In this second part, I hope to make a contribution to ideas on how a new Renaissance, post-Brexit, can take shape. As I touched upon in Part One, Britain was the home of freedom and – together arguably with French – more has been written about freedom in English than in any other language. The French went down a route of revolutionary Republicanism followed by reactionary Monarchism, one where the romantic idea of the middle-class intellectual anarchist plotting against “privilege” in the name of an underclass, then the more Germanic romantic idea of the expanding national consciousness appeared; with it, and later the Russian Communists, ideas of anarchism, and of course more social revolution, blossomed.
With Socialism came endless intellectualising about social change and countless self-appointed revolutionaries. The list is now virtually endless, and we add to it Geldof and any number of others who want to blame the English (and their Empire) for virtually everything (I have a good Irish friend who has publicly apologised on behalf of all Irish for Geldof’s antics!). Luckily ordinary people, from every European country, generally always know when they are being conned. The difference is in their knowing that they can change something themselves, in a fair and democratic system. My father once said to me, recounting his experience as a Desert Rat (sadly his brother was killed in action during the war) “You will never ever meet as trustworthy and loyal a friend, as the English Tommy”. I believe that to be absolutely true. What makes the Common Man virtuous? It is difficult to say. Perhaps as Sir Thomas More is quoted as saying in the play A Man for All Seasons, “If we lived in a state where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us saintly”.
Some may be hoping that the team of newly re-constructed Tories will be virtuous, have more sense and a better connection to the people then did Mr Cameron. Boris, I feel, with his proud connections via his grandfather Ali Kemal to “freedom movements” that only succeeded at huge cost in life, is going to be central to whatever the Tories do. I like David Davis a lot. But is the “revolutionary myth” of progress towards the “ideal civic society” that the media brandish in our faces every day, going to blind them, as we have all been blinded, for the last 100+ years?
One thing I feel is sure; we have seen the failures of this revolutionary approach, and we do not need further “revolution”. Just look at last week’s scenes in Hyde Park and compare them with 50 years ago and 100 years ago. My grandfather was a Danish seaman who settled in Parsons Green as a baker and cake decorator. I’m sure he wandered among the large crowds in Hyde Park in the ’10s and ’20s and ’30s, and saw that large crowds did not have to mean “violence” (though there was on the continent of Europe, of course).
We have seen large crowds at pop concerts (the sexual revolution of the 60s by and large was not violent, if anything, the opposite) so why do some large crowds become violent? Is it not because they are stirred to political revolution in the interests of an elite? Surely this has wrought the destruction of the civic society, not created it. In the 30s, early propagandists for crowd control (such as Edward Bernays) sought to control what, after the Depression, were thought to be dangerous signs of Revolution. This art has been elevated with the help of the Media and skilful coaching to what we now see in the so-called “Arab Spring”, and in Barack Obama, someone whose “popularity” bypasses critical judgement on his actions and broken promises.
People are motivated not only by the need for a roof and food; they are motivated by ideas and how to get their own ideas heard. You don’t need to be an unemployed lawyer to realise that the Palaces of Gold are now occupied not by the venerable land-owning gentry or Lords, but by a new oligarchy. It is surely wrong that the House of Lords now lacks even the teeth that it used to have in being the ONE independent voice still assuring balance in our rather corrupted system, that it merely rubber-stamps the directives of globalist planning (it is not often that I agree with the Guardian!). Since 1911, and more so since the 1999 reforms, it seems to be populated more by career appointees who cannot change a single thing for the people, and this is something which it must be able to do.
What we need is a Renaissance of British Constitutional Common Law, embodied in the Act of Settlement of 1701 and the Bill of Rights of 1689. Defended by the Monarch, Queen Elizabeth, who swore to govern according to the “laws and customs” of her peoples, and to adhere to Common Law in England and to such other laws as made up the body of our constitutional law, and that ensures that the people hold the power. We need an independent and proportionally-elected Second Chamber (which could I believe, as in the MEP elections, have a sizeable UKIP majority).
Our Common Law should always overrides laws that seek to negate it. It should take precedence over any laws imposed upon us by the EU, and the Queen is oath-bound to defend Common Law (and the “laws and customs” of Scotland and Northern Ireland also) against those of the EU – or anywhere else – that seek to negate our Common Law.
In addition, in swearing to uphold our “laws and customs”, she swore in effect to uphold such constitutional laws as are embodied within the Bill of Rights, an Act of Parliament of 16thDecember 1689. The Bill of Rights declares that “No foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate hath, or ought to have, any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence, or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm”. This is what defines us, and no amount of “gradual revolution” can change it. On the contrary, its principles can be reborn in the modern world.
This declaration of sovereignty, of power invested in the people, is the foundation of the democratic Renaissance and it is what inspired the rest of Europe, seeing the blossoming of industry and wealth and freedom in Britain, to follow suit. We must take care that it is not misdirected towards profiteering, nor subverted by geo-political ambitions, nor undermined by elitism, ideology, or snobbery. In a globalised world we must all agree to respect diversity elsewhere. What we must not do is follow the errors of romantics who mistake openness to revolutionary concepts and creeds for hospitality towards foreign ways that we have not chosen; where the Lower House has become too partisan, we need laws written and fully scrutinised by two chambers, the second, true “Lords of the People” – elected by the people by PR – having the power to commence and radically change things in their own name.
This surely, would herald the start of a Renaissance.