It saddens me that in the bastardised ruins of what was once an educational system even children taught the importance of what happened at Runnymede are often told that the barons forced King John to grant rights, such as free speech, freedom from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment and the right to a fair trial. No, not quite so. The King was forced to sign a declation that he would not interefere with, nor abridge, those rights which were were the inherent rights of English freemen (and women too, Harriet) according to rank.
Our fellow Europeans may well enjoy similar rights, but they are rights which have their origins in constitutions and laws. The right of a German or Frenchman to free speech is a grant by law – essentially an entitlement rather than a right. Here, it requires a law to set limits upon that right, which in this Kingdom is (I’m sorry Professor Dawkins) the God-given right of an Englishman or woman from birth.
What I discovered during many days (and not a few nights) negotiating and dealing around the table in Brussels was that my colleagues were, with a few wonderful exceptions such as Count Otto von Lamsdorff, not just corporatist by nature, but inclined to the unspoken assumption that man was made for the state rather than that the state was made for man. At its worst, that became an assumption that whilst the citizen must obey the law and his rights were limited by the scope of the law, the state could do whatever was not specifically forbiden to it.
The basic assumptions underlying the two systems of law, English Common law and European law, are such that they cannot exist side by side.
Very true, all of it.
Sorry for the lack of blogging recently—the continuing pressures of work, alongside a traditional bout of blogging fatigue, have rendered your humble Devil voiceless for a little while.
I shall be back...