Posted by: nigelashtonuk | July 16, 2014

16 July, 2014 18:57

Last week, Parliament debated the merits of the Magna Carta, something we have all heard of but probably do not remember much about since leaving school. Next year is the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the original on 15 June 1215 by King John and his Barons. It sought to protect the rights of individuals and limit the power of the King or ruler. Although greatly changed and superseded, it is seen as the key moment for the rule of law in this country and many others.

It seems timely, after the celebrations and memorials this year to all the sacrifices made during the First World War and subsequent conflicts, that this should be followed by a detailed look at our governance arrangements. Democracy is often quoted as being the worst form of government except for all the other options. Millions have died “to defend our way of life” and to keep our right to govern ourselves. In any discussion, most of us jealously defend democracy and everyone’s right to vote but then in the elections many of us do not bother but I suppose exercise our right not to vote. We demand our right to choose who will be our government but then,having elected them, we hold them in very low esteem. Perhaps we and they, need to better understand what we ask of them.

It has been wonderful to see so many communities honoring those who fought for us ,it is also encouraging to see so many schools studying what it really meant. I hope that next year they will look at what we have achieved, not the Party Political bickering, or arguments about central versus local, or national versus international but what we really ask any level of government to do. We are one of the best countries in the world to live in with so much to enjoy but we still have constant dissatisfaction, a tendency to blame others for anything that goes wrong and a frustration that we always seem powerless to change anything because of rules and regulations. In my experience,often used as an excuse for doing nothing.

Perhaps a real benefit of these two years, will be recognizing that we are not honoring the past for protecting our way of life but for protecting our right to choose how to change it.

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I hope you are all enjoying the sunny weather so far and been able to attend some the events going on ( see pages 15 to 19) including a number of village fêtes which I always enjoy, as it brings out the community spirit.

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