There is naturally more in it than we can tell of here. It must be realised that many things which cannot be foretold would automatically evolve from the inauguration of this new constitutional institution, new social purpose, and new social order. When the basic troubles have been removed and the foundation of the new social and economic order laid, hundreds of minor problems would vanish or solve themselves, giving us a New Britain where the load of care, misery, fear of loss of livelihood or security would be lifted from the hearts of men and women. Peace and plenty would, as the Prime Minister, Mr Winston Churchill? has said, give strength and inspiration for the "Forward March of the Common People."
The Personal Security Act is a variation of a plan by Prestonia Mann Martin, in his book Prohibiting Poverty (New York). If such a plan was placed before the people it might not receive their consent or, on the other hand, it might receive public acclamation. This scheme is but one of many from which the people should have the opportunity of choosing. We sponsor no scheme, but follow the advice of the late King George V to the World Economic Conference (South Kensington, London) that "It cannot be I beyond the wit of man to use the vast resources of the K world to ensure the material progress of civilisation" and to bring peace and security to mankind.
The first essential to any reform is ways and means of arousing public support for its establishment. Planners like to feel that their schemes are sound and scientific. They often forget that a sound and scientific policy for arousing public support is also necessary. We must begin from the beginning and accept the masses of our people as they are ; mostly incapable of judging whether a scheme is sound or unsound and easily led astray by political and party interests. It is the bitter experience of reformers that detailed plans of reform, irrespective of their soundness or desirability, arouse political, intellectual, and religious divisions of opinion. Only simple principles of common need, right, and justice which underlie all desirable reforms can bring the people together.
There must be a campaign to educate the public to
think and to act and to judge between right and wrong.
The people must be made morally and politically conscious.
They have to be provided with a means of enabling them
to speak and to act with the authority of an informed
and united people in close touch with their political
The simple principles of human need which we seek to
make supreme law, the Common Law Councils, and the
Referendum System provide the means of doing this. H
The policy of action which has been outlined requires the reformer to take up large-scale organising. In comparison the task of drawing up a plan of reform is easy and pleasant | Those who will take up the difficult and often disappointing 1 task of awakening and educating public opinion, dc> so. Those who prefer something easier usually sit down in their
ChS^^ go- ^ without someone calling at our
154 A PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE
office with a book he has written on social reform or representing an organisation advocating a plan. They all invite us to adopt their plan in preference to others. Almost without exception we find they have shirked the greater problem of leading humanity from its present condition of ignorance, inertia, and dissension to the point where it is awakened and united in sufficient numbers to cause a reform to be put into operation.
We don't ask you to accept the Personal Security Plan, or any other plan, but the principles of common justice which underlie it. If you are interested in plans or in developing reforms which conform with our principles, then help us to establish our Social Reform Ministry and work quietly in the background until the public is ready for you. There the pioneers of all the professions, arts, and sciences can meet to plan and clarify the details of reforms upon the foundation of the principles which unite us.
Apart from the tragedy of destruction, the war*1 has given
us a wonderful opportunity to begin again with a fresh start.
When the Great Fire of London cleansed the ancient city
of plague and its clutter of disease-ridden hovels, it gave Sir
Christopher Wren the greatest opportunity any man could
desire; He planned to raise a splendid London from the
ruins of the old, with spacious squares, gardens and streets,
and beautiful buildings. But Londoners' civic pride was
overcome by greed and commercialism and he was forced to
revise his plans. A better London arose, but not the noble
city he would have built.
When the war is over statesmen will have a far greater opportunity—an opportunity which comes but once in a thousand years-—not merely to rebuild a city but to raise a new political, economic, and social order from the dust or the old.
A Social Reform Ministry must be set up. It must contain men and women dedicated to future humanity-Our foolish rulers failed to give us prosperity and peace, and failed to arm us for the war brought upon the nation.
A PEOPLE'S SOCIAL REFORM MINISTRY 155
They must not be allowed to fail in preparing us for peace and reconstruction or we shall lose that peace as we lost the last one. Once they tossed aside the golden opportunity for reconstruction. We must see that this does not occur again. Peace is more important than war. A Ministry must be set up now and it must contain men and women dedicated to the task of rebuilding for the security and happiness of man. It must have the finest brains at its disposal. In this country we have vast reserves of intellectual ability in social and political science, in engineering, architecture, education, medicine, and in all the arts and sciences. There are people of first-class ability, of lofty attainment, and integrity of purpose. Their arts are those of peace, not of war. Many are unknown to the public because the foolish, rushing, commercial world is only interested in the personal profit to be obtained by exploiting the genius of the race rather than in the gifts which could be given to the community.
There is room for them all in this Ministry whose effort will be wider, finer, and more lasting than any war can be. People who seek office by the power of money or by insidious wire-pulling, but with no mental equipment or aptitude for the greater tasks of peace, must have no place in this Ministry. We need people who can and will plan for the happiness and security of man.
When this war is over hundreds of thousands of engineers, teachers, architects, and scientists thrown out of the Forces will be looking for work. This talent must not be wasted. Plans and maps must be prepared for rebuilding London and other great cities, and for garden-cities throughout the country. They must be given to our young architects with the instruction—build beautiful and healthy cities for the people.
Our educational system must be overhauled to abolish ignorance; to awaken in future generations the desire for fellowship and co-operation rather than competition; to help to replace social apathy with a natural response to the duties of citizenship. The new education must before all
156 ):$£ PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE
else teach men and women how to live; it must site J and encourage the latent genius in man and give it th direction which will seek an outlet in the service of man * enriching society. This new purpose in education is the only practical foundation upon which men can live together in harmony.
No class must be educated to be the master of another. Talent and ability will provide the natural leaders in ali departments of life. Equal education and opportunity must be given to all. Our planners for the future of the world cannot afford to give anyone a position of authority and power merely on account of his birth, unless he also has the necessary qualifications. Such a pre-war attitude would be a reckless wastage of our country's intellectual resources and capacities. The new purpose in education extended to training in trades and commerce will cause men to find their own level and rise to their potential heights, and thus give the world a new aristocracy of service and achievement. The folly of the old system must go for ever.
Our Ministry must draw up the blue-prints of the new social and commercial order. It must call together those who produce the nation's food, clothing, the people's homes, and all the amenities of civilisation, and instruct them: "Here are forty-five million people who require so much food, clothing, housing, etc., of good quality. Produce the goods and the cost will be guaranteed."
The economist must be shown the plans: "Here are the producers and distributors ready to do their part. Your task is to devise a new monetary technique to finance production and to distribute the goods to the people who need them."
The blue-print of the new world must be designed with aivme simplicity of purpose and with no other motive than ™wLVChu^anity and to give it that full secure life without
Th,? a? VacewiUnever inhabit the earth. WhiELif embersforour Ministry will not be found in tehall ^ong the unimaginative minds of those who
PEOPLE'S SOCIAL REFORM MINISTRY 157
. w ^g Government departments of to-day, or among • 1 servants whose imagination has been deadened by many C1V1 of working under the dead-head bureaucracy which ^lt'fied their initiative and enthusiasm. Officialdom Stnnot be trusted to form our Ministry of the future, for if would be shackled by bureaucracy and the policy of the oresent economic order. Such has been the fate of the Brain Trust of Scientists which was brought into being to serve the war effort.
Our Ministry must be organised outside of political interference and receive directly from the people power to put its plans into effect.
The drawing up of plans without a process of putting them into effect is wasted effort and the cause of much disappointment and disillusionment. Our Common Law Parliament will provide the means of placing such plans before the people of every town and village and of arousing them to demand that they are put into effect.
Whilst we are engaged with the immediate task of building up public opinion, educating and directing it, the plans of experts can be prepared in readiness to be placed before the people in their Common Law Councils in the form of simple supplementary principles of reform. When the people have been taught to think they will enthusiastically discuss what experts have to say. At present, most of them are incapable of thinking or of judging plans.
In our public activities let us stick to principles and not bog ourselves in endless intellectual argument. The great task before us—and it is a great and immediate opportunity— is to produce a psychological counter-offensive against the enemy by uniting our people on principles and insisting that they become Law to provide the foundation for a new world of personal security and freedom. We can place before the world an honest policy which will enable the national life of all nations to be evolved so that every individual obtains a more free, happy, and secure life than is possible in a totalitarian state.
Has there ever been such a great event as this ?
Or has there been heard its like ?
A people who heard the Voice of God!
So keep his institutions, P
That you may prosper, and your children after you. h
(The First Oration of Moses when he established the Law.)
WILL YOU HELP?
We would finally say a word to those sceptics and cynics who would question the possibility of united public opinion We appreciate their scepticism because history has shown us that people seem invariably unable to come together to correct unjust authority, for they stand too much in awe of that authority.
But there has been little enough to unite them—just a few promises which have not been fulfilled.
In the autumn of 1938, the founder of the People's Common Law Parliament called a small meeting with some friends. They lived in Coventry. There were six of them, and they organised and carried out the public activities outlined in the Foreword of this book. They were determined to put a Petition before the King. They drew up the principles given in this book. These were the laws upon which humanity should be governed. But there was more than that, for these principles were derived from the Magna Carta and the Petition of Right and were the recorded rights of all Englishmen.
It was not nearly so difficult as had been imagined, bo
much is condemned before even the endeavour is made.
There is only one thing the people always need—a leader—
someone to start the idea. ,.
In Coventry and ^^SSt^S^
to support some mo™™n\°Tc^Z about which they would never have any dnect conuct and ^ ^ ^^
would not hear ^^j gOVL their lives; they were
certain prmaplewhtch^- g^ understoodd
asked to support mfaf^.^ personal and intimate needs. B which would provide for^Pient?
And the result of the exp 6
162 A PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE
The support was colossal|; If six people could accomplish so much, what would be the result of the loyal co-operation of a thousand active people ? We leave it to the reader to judge, and to give or withhold his or her support.
To those of you who will help us we say: "You can do the same as the first half-dozen people." Form the nucleus of a Common Law Council, or offer service in one of the technical departments of the P.C.L.P. Get together where you can and mobilise public opinion. Defy the hindrance of the war, for these things can be obviated.
If you are too indifferent to do these things, or too cynical, then at least help those who are constructive by holding a mind sufficiently open to realise possibilities. But that is not the spirit we need.
We must do things now. It is no good waiting until after the war. Sir Kingsley Wood in his Budget Statement on Monday, April 7, 1941, finished with:
". . 11 have tempered the full rigour of my proposals not only to ease present conditions by an expansion of the policy of restricting the increase of prices to a minimum, but also to arrange for post-war repayment to meet the trials and difficulties after the warP
will be a commercial battle for world markets "Fit your
self for the battle." We deprecate a return to the anarchy
which plunged the world into its present orgy of slaughter.
Are we fighting for the right to cut each other's throats, or
for some more noble objective ?
Having no clearly defined national purpose to enable
them to distinguish between right and wrong, between
fundamental justice and injustice, between a destructive or a
constructive policy the opinions of Government spokesmen
are divided and confuse the public mind. It seems that on
die one hand we are being prepared for no cWe in our
destructive economic policy, whiUt- ™ +u ~anS~ ?\ a
1 • 1 r /J wnust on the oth#»r hand we
are advised to prepare for something new
WILL YOU HELP? l6
It is not difficult for you to choose between right and wrong. You must come with us and prevent a further repetition of history. It is vital that we organise NOW
The forces of corruption which have caused this war "and the last have been organised for years. They are still organised. At the end of the war they will immediately assert themselves to build their own fortunes and consolidate their power. The moneylender will reopen his offices in the City. Well, it is up to us, to you, to see that his offices remain empty.
It is for the ordinary man this time to determine whether the world shall again be at war in twenty years. We are "the ordinary man."
We wish to hear from you if you are with us. We know that war conditions dislocate most of our lives. But if you have something to offer in ability, ideas, or enthusiasm we wish to know you. You may find us at: The People's Common Law Parliament, 5, Endsleigh Place, London, W.C.I.
Institutions and just laws, like the whole of this
Law which I place before you to-day?
(The First Oration of Moses when he established the Law.)
TflE DIVINE ORIGIN OF THE BRITISH COMMON LAWffl
TT is claimed, and not without justice, that the People's Common Law Parliament is reviving the Christian faith and the institutions of the British Constitution and of the Common Law, and is defending them. Its activities have caused many people to inquire into the origin of the British Common Law and have aroused an interest which this Appendix is intended to satisfy, possibly to stimulate.
There is not space to deal exhaustively with the subject. Only an outline can be given, but sufficient to demonstrate how our Common Law has been handed down to us from the dim past of early human history, finding its highest expression in the social precepts of the Christian faith, precepts which gave birth to the democracies of the world.
The war which began in the year 1914, and which has never yet ceased, saw the crash of many European empires and thrones. It denoted the death-agonies of the Old World Order, including autocracy and pseudo-democracy. Both were discredited throughout the world—one for its subjection of human life to a pagan order and the other for its inefficiency.
Neither autocracy nor pseudo-democracy is the real cause of the poverty, misery, unemployment, war, the ugliness and chaos brought to a beautiful world of plenty. The cause lies far deeper than mere systems. Systems spring from ideas. Beneficial and humanitarian systems spring from ideals. Humanity has been destroying itself by its own dialectic for setting up man without a moral guide, with the result that he has been negating himself.
He has affirmed paganism and denied Christianity. i
Without God, or if the reader would prefer it, without a
high moral code, man and his systems go to the devil. This
danger was realised by our forefathers. Therefore their
of our Common Law) were practised to establish a code of social and individual life based on the Divine Laws revealed by God.
Many well-known authorities could be quoted to confirm this statement. Blackstone, the eminent authority on jurisprudence, says of the Common Law:
"This law of nature, being coeval with mankind and dictated by God Himself, is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe in all countries and at all times; no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force, and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original. This has given manifold occasion for the benign interposition of divine Providence, which, in compassion to the frailty, the imperfection, and the blindness of human reason, has pleased at sundry times and in divers manners, to discover and enforce its laws by an immediate and direct revelation. The doctrines thus delivered are called the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures."
In these days, when few people read and less understand the New or the Old Testament, it is not generally known that the Bible contains a system of economics and social life which in comparison makes ours look cumbersome and
People often say that we have tried everything but Christianity. What do we mean by the way of life which we loosely describe as Christian ? Christ came to fulfil a system of Laws which can be found in its completeness in the Old Testament. It is a system of economics more practical than anything yet devised by man.
The statement often heard that the Sermon on the Mount cannot become practical politics reveals abysmal ignorance of the system of Laws to which Christ referred. Christ said:
"I come not to destroy the law . . . but to fulfil. For verily
T sav unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or e tittle shall in no way pass from the law, till aU is fulfilled."
ORIGIN OF BRITISH COMMON LAW 169
It is a national tragedy that the ministers of Christ have given great prominence to the mysteries of the "faith" and failed to give an intelligent and reasonable understanding of its laws which Christ came to fulfil. This omission has been mainly responsible for the absence of statutory definition of social purpose to guide our administration and to protect the people from political and commercial exploitation. The British Constitution, its Laws, and the rights and duties of citizenship cannot properly be understood without reference to the Hebrew Laws from whence they sprang. Religious education in schools has little practical value when the Bible is studied merely from its historical aspect. A child taught to understand the social implications of the Divine raws would instinctively become a rebel in our modern pagan society.
The early English kings realised that these laws provided the most practical and natural economy revealed to man. All other systems had failed to give man security and peace or to release man's mind and spirit to fulfil his true destiny on earth.
The British Constitution and the Common Law were designed to protect the heritage, and the freedom and justice of the people; to provide a code of conduct, and to establish a national purpose.
Many statesmen recognise the inadequacy and stupidity of the present system. The great practical idealist who tried to found socialism in this country knew that under our present administration his cause was hopeless. In the midst of his political success Keir Hardie said:
"I feel sick at heart with politics, and all that pertains thereto. If I were thirty years a younger man, with the experiences I have gained during the past thirty-five years, I would, methinks, abandon house and home,.$K . if need be, to go forth among the people to proclaim afresh and anew the full gospel of the message of Jesus of Nazareth. We are all of us, somehow or other, off the track."