Spiked have been running an excellent series of articles and held a fantastic talk in the run up to the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. The video of the talk is well worth your time to watch, and I’d say they’ve probably done a better job of celebrating the anniversary than the Magna Carta 800th group who have all sorts of sponsorship but who even at this late hour are still saying:
“An official ceremony to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta will take place on Runnymede Meadows on 15 June 2015. Surrey County Council and the National Trust are the main organisers for this event. Further details will be provided on this page once they are confirmed.”
But that’s hardly their fault, after all they’ve not had much warnign about it have they. Fortunately the National Trust have a few more details. I hope to go along to this great celebration of democracy and freedom where the ticketed events for VIP’s lasts for 4 hours (9 to 1) and the free events open to all lasts just 2.5 hours (2 to 4:30). There was a free ticketed event down there today, which many locals apparently only found out about when they got turned away from walking their dogs in their local park, it was however reportedly “shit”.
No matter preparations for the great day tomorrow are well underway, with the Magna Carta memorial and surrounding grounds fenced off
and a police presence already on site at the memorial
Though I must say the two officers pictured were most pleasant, and after I nearly fell down the steps we had a rather pleasant chat about the aptness of if I’d split blood on the site (the tree of liberty needing to be refreshed from time to time and all that) and quite how all of the preparations for the event sat with the usual perception of the Magna Carta. What with Clauses 41 and 42 promising the right of safe and free passage.
There wasn’t much sign of that right in the road blocks being set up ahead of tomorrows “festivities”
Last time I saw road blocks like that was outside the houses of Parliament normally a few cones and a bit of tape does the job. I am of course sure that all this theatre is backed up by more in depth security given that it seems likely we’ll have some terribly important people in a clearing on a wooded hill side – not the sort of location traditionally chosen by unpopular rulers to make appearances. It does though I fear show how far we’ve come from the ideals that Magna Carta is held to embody, freedom from the injustices of the state, equality before the law, the right of free passage and the like that the celebrations are being restricted to representatives of the state and select and carefully vetted “representatives” of the populace, held behind high fences, closed roads and policed with the power of arbitrary detention.
I guess they don’t want any modern day chartists getting any ideas and thinking that the Magna Carta might actually stand for something and have relevance to the abuses of power by our elected state just as much as it did to the absues of power of a feudal king.
Still I’ll go along tomorrow just to say I was there and to enjoy the circus, and on the bright side people seem interested and some may stop and thing and if police guarding the event can see how badly it sits with the ideals it’s meant to be celebrating then maybe other people will as well.