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‘Magna Spinne’

King John doing what he probably did best……………



Or Dom Lear’s commendable submission for our  Magna Carta Competition…

Bonjour tout-le-monde, this is Tony, I’m the King’s old Privy Minister, now his Minister of Spinne. – Great work on Magna Carta! – I would just like to add just a teeny bit of clarification.

I know now’s not the time for sound-bites, but…. I do feel the hand of history on my shoulder. We few, we happy few, we fought them on the beaches, and on the landing grounds – and..we lost. Sadly now we’ve had to surrender. I know there’s been some bad blood – well quite a lot of blood actually … but if I may, I’d just need to clear up one incy-wincy point.

We’ve spent 149 years now since 1066 remorselessly beating down the natives and bedding in our elite. That means even though we’re stuck on the same island, we the elite, the functionaries and judges, don’t have to share the same physical space as the awful, second-class natives. We can look forward to a separate area for all Normans (and honorary Normans like me of course too!) in every area of life, from the school to the grave – and we’ve loaded taxes on the masses so that we may rule over them in the manors to which we have become accustomed. In our haste though to finish the sealing, we overlooked one key detail.

The problem is where we have,

“..No free man shall be captured or imprisoned or disseised of his freehold or of his liberties, or of his free customs, or be outlawed or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we proceed against him by force or proceed against him by arms, but by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”

– What we’ve overlooked is a technical point. Rather awkwardly, it appears on closer inspection that ‘the law of the land’ on paper at least, is the ‘consuetudinary law’ based on the customs and consent of King John’s subjects. Since we don’t have any kind of ‘parleyament’ making laws, this would actually mean in practice that neither the king nor the barons could make a law without the consent of the God-awful native plebs..! Obviously none of us want this state of affairs? – May I suggest then that we try to sneak in an addendum, when all the fuss has died down, changing this to ‘by due order of the King & the Barons’? Or, ‘process of the law’ or something, so that we, the elite heirs of the Normans, can retain our control over everything/everyone. A kind of ‘Parva Carta’, just for us! We must keep our ‘protection’ system going, forever making the plebs offers they can’t refuse, in languages and laws they can’t understand. Dieu Et Mon Droit, as the King puts it.

Hopefully that way, even in a thousand years time, our elite will still be lording it over the country.

Let it not be said about Magna Carta that she died in vain…!




© Dom Lear 2015

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