I have not told many people this, but my ancestor Guy de Charon, a minor Norman baron who didn’t toe the party line all those years ago, was King John’s adviser and sent back the first draft of Magna Carta Libertatum to the Lords. As every Englishman, woman, boy etc etc knows (For Magna Carta only applied in England as the English had not at that time annexed Scotland, Wales or Ireland) the Norman Lords were not entirely happy with the Charonite amendments, sent it back to the King, and a meeting was arranged with King John at Runnymede on June 15, 1215.
This week Tony Benn told a slavering press that he did not think he would see the day when Magna Carta was torn up, let alone by a Labour government.
The 42 day vote was won by the government with the assistance of the DUP to cries of “thirty pieces of silver”. 36 Labour MPs rebelled.
The Press and media huddled together in their respective groups to plan their next moves… when slowly silence descended. At first the sound was muted… but gradually the sound of galloping became clear, building to a crescendo as a ‘noble’ man galloped through the doors of a dystopic parliament, dismounted, and announced that…
“The name of my constituency is Haltemprice and Howden – [which] is derived from a medieval proverb meaning noble endeavour. Until yesterday I took a view that what we did in the House of Commons – representing our constituents was a noble endeavour because for centuries … we defended the freedom of people. Well, we did, up until yesterday. This Sunday is the anniversary of Magna Carta, a document that guarantees the fundamental element of British freedom, habeas corpus. The right not to be imprisoned by the state without charge or reason. But yesterday this house allowed the state to lock up potentially innocent citizens for up to six weeks without charge. The Counter-Terrorism Bill will, in all probability, be rejected by the House of Lords very firmly. After all, what should they be there for, if not to protect Magna Carta?…”
David Davis, formerly Shadow Home Secretary, announced his resignation and declared that he would stand for Parliament again in a by-election to fight against the “the slow strangulation of fundamental British freedoms by this government” and on a single issue – “that the monstrosity of a law that we passed yesterday will not stand.”
The Press hyperventilated and within hours attention had turned away from Gordon Brown to ‘the deep divisions in the Tory party’ and the press and media went on to prepare hyperbole on an industrial scale, majestic in faux Shakespearian grandeur, to write or talk of the “Rift between the Davids”. WebCameron was reported to be ‘furious’ but countered by replacing Davis immediately with Dominic Grieve, who had been idling away time before power by being shadow Attorney General, and declaring that there was no way back now for Davis.
In a rather bizarre twist, Kelvin “Gotcha” Mackenzie, former editor of The Sun, pops up on the This Week programme on Thursday night to announce to a bemused Andrew Neill, Portillo and Diane Abbott that if Rupert Murdoch is good for the money – he, Kelvin “Freddie Starr ate my hamster” Mackenzie, would stand against Davis in the by-election if no-one else would. The Lib-Dems and UKIP planned not to stand and Labour was about to treat the whole things as a stunt and a farce.
Mackenzie told us that he is not bothered about the increasing number of CCTV cameras, that he doesn’t have any fears about ID cards, about DNA, because he hasn’t done anything wrong and has nothing to fear – and seems to be quite relaxed about 42 days detention without charge. Not a great deal of meat on the Mackenzie manifesto yet, not illuminating, as yet, on the legalo-philosophic rationale for supporting the erosion of civil liberties – but, no doubt, the resources of Sky and Murdoch and Mackenzie’s undoubted intelligence and sharp wit will lead to more in due course.
Brown is not off the hook. The Press will soon turn their focus back and the Lords have yet to consider their view of the 42 day proposal. Brown stated at PMQs that the British public supported their 42 day proposal. It may well be that parliamentarians on the Labour and Tory side try to dismiss Davis’s action as a stunt – but I have a feeling that it will ignite debate, the public may well change their tune on 42 days, and that both Brown and Cameron will have to have their wits about them.
For the moment, until I hear Davis express his mini manifesto – I’m with him. Davis took a principled stand – and I hope that he drives the message home in what will certainly be a high profile by-election.
I’d just like to add that David Cameron reminds me of that computer generated creation Max Headroom. I think I’m entitled to express a thought, a view, even in these unenlightened times. I’m off for a glass.