From: Daniel Hannan
What Magna Carta initiated, rather, was constitutional government—or, as the terse inscription on the American Bar Association’s stone puts it, “freedom under law.”
It takes a real act of imagination to see how transformative this concept must have been. The law was no longer just an expression of the will of the biggest guy in the tribe. Above the king brooded something more powerful yet—something you couldn’t see or hear or touch or taste but that bound the sovereign as surely as it bound the poorest wretch in the kingdom. That something was what Magna Carta called “the law of the land.”
This phrase is commonplace in our language. But think of what it represents. The law is not determined by the people in government, nor yet by clergymen presuming to interpret a holy book. Rather, it is immanent in the land itself, the common inheritance of the people living there.
The idea of the law coming up from the people, rather than down from the government, is a peculiar feature of the Anglosphere. Common law is an anomaly, a beautiful, miraculous anomaly. In the rest of the world, laws are written down from first principles and then applied to specific disputes, but the common law grows like a coral, case by case, each judgment serving as the starting point for the next dispute. In consequence, it is an ally of freedom rather than an instrument of state control. It implicitly assumes residual rights.
From Daniel Hannan
Lord Denning, most celebrated of all twentieth-century jurists, declared: “Magna Carta is the greatest constitutional document of all times—the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot.”
The few copies that survive from the thirteenth century are mostly housed in our cathedrals, tended like the relics that were removed at the Reformation. One is on display in the Australian Parliament in Canberra. Another hangs next to the Declaration of Independence in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Here, in short, is the Anglosphere’s unifying text.
As an aside, there is also a campaign underway to bring a copy of the Magna Carta to Canada, for its anniversary next year.
I just wanted to write-up a quick note, after a couple of weeks and a few tweaks. I have completed the migration from blogger to WordPress. Overall I am happy with the website for now. I want to thank those who encouraged me to make the switch. It looks like there will be a provincial election in Ontario sometime in this calendar year, and there is no better time than the present to start posting on a more frequent basis.
For those who wanted to update their bookmarks. Here is the most recent RSS feed for the blog http://www.toryredux.com/feed/
There’s a new news aggregator on the block and it’sBlue Canada. The brainchild of Craig Smith co founder of Blogging Tories it is a refreshing conservative alternative to other predominant aggregators in Canada. To this end, I have now placed Blue Canada in my blogroll.
OTTAWA – The Canadian Centre for Policy Studies welcomed the 10 per cent reduction in taxpayer subsidies to the CBC announced in yesterday’s federal budget.“Last October we called for the privatization of the CBC,” said David Krayden, executive director of the CCPS. “The CBC is a world class broadcaster, fully capable of competing in the private sector. The more than $1 billion in government funding the CBC receives annually is a misuse of tax dollars since virtually every service it provides can be, or is being, provided by private broadcasters in Canada. What’s more, this subsidy gives the CBC an unfair advantage over other broadcasters who must compete with it for advertising revenue.”
“By reducing the size of the subsidy it receives every year from taxpayers, today’s announcement represents an important first step toward the CBC’s inevitable privatization.”
Here’s my more in-depth article on CBC privatization. As well we have to encourage the conservative government in Ottawa to continue taking a tough stance on public broadcasting and make sure that taxpayers are getting value for their money.
The reshuffled Alberta PCs under new premier Alison Redford is reconvening the Alberta legislature for a whopping two days. More to the point, in the current legislative year 2011. The Alberta legislature has had a grand total of 34 sitting days.Doing some quick math, that works out to be less than 10% of the current year. That poses the question , how can the government effectively be held to account when the Legislature only sits around 10 to 13% a year .
To be fair, most provincial legislatures only have a maximum of three months of sitting days, In any given year. Far from being a bleeding heart liberal, if I was in Alberta , I would just want to see my politicians work a little harder for their money.