The Magna Carta…Still Impacting People’s Constitutions All Around the World

 

cheney-waterboarding-buy-book

Magna Carta (Latin for “the Great Charter“), also called Magna Carta Libertatum (Latin for “the Great Charter of the Liberties“), is a charter agreed by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215. First drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between the unpopular King and a group of rebel barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons. Neither side stood behind their commitments, and the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III . In other words the Magna Carta was all about protecting the King & his elite, ring any bells anyone? No?

hague2

After John’s death, the regency government of his young son, Henry III, reissued the document in 1216. At the end of the war in 1217, it formed part of the peace treaty agreed at Lambeth, where the document acquired the name Magna Carta. 

The charter became part of English political life and was typically renewed by each monarch in turn, although as time went by and the fledgling English Parliament passed new laws, it lost some of its practical significance. At the end of the 16th century there was an upsurge in interest in Magna Carta. Lawyers and historians at the time believed that there was an ancient English constitution, going back to the days of the Anglo-Saxons, that protected individual English freedoms. 

tutor

Although this historical account was badly flawed, the political myth of Magna Carta and its protection of ancient personal liberties persisted. Research by Victorian historians showed that the original 1215 charter concerned the medieval relationship between the monarch and the ruling elite. Nothing new there then, we’ve had the Queen’s Speech haven’t we? Stuffed full of goodies like further library cuts, police cuts, benefit cuts and public service cuts (l’or guv! We still have a public service?).

Isolated portrait shot of a beautiful caucasian woman. Holding her face in astonishment.

Magna Carta still forms an important symbol of liberty today, often cited by politicians and campaigners, and is held in great respect by the British and American legal communities, Lord Denning describing it as “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot” go figure….

wpid-1375975988009.jpg

In the 21st century, four exemplifications of the original 1215 charter remain in existence, held by the British Library and the cathedrals of Lincoln and Salisbury. There are also a handful of the subsequent charters in public and private ownership, including copies of the 1297 charter in both the United States and Australia. The original charters were written on vellum sheets using quill pens, in a particular style of abbreviated Latin. So there we have it boys & girls! The history of the Magna Carta! At some point in time I feel certain I’ll get around to the history of ‘extraordinary rendition’ (see below),

belly512

Which I shall in turn be following up with an analytical explanation of the practice of waterboarding, something which its victims and Britain’s esteemable government agents would know all about, apparently…..

waterboard-standalone-prod_affiliate-56

The Magna Carta, a very british tradition betokening the greatness of…..british tradition…unlike say, the introduction of closed material proceedings…………

RIP 13

Advertisements

Danger Will Robinson! Danger! Corruption in Space! (apologies, getting carried away there)….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shocking isn’t it? David Cameron is preparing to warn fellow world leaders at the two-day G7 summit that starts in Germany on Sunday, that the Fifa bribery scandal must be a trigger for international action against corruption.The prime minister will criticise what he will call a widespread “taboo” in pointing the finger at corrupt institutions, and will say the Fifa scandal has shown how focusing on an organisation can provide the impetus for cleaning-up operations. I’m so glad our prime minister has decided to speak up about the sharp practices of Fifa, now that the Americans have beaten us to it.

1432744298_848470_1432744814_album_grande

I hear that Nicky Morgan has even gone so far as to supply him with a ‘Smartboard’ to display his Powerpoint Presentation on, so that as he lectures Europe on ‘transparency’ ‘moral probity’ and ‘business ethics’ he can look every bit as convincing as he sounds (joke!). Seriously though, 

“In the last fortnight we have seen the stark truth about Fifa. The body governing football has faced appalling allegations that suggests it is absolutely riddled with corruption. And Blatter’s resignation this week presents an opportunity to clean up the game we love. It is also an opportunity to learn a broader lesson about tackling corruption,” he (the Prime Minister) will say.

dc10626f340f820bc5b8ac4d642f84a5

The stark truth about Fifa? Kind of like the rancid underskirts of the dark truth about HSBC that we were all exposed to so recently? Now, can anybody remember what that particular truth pertained to? Because I assure you the French authorities can, in March of this year they requested that HSBC’s Swiss private bank be sent to criminal trial over a suspected tax-dodging scheme for wealthy customers.The recommendation followed a lengthy investigation by local magistrates into alleged tax fraud involving 3,000 French taxpayers.

hsbc_getty4

HSBC’s Swiss arm also helped 8,844 wealthy Britons avoid millions of pounds in tax.These allegations of ‘historic’ tax avoidance at the bank related to files leaked by a less than sane whistleblower (he had to be less than sane to have torpedoed his career in this way) dating from 2005 to 2007. France prepped itself to prosecute these fraudsters and our Prime Ministers response was? “The period in question – 2005 to 2007 was not under our watch,the party opposite (Labour) was in Government”.

This ‘truth’ was later proven to have been sort of, kind of a lie. What is more Conservative MPs blocked a parliamentary committee’s attempt to scrutinise the former HSBC boss & (then) trade minister (now, Peer) Lord Stephen Green over the tax scandal at Britain’s largest bank. And what was America’s response to all this patent dishonesty? The US Department of Justice is considering criminal charges against the bank and its clients.

usdojseal

Well, maybe that case was just a glitch on the corruption front so lets examine another more exemplary example of Prime Minister Cameron’s moral probity. Lets look at, ooh, I don’t know…..tax avoidance, tax havens…..and Tory Party Donors!

Isolated portrait shot of a beautiful caucasian woman. Holding her face in astonishment.

Now…let’s see, on the top ten list (courtesy of political scrapbook) we have…

#1 Michael Farmer (£818,000) — See our story from yesterday. And bring sunscreen.

#2 Michael Davis (£509,000) — “Mick the miner” trousered £75m when his Xstrata mining company was sold this year. While the company’s registered office is in London, it is headquartered in the Swiss tax haven of Zug. The business which bought out Xstrata, Glencore, is not only based in Zug but also faces allegations of using suspect insurance practices to avoid tax.

#4 David Rowland (£438,000) — A former Conservative Party treasurer, David moved from the tax haven of Guernsey to the UK specifically so he could donate to the Tories.

#6 James Lupton (£255,000) — The current Tory co-treasurer works for Greenhill, through which he is a partner in Greenhill & Co. International LLP alongside the company’s vehicle based in the Cayman Islands. Lupton also holds a stake in Vestra Wealth, which offers its clients advice on “tax-planning vehicles”.

#7 Andrew Law (£247,000) — The chairman and CEO of one of the world’s largest hedge funds, Caxton Associates. One of its main investment vehicles is Caxton International, headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda.

#8 Stanley Fink (£228,000) — The “godfather of the UK hedge fund industry”, whose Man Group has two principal subsidiaries in Switzerland. The majority of its subsidiaries operate from tax havens.

#9 JCB Research (£187,500) — JCB is owned by digger magnate Anthony Bamford (who had a peerage blocked in 2010 after the taxman raised apparent concerns). This most British of manufacturers is actually controlled by a holding company based in the HagueTransmissions & Engineering Services Netherlands Bv.

#10 Flowidea Ltd (£144,950) — Controlled by Henry Angest, a critic of the UK’s“punitive tax system”, which may have something to do with the fact that its parent companies seem to be based in Jersey and the Bahamas.

All these guys have donated generously to the Tory Party & all of them are registered in tax havens & are therefore avoiding paying their very United Kingdom taxes. If that doesn’t wreak of corruption it should send up a whiff of dishonesty at least.

The Prime Minister’s response? Well, there hasn’t been one, though I suppose that there will eventually be a peerage or two.

PIC SHOWS: Sabina Interpol is searching for two Austrian teenaged girls who they believe have been tricked into going to Syria to fight on the side of Islamic rebels. The teenagers vanished last week. The first their parents knew was when they started getting messages posted on social media networks saying that they had gone to fight the

Meanwhile on his next visit to the world stage (G7 Summit), our esteemed Prime Minister will also be discussing England’s role in the the fight with ISIS in Iraq & Syria. Ever the ‘reluctant interventionist’ David Cameron will (apparently) assure President Obama that England intends to remain fully engaged on the global terror front. ISIS will I’m sure be awaiting his first statesman-like foray onto Iraqi soil (even as I await his eventual admission that England has wound up being pulled into the Syrian conflict) with bated breath…..I can’t wait.

The First Time I Got Hustled

The first time I got hustled I was three years old and recovering from Meningitis. A couple of weeks before that I was running a temperature and my mother took me down the road to our GP (yes,I did say down the road, a five minute walk). The doctor examined me graced my mother with a look of stark alarm and said,

“Thank goodness Mrs Edusei-Mensah that you brought her to me! Any later and goodness knows what would have happened! I think she has Meningitis!”.

Hence my lengthy stay in the NHS funded hospital, and hence the first time I got hustled. I have always been keen on my food and the patient in the room next to mine had a jam sandwich I liked, and which I purchased with my mechanised (and newly purchased) spinning top. I had a room all to myself (just like on a private ward), and so it was some time before the nurse and my mother discovered what had happened to my mechanised spinning top. Of course my mother was less than pleased and having eaten the jam sandwich I got my toy back.

The second time I got hustled was when I attempted to register with a doctor’s surgery in London. I could not believed the ‘Victorian’ arrangement I walked into. A range of stalls set up within a waiting room, manned by half a dozen different receptionists for half a dozen different doctors. Gone was the tranquillity infused waiting room of the mature, sensible and dependable doctor. In its place was this frenetic, pauper ethos infused, ‘be grateful if I can see you for ten minutes’ mentality. I must have been to that doctor’s surgery all of two times in the three years they had my paperwork, going there was so off-putting. Especially since I knew I’d paid my National Insurance contributions for some sort of medical service and was pretty certain that this wasn’t it.

David Cameron promised at the Conservative party conference to ‘ring-fence’ the NHS budget. My response to that is thank god, because we appear to have slipped from the service that saved my life as a child, to one where, where you are when the ambulance picks you up, determines whether you’re dead before you reach the only A&Es this government hasn’t closed down. I can remember the pin-point accuracy of the doctor who saved my life, just as I can remember the errors that led to my friend’s mother being misdiagnosed repeatedly, until her Cancer was too far gone for her life to be saved.

Mr Cameron maintains that you can only have a strong NHS if you have a strong economy, well sir, a strong economy requires healthy, strong-limbed people. And also, sir, the NHS’s employees need encouragement and inspiration to help provide those services which create healthy, strong-limbed people. In view of this, it might be a very good idea to provide those workers (I don’t wish to sound too socialist), with a credible pay rise, sir.