to think our actual freedoms came from social revolution and unpheaval and not the Magna Carta as Cameron seems to think so?

(38 Posts)
kim147 Mon 16-Jun-14 09:24:48

"The Prime Minister said that a “genuinely liberal country” believes in certain values, actively promotes them and “says to its citizens: this is what defines us as a society”.

He said the UK’s “belief in freedom, tolerance of others, accepting personal and social responsibility, respecting and upholding the rule of law” are as “British as the Union Flag, football and fish and chips”.

“We should not be squeamish about our achievements, or bashful about our Britishness,” he said.

Downing Street will launch the celebratory activity for the anniversary of Magna Carta at an event tomorrow, while the next 12 months will see dedicated lessons in schools teaching children about the charter, with specialist television programming and celebratory events planned.

Historian David Starkey, who is making a BBC2 series about Magna Carta to run next year, praised the plan to highlight the importance of the charter in schools. He said: “Every child, especially Muslim children, should be taught about Magna Carta.

“The reason people have become immigrants in Britain is precisely because they value life here. What are intrinsic to that life are the social, economic and political freedoms that go back to Magna Carta,” he told The Sunday Times."

Tolerance of others - something that seems to be lacking at the moment given attitudes towards immigrants. Most of our freedoms and social change has come about not from the Magna Carta but through social action. Tolpuddle Matyrs, Peterloo, fighting rich mill owners etc. Not from the rich looking out for themselves.

Will Cameron remember the people who died to bring about social change?

ReallyTired Mon 16-Jun-14 09:30:21

The Magna Carta was a massive step forward and was the first time a country had suggested these freedoms and attempting to limit the power of a monach. It was a set of ideas which was radically new. Ofcourse it took many centuries for the Magna Carta to be truely implemented. smile

“Every child, especially Muslim children, should be taught about Magna Carta."

That statement is inflamatory. Why couldn't he had said that every British child should be taught about the Magna Carta and leave religion out of it.

Meow75 Mon 16-Jun-14 09:31:24

Yes. I bet there are plenty of values that were considered important in 1215 when MC was signed that we wouldn't touch now.

The MC was the starting point, and should be celebrated, but don't hang 2014 or 15 on it!!!

KoalaFace Mon 16-Jun-14 09:32:17

The Magna Carta has its place in our history and should be taught within history lessons and its importance highlighted.

But YANBU. Will the work of the suffragettes, unions, artists, etc also be credited?

kim147 Mon 16-Jun-14 09:33:12

I think a new Magna Carta expressing our rights as citizens would be great - maybe to commemorate the 800th anniversary.

What could we call it?

ReallyTired Mon 16-Jun-14 09:48:02

kim147
We could have a British Bill of Human Rights to replace the "European Human Rights Act".

I don't think that celebrating the Magna Carta demeans the the work of hte suffragettes, unions or anyone else. The development of democracy took centuries to develop and still is developing.

We should also remember the "Glorious Revolution" when power was taken from the crown. Of the the house of commons was a joke because there were lots of rotten borughs in the 18th century and very few people were allowed to vote. To understand the history of the suffergettes you need to learn about earlier history including the magna carta.

KarlWrenbury Mon 16-Jun-14 09:48:38

is this REALLY an AIBU thread?

kim147 Mon 16-Jun-14 09:50:08

Yes - because Cameron is BU.

He seems to be so focussed on the Magna Carta and British values but forgetting where most of our social change came from.

Plus he's good at eroding our liberties.

I think you'e combining two things though - the 'British values' stuff that Cameron is spouting. And the Magna Carta - 'best thing since sliced bread' thing - which is largely being spouted by the guy who's about to do a documentary series about it so wants to talk it up.

I reckon any teaching of 'British values' needs to cover a lot of ground, including a lot of debate about who gets to decide what those values are int the first place!

ReallyTired Mon 16-Jun-14 10:19:07

The Magna Carta was a stepping stone and part of our history. It was the first time anyone said that the king had to abide by the laws of the land. It was the first time that a law was passed to say that someone had the right to fair trial and not to be arrested unfairly.

kim147 Mon 16-Jun-14 10:20:05

Interesting as well that it's British Values - in the run up to the referendum in Scotland.

Reading the Magna Carta - well Scotland's not involved. And Wales - I think we had some of them held as hostage.

shakethetree Mon 16-Jun-14 10:29:16

Well, I'm all for schools teaching our history, reading our classics ( not Americas, but Gove is dealing with that one. Also, every child should be made to speak like Mark from made in Chelsea.

ComposHat Mon 16-Jun-14 10:29:59

He also neglects to mention that most pieces of progressive legislation that have improved the lot of ordinary people have been bitterly resisted by the Tory party, up to and including the minimum wage.

The Tories have a near impeccable record of siding with the establishment against those arguing for change and equality.

kim147 Mon 16-Jun-14 10:33:04

"He also neglects to mention that most pieces of progressive legislation that have improved the lot of ordinary people have been bitterly resisted by the Tory party, up to and including the minimum wage. "

That's true - I wonder if that would be on the history curriculum. The role of the Tory party in social change.

ComposHat Mon 16-Jun-14 10:42:32

"I wonder if that would be on the history curriculum. The role of the Tory party in social change."

I fear it would be like the section in the footballer Len Shackleton's autobiography entitled 'what the average football club chairman knows about football'

It consisted of a blank page.

dawndonnaagain Mon 16-Jun-14 10:53:47

Starkey is an arse. A racist arse at that. He's an insufferable snob, too.

Our social history.
Watt Tyler.
Kett's rebellion.
Land reforms (1100 - 1200)
Crusades.
King John loses war with France because his brother's buggered off with all the soldiers, again. Gets excommunicated, too.
1300-1400 English starts to displace French as the chosen language of the Upper Classes, and in court and schools.
More wars including the start of the 100 years war.
Owen Glyndwr kicks the English out of Wales.
Chaucer dies.
Then we've got various rebellions, the Reformation, The English Civil War, The Kentish Petitions. The Quaker discussions, The Corn Laws, The Abolition of Slavery etc.
The list is flaming endless and the Magna Carta whilst holding some meaning is far less important than Cameron would like it to be. King John wasn't entirely a baddie, either, Richard was an idiot, spending all the money on The Crusades, whilst John was trying to implement some sort of fiscal policy here so that the country could survive. He wasn't as bad as the stories make him out to be.
James 1 also spent too much money, leading to the problems inherited by Charles 1. Also a twit, marrying a catholic after the reformation, not the best idea in the world.
<sigh>

Gosh, David Starkey really is a massive wanker, isn't he?

(Though, it couldn't possibly matter less, but dawn, I think the bit about English replacing French is more contested than that these days.)

IdealistAndProudOfIt Mon 16-Jun-14 11:25:08

i believe Magna Carta wasn't actually that great. Yes it tried to limit the freedom of the monarch a little, not that much, by transferring a little power back to the aristocracy. The ordinary peasant didn't get a look in. At least that's what i've heard.

nice then if he is equating Britishness with the Magna Carta, since he definitely is all about the rich getting richer and more opportunities, less wealth and power to the poor.

If they want us to be proud of Britain perhaps they should start investing in infrastructure and services, things that include the ordinary person and affect their lives daily, not line the pockets of the oligarchy and disempower the rest of us.

dawndonnaagain Mon 16-Jun-14 11:25:55

In some circles LRD Later rows with Eleanor served to further the English Speaking, particularly as at one point it was made illegal to teach French, a law which afaik still hasn't been repealed!
Oh, and in this great British country where Farage is uncomfortable on the train, would it be churlish to point out that our laws are still written in Norman French.
grin

dawndonnaagain Mon 16-Jun-14 11:26:44

Oh, and Cromwell did far more to limit the power of the monarchy than Magna Carta.

Greythorne Mon 16-Jun-14 11:26:59

Why is Starkey singling out Muslim
Children?

Wow! When was it made illegal to teach French?!

I know it's a bit controversial. It's just, there are loads of people reading French into the fifteenth century and beyond. I bet all the 'triumph of English' stuff is right up Cameron's street - in the nasty, 'we English are so awesome, even when we're invaded by Normans we come out of top' way, not the 'hmm, maybe this is just about language and convenience eh' way.

grey - because he's a racist tosser. smile

IdealistAndProudOfIt Mon 16-Jun-14 11:30:10

here's an article about the magna carta which demonstrates the view I mentioned. www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/legacy.html

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