Whatever the historical merits of the magna carta agreements that variously date from 1215 to 1235, the sight of today's arch reactionaries from the British monarchy and the British Tory party seeking to celebrate this democratic document is enough to make one's skin crawl. Sure, every nation likes to tell itself heart-warming myths, in part as a way of bolstering its current ruling elite, and Britain is no exception. The favourite narrative of Britain's establishment is that England is the birthplace of democracy and the English parliament is the mother of that democracy. Try telling that to the billions who suffered under the brutality and humiliation of the British Empire. Try telling that to the Irish, Malayan and Kenyan freedom fighters who languished in Britain's post war network of concentration camps and subjected to the most horrendous forms of mental and physical tortures. And still the torture goes on. But like all nations we love to perpetuate our national myths. Britain is probably no worse than others in this respect but the hypocrisy is no less sickening .


Actually, there is a document that is worth celebrating, a document that Britain did play a significant part in drafting. I refer to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It makes for both an inspiring yet depressing read. Inspiring in that it encapsulates as well as any document might, the concept of human rights transcending race, class, nation, gender and creed. Depressing in that whole swathes of the document are rarely referred to let alone acted upon. Take for example clause 23 on worker's rights. It states that,

Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

Has Cameron and his Tory ministers ever read this clause? I doubt it. If they had they would not allow countless millions of British workers to toil all their lives for pitiful, poverty wages and in appalling conditions to boot. Nor would they tolerate the millions of young people condemned to spend so much of their young lives on the dole or in degrading low pay employment. Nor would they seek to demonise the one institution that seeks to improve the situation; the British trade union movement. If Cameron and Co really believed in democracy and human rights they would implement a living wages policy immediately. Instead they spend their days insulating the obscenely rich one percent from the winds of transparency and taxation while fawning at the feet of both a heredity monarchy and the global corporates. 

Then there is Clause 9 which explicitly states; No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

There are almost too many examples of Britain contravening this clause in its recent past to deal with. I've already mentioned Ireland, Malaya and Kenya but I could have just as easily recalled Britain's record of arbitrary incarceration in India, in Australasia or in the Americas. OK, some might respond, we can't undo the past. Fair enough, but we are still at it. In Afghanistan and in Iraq to name but two. The reports of illegal imprisonment and torture in Britain's detention centres in these two embattled nations just keep coming. Horrific accounts of the most degrading and brutal torture regimes. Not hundreds of years ago, not even decades ago but now, today, as we blog. And you don't have to go to foreign fields to witness the British State abusing this unambiguous Clause 9. Britain's own domestic detention centres and prisons continually produce their own catalogue of barbarity. 

That brings us neatly to clause 14 which states: We have the right to seek a safe place to live. If we are frightened of being badly treated in our own country, we all have the right to run away to another country to be safe.

Well, judging by Britain's attitude to asylum seekers, it is pretty obvious that either successive British governments have either never read this clause or simply have no intention of upholding it. And it's not just asylum seekers who are no longer welcome in Britain. Just about any economic migrant seeking to improve their lot on planet earth is now considered persona non grata. That is unless you happen to be a filthy rich oligarch with a bank account stuffed with freshly laundered dirty money from the former socialist republics of Eastern Europe. 

We could blog all day in this way, citing all thirty UN Human RIghts clauses and highlighting the gross hypocrisy of successive British governments when it comes to the rhetoric of democracy and the everyday reality of their actions. We have sadly been forced to live with that hypocrisy, but when the hypocrites rub salt in the wound by pretending to celebrate the so called dawn of democracy way back in the feudal age, it is almost too much to take. Please, please, please, stop the cant Mr Cameron and just concentrate on leading your decidedly undemocratic party with your decidedly undemocratic mandate. Never forget that only one in five British citizens actually voted for your rotten party so cut the crap about loving democracy. You love power and money, that's all.

End JPK Copyright, 17/6/15

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Last Updated ( Monday, 21 May 2018 06:22 )