. I believe that he can without any problem defend himself if he so wishes, if he thinks he is being criticised unfairly. The question of parliamentary convention has been discussed; whether there is a convention that nothing disrespectful or derogatory is said about members of the royal family. There is nothing, as far as I can see, in “Erskine May” on the matter. If there is some spectral convention that we are not allowed to speak on the matter, I believe it should have a stake driven through its heart, and should be buried today. These issues have been debated at great length in the media, in blogs and everywhere else. Why on earth should the only people to have their mouths bandaged into silence on the issue be elected Members? Why on earth should we not be free to talk about this matter, which is of considerable interest and importance? I will be very selective in what I say today. I will certainly not quote the salacious tittle-tattle that has been in the press and I will not quote from sources that appear to be ill-founded rumours. What I want to speak about are the comments made by serious people making serious criticism. (Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab), 17 Mar. 2011, Westminster Hall, Column 155WH)
Just to help the House, “Erskine May” states on page 384: “Unless the discussion is based upon a substantive motion, drawn in proper terms, reflections must not be cast in debate upon the conduct of the Sovereign, the heir to the throne, or other members of the Royal Family.” (Mr Peter Bone (in the Chair), 17 Mar. 2011, Westminster Hall, Column 156WH)
In those circumstances, there really is no point in continuing. We are clearly in a position where there is censorship on hon. Members discussing an issue of great importance, where our country’s interests and business may be damaged. The view of the House, however, seems to be that MPs have a rule of omertà and we cannot discuss it. (Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab), 17 Mar. 2011, Westminster Hall, Column 156WH)
Parliamentary speech on the sales of arms to Saudi Arabia and Judgment in favour of the United Kingdom providing arms trade to them:
The Secretary of State Was Asked: Human Rights (11 Jul 2017)
Fabian Hamilton Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Shadow Minister (Defence) As the Government celebrated their victory in the High Court over arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the number of people affected by the cholera epidemic in Yemen passed 300,000. Humanitarian workers now face the agonising choice of whether to use their dwindling food supplies to feed those children suffering from malnutrition or those infected with cholera. In that context, will the Minister tell the House why the Saudi-led coalition continues to use British bombs to attack farms, food factories and water plants?
Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)
Yesterday’s court judgment was unequivocal in stating that the United Kingdom had fully fulfilled its obligations on controlling the arms trade. The work being done with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on its response to international humanitarian law was fundamental to that judgment. The situation in Yemen remains a humanitarian disaster. The United Kingdom is actively involved in seeking to do all it can. The cholera outbreak is currently claiming some 6,500 new cases every day. I am pleased that the Department for International Development is fully engaged and is trying to do all it can to mitigate these actions.
(The Guardian, 10 July 2017)
While arms trading has been beneficial to the British economy, other countries in Europe suffered consequences: When Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld (of Netherlands) was found in 1976 that he was selling arms from Lockheed Starfighters to the Dutch Air Force and demanded commission for helping to promote sales, the Queen (his Wife) stripped him of all sorts of rights and privileges, and he was never allowed to wear the uniform of the Dutch military ever again. In an interview with BBC in 1976, it was stated: “the Prince had an insatiable appetite for money and was paid more than $1 million by Lockheed. Moreover, he said, the Prince had sent a hand-written letter to Lockheed stating that, if he did not receive $4 million, the US aircraft company would never do business with the Netherlands again.” For the full story, click here.
In theory, the Queen governs,
“but only according to the rules or conventions laid down by an elected Parliament and its Government. It is only through Elizabeth II’s signature or assent that laws come into existence – but by way of a constitutional quid pro quo she only signs what her ministers ask her to.” (The Independent guide to the UK constitution: The monarchy, The Independent, 12 June 2015)
As it has been evidenced above, Prince Charles wrote and influenced the Ministers, and imposed his views on how to govern the country.The Ministers’ proposals would then be signed by the Queen. Government executes the ideas of the Royal Family as introduced and approved with the signature of the Monarch, the Queen.
Cannot exist when there is a feudal obsession with the rich, a Monarchy supported with funds provided by the public, people are subjects rather than citizens, the number of homeless and poor people are increasing with the years.
“Rich man in his castle and the poor man at his gate” goes the saying. This principle can also now be seen with the Justice System in England and Wales when courts are closing, on-line filings are encouraged and become the law, mediation is imposed on those with legal issues and if not agreed the court will punish in most cases the women, appeals in the Court of Appeal are done on paper without right to hearing if dismissed, very few cases reach the Supreme Court (yet the Judges are the highest paid), and Litigants in Person increase in numbers but are denied access to justice and fair hearings. Is this a Democratic System?
Judges are more interested in getting rich (secure contracts for their private family businesses, advancement through the judicial positions which brings salary increases and making money out of the system) and gaining favours (via events and charity work extended to the family) as some of them pretend to have aristocratic names and make their entry in the aristocratic class on false pretences. Lord Dyson is a good example of a Judiciary having been forced into early retirement due to his abuse of power and judicial position. Lord Justice McFarlane and Lord Justice Ryder also have wives who pretend to be from the aristocratic class as they misrepresent themselves when misusing the title – Lady, following the judicial title given to their husbands that of Lord Justice.
House of Lords is dysfunctional to our electoral system. They are not elected by the people, but via connections and inner circle recommendations. Therefore, we cannot speak of a Parliamentary democracy since England is a Monarchy and has its own representatives in the House of Lords also sitting in the Parliament.
The now forced into early retirement Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury (former President of the Supreme Court until October 2017) has his sister-in-law, Baroness Neuberger, in the House of Lords who was appointed before him as a life peer in the House of Lord and given the title Baroness, in 2004. He was given the title Baron upon his appointed as a life peer in 2007, in the House of Lords. However, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury was involved in defeating applications in other courts in order to protect Lord Wilson and his wrong doing when they both were Lord Justices of Appeal in the Court of Appeal before 2012.
3. Magna Carta
The Magna Carta dates back to 1297 and only three of the original clauses in Magna Carta are still in force—in statute, it is still the law.
In the fourteenth century Parliament saw it as guaranteeing trial by jury. Sir Edward Coke interpreted it as a declaration of individual liberty in his conflict with the early Stuart kings and it has resonant echoes in the American Bill of Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
But the real legacy of Magna Carta as a whole is that it limited the king’s authority by establishing the crucial principle that the law was a power in its own right to which the king was subject. (British Library)
‘Magna Carta’ means ‘The Great Charter‘. In 1215 it was known as the Charter of Liberties….
…Magna Carta includes very few statements of legal principle. In fact, the majority of the 63 clauses in the charter deal with the detail of feudal rights and customs, and the administration of justice.
It was King John’s excessive and arbitrary exploitation of his feudal rights, and his abuse of the justice system, which more than anything else had fuelled the barons’ rebellion in the first place. So it isn’t really surprising that the regulation of feudal rights and the justice system dominate the content of Magna Carta.
…Magna Carta was the first grant by an English king to set detailed limits on royal authority. Through its statement of liberties, it sought to prevent the king from exploiting his power in arbitrary ways and it made clear that the king was subject to the law, not above it. (British Library)
Very little of it remains. A lot of it has been repealed and only articles I, IX and XXIX are left.
Article I is on the confirmation of liberties, and basically refers to the Church of England.
Article IX refers to the liberties of London. (Why an article about London and the Cinque ports has not been repealed when so many of the others have gone? According to Mr. David Davis MP on 17 Mar 2011: “One of the reasons that the Cinque ports and London are still on the statute book is because the redress of grievances was always done before the Crown—the state now—and it got its interest, its reward, its return and its borrowing from the City of London.”)
Article XXIX is on imprisonment contrary to law and the administration of justice:
“NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.”
People are equal before the law, and that one’s wealth should not affect how one is seen by the legal system. This relates to ‘access to justice’
Balance between two different cases, and of how the people involved in them were treated. One case involved a particularly wealthy person and the other a relatively poor person. Lady Justice Eleanor King made it clear that the courts discriminate between the wealth of parties and as the case did not involve millions of pounds it was not worth looking into the facts when the case came before her on appeal.
Example of corrupt behaviour, Parliamentary Debate on 17 March 2011:
“We come back to Magna Carta and somebody with a lot of money. We are talking about various companies with lots of money gagging some poor individual. Where is the equality of arms in that? Where is the idea that we will not sell justice? The courts may not be selling justice, but the legal process as a whole is not really very balanced if this is the sort of thing that goes on.” (John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley) (LD), 17 Mar. 2011 Westminster Hall, Column 151WH)
4. UK Constitution
No written constitution and no defined powers to allow to measure the power.
Power is debatable and can change with the laws as passed by the Parliament. It is made difficult to be understood by the commoners. The Parliament describes the UK constitution as having or not having a constitution:
People often refer to the UK having an ‘unwritten constitution’ but that’s not strictly true. It may not exist in a single text, like in the USA or Germany, but large parts of it are written down, much of it in the laws passed in Parliament – known as statute law.
Therefore, the UK constitution is often described as ‘partly written and wholly uncodified’. (Uncodified means that the UK does not have a single, written constitution.) (Parliament)
5. The Rule of Law
How can the rule of law be upheld when there are so many problems with the Judiciaries and the Secret Courts?
Judicial Incompetence, Conflict of Interest, Unethical Judicial Appointments, Unfair Trials, Lack of Court Support, Financial Extortion, Impractical Orders, Lack of Access to Justice…are all major problems for United Kingdom.
Such issues must urgently be addressed by the Government and rectified to uphold and promote the people’s highly marketed and promoted democratic rights by the State. The fundamental principle of the UK constitution, for a free and fair society, is found in the Magna Carta dating back to 1215. Yet Judges ignore such rights in order to promote the Government’s agenda and their own financial interest of making money out of the system.
Government’s agenda is Domestic Abuse and the Judges protect those who commit domestic abuse if they are represented by counsel who they trust and depend on for future benefits. It is encouraged, promoted and favoured by the Judges and Abusers who together contribute to the Government’s plans and policies.
Speech by Dominic Grieve QC MP to BPP Law School, 25 October 2012:
Some have argued that the sovereignty of parliament is being eroded and that the power of the judges is increasing to the point of their becoming the governors. (Parliament and Judiciary)