November 2, 2014


Magna Carta 800 years on: recognition at last for 'England's greatest export' (Jamie Doward, 1 November 2014, The Guardian)

Eight hundred years ago next year, on 15 June 1215, on the banks of the Thames in Runnymede, an embattled King John met the English barons, who had backed his failed war against the French and were seeking to limit his powers. The weakened monarch had little choice but to witness the sealing of what some say is the world's most important document, one that, symbolically at least, established a new relationship between the king and his subjects.

Thus the original Magna Carta, 3,500 words in Latin on a calfskin parchment, came into being, its enduring relevance confirmed in the many legal cases in which it is cited today. But while lawyers worship Magna Carta for laying the foundations for modern democracy, the defence of personal liberty and the protection of freedoms around the world, Britain largely ignores it. [...]

Last Thursday a British Asian family, father, mother, grandmother and three daughters, walked across the meadow at Runnymede and stood in front of the American Bar Association's memorial. "What do you mean, 'Is that all there is?'," the mother hissed in response to a mumbled observation from one of her daughters.

For several minutes the family examined the signs and took selfies. Then they made their way back to the nearby car park and its National Trust tearoom. The US-built memorial stood unobserved in the autumn sunshine.

We know how to treat our Founding text.

Posted by at November 2, 2014 6:50 AM

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