Nick Clegg was shocked….SHOCKED…over Tory hints that, if they won the 2015 election outright they might seek to limit the power of the European Convention on Human Rights in Britain. He went into full outrageous outrage mode.

 

“The Conservatives, extraordinarily enough, want to line up with Vladimir Putin and other sort of tyrants around the world by tearing up our long tradition of human rights,” Clegg told Britain’s LBC radio station on Thursday.

 

The fact is, of course, that these Tory briefings are all smoke and mirrors to con the electorate into believing that Cameron II would be sweeping into Brussels dressed in a new mandate and clobbering all and sundry with his handbag if the electorate provided him with an overall majority.  Anyone with even half a brain knows that in reality he would merely weasel his way into a carefully choreographed fudge that would be all show and no substance.

 

But that’s enough about the man described so accurately by George Walden as “a onetime PRman for ruthlessly profitable trash TV”it’s the idiocy spouted by Clegg that sets the teeth on edge. What he is really saying is that Britain’s “long tradition of human rights” can only be buttressed by an assortment of lawyers/legal academics, several from jurisdictions still partly frosted with the icy crystals of Soviet “justice” (Azerbaijan, anyone?) and almost all of the rest emanating from countries whose legal systems reflect the Roman tradition of codified laws rather than the English Common Law based on precedent.

 

The admirable Janet Daley eviscerated the clegglet with just one thrust of her rapier.

 

Really? You mean Britain had no historical commitment to the rights of the individual before it became a signatory to this discredited document? And there was me thinking that our long-standing distinguished history as defenders of human rights was one of the reasons we had been involved in the original drafting of that Charter.

 

 

As Daniel Hannan reminded us at a time when the monarchies of Europe were successfully suffocating their own nascent representative institutions, the attempts by Charles I and his cohorts to do the same to the English Parliament by invoking the divine right of kings was finally broken in Yorkshire in the summer of 1644. The Battle of Marston Moor did not end the English Civil War between King and Parliament but it fatally weakened the Royalist forces.

 

That struggle in the 1640s was essentially a dispute about the nature of government and from whence came the authority that legitimised the instruments of government. While elsewhere in Europe there were clashes of arms over dynastic claims or religious dogma in England men were killing each other over the issue of the rule of law. What is not often appreciated is that the king’s opponents did not see themselves as revolutionaries setting up a new order but rather as traditionalists aiming to restore an ancient birthright.

 

Some of the men who won the day at Marston Moor would have pointed at Henry VIII’s break with Rome, others at Magna CartaYet others would have gone back still further, to the folkright of Anglo-Saxon common law that had constrained kings before 1066.

 

 

These were men like John Hampden who twice in his life was brought to court for refusing to pay taxes imposed by King Charles I because he claimed they had not been sanctioned by parliament and therefore violated Magna Carta. Hampden later became one of the leaders of the opposition to the king in the early years of the Long Parliament and, at the outbreak of civil war played an important role in the organisation of the parliamentary army. Like many fellow MPs he was willing to fight with gun and sword as well as with pen and in 1643 was mortally wounded during a skirmish against royalist forces, a year before Marston Moor, sealing his cause with his own blood.

 

As Hannan points out, although there were bumps along the way, after 1644 the Sovereignty of Parliament as the source of authority remained unchallenged for well over three hundred years until 1973 when the European Communities Act allowed EU law to override the legislation of parliament

For centuries the idea that our freedom was deeply embedded in our past was part of the warp and weft of the upbringing of each English generation. Today, however, that key aspect of our history is largely ignored which is why a dyed in the wool Europhile like Clegg can utter such baseless claptrap without fear of being defenestrated by crowd of angry patriots. So Hannan’s book “How We Invented Freedom & Why It Matters” is a must read for all UKIP members and supporters. It shows how our distrust of being ruled by unelected EU officials who can impose their will upon us by mere diktat echoes the unease felt by the John Hampdens of 17th century England when faced with Charles I’s assertion that he was higher than the law of the land.

 

No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled . nor will we proceed with force against him . except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.

 

No priest, no king, no lord, no police officer, no faceless Brussels bureaucrat should feel empowered to ignore this ancient compact. Those glorious spine tingling words must be our inspiration as UKIP fights to break our EU chains and restore our traditional freedoms.

 

 

Photo by The British Library

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