A people's runnymedem by



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The British Forces were prevented by financial interests from using the British Farquhar-Hill machine rifle. The Proof Master admitted that he had orders to damage the rifle so that it would fail when tested by the Enfield and Small Arms Committee. When the rifle was tested by the Admiralty in competition with other machine rifles it

1 Gourgaud Memoirs, and A Portrait of a King, by Mac.Nair Wilson^

3*

74



A PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE

passed with flying colours, whilst die others failed. An order was given for 100,000 of the rifles, but it would seem that "favoured" rifle manufacturers were more power­ful than Government authorities. The order was cancelled and to-day our soldiers uwthe inferior Bren Rifle *

They forced Great Britain back to the Gold Standard with disastrous effects upon our prosperity and world peace. For the profit of money-lending they dictated the terms of the Ottawa Conference and the economic nationalism which helped to plunge Europe into Fascism in 1932. Through Mr Montagu Norman they facilitated the loans which financed German rearmament. On the eve of the pres­ent war they hindered our change-over from peace produc­tion to production for total war by doubling the Bank rate. Just before the war they floated a loan of £100,000,000 for Hitler. They allowed him to take Bank of England gold from Czechoslovakia to finance the present war. When they sent Montagu Norman, the Chairman of the Bank of England, to Germany for the innocent purpose of playing godfather to the grandson of Schacht, it was to assure that K finance would win whichever nation lost the war.

Need we give further instances of the treason, corruption, 1 and legalised lawlessness which have violated every principle of common justice and decency and brought calamity upon our national life ? These examples should be sufficient to 1 ma'ce every man and woman living under the insecurity of ■ the British Flag demand legislation which will protect them 1 from the machinations and dangers of irresponsible financial I powers, inhuman systems, and insincere or foolish politicians.2

M™hlTm*Comm*nd*T Fletcher' ¥$. House of Commons-^ Wk

These defects in our easy-gome British r««„+'* *.• ri&A * L £ .

a legal contemporary, The I^F^LRt^^ "N^T * ?W«Z

has . . the defects of its qualities, for it^ndonk^l l *at>ona* amiabJlt£

gross abuses in public finance. . . This i i1\> dy I?ds t0 toleratl0n °{

I disconcert* in public life which foreigners call ^ UP-Wlth \ ?|W sens<: f

1 °creeiw a n^ber of scoundrels who know ho" Vn/0/"^ *?d whldl certainly
Press. . . . *"ow now to defeat the law and square the

"The House of Commons has fostered vario,™ w«.i r



a varlous k^ds of corruption, such as

THE VIOLATION OF COMMON LAW 75

rinciples which we claim should be made law are a

T mExpression of the British Common Law. If they

Ta been supreme "written" Common Law, instead of

« written" Common Law x which can be so easily ignored,

h harmful government and the evils we have instanced

would have been checked at their inception.^

If it is morally right to enact laws which prevent one person from injuring another, then it is equally right that laws should prevent the State or powerful private groups from injuring the community. None can deny this necessity to protect citizens from the power of huge financial organ­isations, from the devious control of secret interests, the brute force of wealth, and the deceit of political chicanery. Until moral-civic laws define the rights and obligations of British subjects and protect legitimate interests, and penalise individuals and organisations which offend against them, neither men nor nations will live in peace or security.

Supreme Laws must define the duties of Parliament in such a manner that they cannot be misunderstood, dis­obeyed, or avoided. Before this can be done we must make up our minds what we want to do with our lives and what we want the State to do for us. It is a sad commentary on human intelligence that every institution known to man has Us purpose defined by rules or legislation, but the purpose of human life and the object of human society has no legal definition. It has been said by an eminent legal authority that 80 per cent, of our laws were devised for the protection

the Inclosures of the eighteenth century, the neglect of canals in the seventeenth century. Nevertheless, corruption is still subject to exposure in the Law Courts and judicial independence still remains our principal security for public integrity. Whatever tyranny may threaten us, the old maxim is still valid: 'The King ought not to be under any man but under God and under the Law, because the Law makes him King. . . . Let the King render to the Law what the Law renders to "lm-i that is dominion and power, for he is nothing if bis will rules and not the Law,* At the close of the eighteenth century the industrial revolution resulted not only in a financial tyranny stronger than that of the landowners but also in the inhuman condition of mines and factories." 1 See Chapter Six.

76 A PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE

of financial contracts and the advancement of financial interests, but less than 3 per cent, for the protection and the progress'of human life. Christ gave life a purpose and came to fulfil its law, but we have ignored it, as we have ignored the British Common Law which sprang from it.

What is the purpose of our lives ? On this purpose must depend the purpose of the State. What is the purpose of man and society? Men formed communities for mutual protection and benefit, not to provide a minority with the opportunity to oppress the majority. They came together to enjoy the security, the increase of food, the warmth and shelter, and the increased leisure and amenities which their association made possible

H The State is the people. The life and the wealth and the body of the State are of the people in association. By their organisations and their productive and cultural activi­ties they give the whole of their life to the State; but apart from protection against certain forms of wrongful imprison­ment, robbery, fraud, and physical violence they receive very little in return. We are free to practise Christian precepts in society and in business, but the practice of them is often a means of economic suicide. At a General Election we are free to choose between the policies of the political parties but not to choose the things we really want.

It is the natural right of every British citizen to inherit a share in the wealth of the State, but the vast majority have no economic rights whatsoever. They are born dis­possessed. They are free to sell their labour and brains if someone wants to hire them; they can engage in business and commerce */ they have the necessary capital; they are free to sell within limits. But legal and commercial pro­cesses and the monetary system prevent millions of men and women from engaging in gainful occupations, and deny 1 the maJrit7 of them a just reward for their labours, and,

1 f SO do!n#> vlolate the fundamental principle of Common .Law and Equity.

The first and only practical purpose of human society is

THE VIOLATION OF COMMON LAW 77


A with the least possible amount of labour for each ^!! ct' the greatest possible amount of wealth, and to

1,. the community to produce as, when, and where to cnaDi1

require


P. .1 uJe ;t in Such a way as to secure for each individual the greatest possible freedom, security, and leisure, that he may develop his character by the exercise of such virtues, by the creation of such beauties, by the pursuance of such knowledge, and the enjoyment of such happiness as his spiritual qualities, his intelligence, and labours have placed within his power, and for the race, attainment of the highest perfection and glory.

This conception of the ideal State is the only worth-while purpose of human association—it is man's only salvation. This is a hard fact which must first be understood, and then attained by a quickening of the imagination. The pioneers of mankind have all been dreamers who have made their dreams reality by the power of an overmastering ideal behind them. First the conception of human purpose, then the reality.

Our present economic policy, with its false philosophy of the survival of the fittest, has proved itself to be self-destruc­tive. Its material conception has degraded the spiritual nature of man; it has encouraged his worst and stifled his best; it has caused him to use the finest product °f his genius to destroy life and has hindered his efforts o nurture it. It has set class against class, master against man, trader against trader, and nation against nation. Uunng the last four centuries it has brought poverty and misery to millions and has cursed this country with 293 years of war.

* here can be no doubt as to which is the most practical conception of social life: the materialism which destroys j^an, or the spiritual ideal to nurture and develop his life. An the countries of dictators social purpose is clearly defined.



Very rneans of publicity is marshalled and directed to the ^k of instilling it into the public mind.

If social purpose can thus be defined to suppress human



U A PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE

personality, it can also be defined to release and expand it. Only the clear vision and the power of this ideal can save man from the false ideologies, pseudo-democracies, and un­sound economic theories which are destroying him. Man must be liberated and protected, and his life purpose defined by a written Constitution of the Realm. It can be done by lawful repeals, amendments, and legislation sanctioned by the British Constitution itself. The power to amend and repeal laws has in the past been used to destroy the finer aspects of the British Common Law and Constitution—it must now be used to purify it.

The enactment of the three supreme laws which we have considered in preceding chapters would prohibit the evils' of the old order and provide the foundation for the new society we have envisaged. A final supreme Law is neces­sary to raise the spiritual, mental, and physical problems of human well-being above the factions of party politics and private and monetary expediency, to ensure that social purpose as defined in these laws and their accompanying "Objects" shall be binding upon our legislators. 1 This final law, like those which have preceded it, is to be found in the British Common Law or in the formulation of great principles which underlie it. The old maxim we have quoted from The Law Formal should be read again, substituting the word "Parliament" for "King." The principle that the King is under the law has put the law for ever on the side of equity and justice. Parliament took over the administration of the State to ensure that the King would rule under the Common Law, but it has ignored and misapplied the Law it was entrusted to obey more than any King dared to have done. I The forerunners of our Parliament did not leave us in any doubt as to what we should do if the King broke

I ?\ ' a • i°f *fY; Th* most «nking clause in the 1 6lst Ar,tlcle off Magna Carta was that in which John



he\Zl\l° t °mShA Ae. Peple to rise against him if | he broke the Law and again bring him to lawful ways.

THE VIOLATION OF COMMON LAW 79

r^npated with great distinctness when confirmed

This was repearcu w &

r TTT 1


^TWsTegalising of rebellion is the bedrock of our demo­te'institutions. It was accepted by Parliament. To Ais extent Parliament was limited; it must not violate the Common Law by allowing party or private preference to deprive the people of their natural right to live a full life and shall at all times protect them from oppression and harmful exploitation. The Constitution makes our duty plain; to follow the example of our forefathers when their rights were encroached upon, by reasserting the basic prin­ciples of our ancient Common Law and customs and inter­preting them in the language and setting of the modern age and applying them to the problems of the day.

Sufficient evidence has been brought forward to show that under the present economic regime it is impossible for the Government to control the conflicting elements of the system under which we live, or even to foresee the deplorable results arising from their actions. The absence of a basic law of human welfare to which all legislation must conform has left Parliament without a guide through the maze of conflicting problems which constantly afflict the people, and without any criterion of right and wrong by which Parliamentary bills and measures may be tested. There are many M.P.s who would welcome the enactment of supreme law which would check harmful legislation at its source, and to which they could appeal when in their judgment Parlia­mentary measures may hurt the nation.

When Miss Megan Lloyd George challengedthe Civilians' Compensation Bill (Personal Injuries (Emergency Pro­visions) Act) on May 1, 1941, as violating the equity of

• • • it shall be lawful for every one in our realm to rise against us and



0 JJse aU the ways and means they can to hinder us; to which we will that

each and every one shall henceforth be bound by our command ... so that



ey shall in no way give attention to us, but that they shall do everything which

?*ms at °ur injury and shall in no way be bound to us, until that in which we

ave transgressed and offenced shall have been by a fitting satisfaction brought

agara into due state, according to the form of the ordinance of the aforesaid.'*

8o A PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE

the Common Law of England, she appealed in vain to regulations which it has become customary for the Govern­ment to ignore. Neither legislation nor the people can ensure that justice shall be done until the fundamental principles of common human right are defined and estab­lished as the inviolable law of the Realm. Both on practical and purely moral grounds there is every reason why we should reaffirm the Common Law in this final supreme Law and Object in such a way that it shall be binding upon our rulers to observe, by defining social purpose and providing guidance in all legislation, so that economic security, the happiness, and the physical and spiritual needs of the people shall be the first claim upon all social, industrial, and com­mercial effort. Therefore:



M The primary responsibility of the State shall be to ensure that every subject of the Realm shall be free to contribute to the community according to his ability and shall receive sufficient purchasing power to provide for all his needs;

with the object:

To ensure that the aforesaid laws and objects shall receive the first consideration of the legislative authorities.1

1 A suggestion of the supplementary laws and Enabling Acts necessary for the operation of these four supreme laws will be found in Chapter Eight.

Preach against the preachers of their own inventions.



They have not mounted to the breaches; they have not

defended the walls. . . . You see deception and divine a lie. Have you not invented a false vision ? And divined a lying tale ?

Therefore because you speak falsehood and invent a lie,— I am absolutely opposed to you. My hand will be against the preacher of false visions And the diviners of a lie.

They shall not come to the Council of My People, Because they have deluded My people by exclaiming,

"Peace!" When there was no peace.

Ezekiel.

T

CHAPTER FIVE

THE PEACE WE LOST

t«f causes of poverty and war are so closely interwoven h t it is impossible to isolate any one factor and say this is |r direct cause of either of the evils. When the world solves one of these it will remove the main cause of the other. There is no difficulty in agreeing upon the principles which should be included in any plan of reconstruction after this war to preserve peace and provide the foundation of a new and happier world. The quotations from the speeches of the world's statesmen contained in this chapter demonstrate that these principles are known, but because of the pressure of vested interests they have constantly refused to apply them. The delegates who attended the numerous peace con­ferences following the Armistice of 1918 were bound hand arid foot by instructions to "protect national interests and prestige." These instructions turned peace conferences into war conferences. The delegates had to accept as a basis for their discussions the bitter underground struggle for world markets which made war inevitable.

Mr MacDonald, who honestly loved peace and the poor, set the pace for war by explaining that because of our isolated Position we must be strong on the seas to ensure that we got £heap food from abroad in time of war. At home our jarmers complained that they could not afford to grow food n competition with foreign markets, and the milk producers ^ade umbrella handles and buttons from their produce ecause mothers of ill-nourished and diseased children could *ot afford to buy it.

ord C u t0 ^et °^eaP f°°d from abroad, we were told, in

er ™t foreign markets would buy our industrial pro-

• We had to capture the foreign markets in order to



j °J cheap food from abroad, and, consequently, we

e da strong Navy to protect the food coming to our



shoresmtheeventofwar.

83

84 Ia PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE



America and France wanted the same freedom of the seas which the British battleship gave to Great Britain, so that their people would not starve in war-time. France refused to be starved into submission and insisted on a great sub­marine fleet. All were afraid of an unknown foe. Ger­many's navy had been sunk to the bottom of the sea, her army .disbanded, her Empire dismembered, and every con­ceivable economic measure adopted to keep her in sub­jection. No enemy could be found against whom the Allies could arm, but they left the Disarmament Conference agreed that their navies should be made stronger. E| As the countries were not prepared to make themselves as weak as disarmed Germany, Sir John Simon proposed that Germany should be made as strong as other countries. A strongly armed Germany provided all nations with an excuse to make more armaments in order to preserve peace so that their starving peoples might eat, at least when war came.

In 1921 America had demanded more battleships and France more submarines. In 1934 they all demanded more aeroplanes. Peace must be safeguarded. Finally, they all agreed to rearm to guarantee food in war-time. Britain was afraid of the French submarines, so it was suggested by Sir John Simon in his White Paper (1934) that Germany should arm to preserve the balance of power.

"The first proposition is that Germany's claim to equality of rights in the matter of armaments cannot be resisted, and ought not to be resisted. Secondly, no practical solution can be found on the basis that all nations throughout the world immediately abandon all weapons denied to Germany by the P.,' Treaty of Versailles."

Then Hitler began to build the greatest fighting machine I the world has known. He said on April 28, 1939:

"The rest of the world began to increase still further their already enormous armaments, and not until 1934, when the last of my comprehensive proposals—that concerning 300,000

■njf THE PEACE WE LOST 85

the maximum size of the army—was ultimately turned down,

ai T -vp the order for German rearmament, which was now

did 1 g1Vd Rw . „

to be very thorough. d

When the League of Nations was created as the practical xoression of a great ideal, all the nations wanted peace. When they met at the conference table they prepared for war. The reason why the world could not preserve peace in spite of its desire for peace was because the economic system forced the nations into commercial conflict.

Shortly after the Great War one of our Agricultural Sub-Committees reported:

"We hope and pray that the greater sanity of nations and their increased obedience to the Divine Law may save our country from any repetition of the hideous catastrophe which has to-day overwhelmed Europe, but we can feel no positive assurance that this will be the case, and we do not think that we should be faithful to our trust for our descendants if we omitted to take any practicable measure to increase the national safety in a future time of need.

'We can well imagine that in some future struggle the comparative dependence of the United Kingdom on a supply of food from overseas might be a determining factor of victory."

Did the Sub-Committee understand the meaning of the Divine Law ? International Finance dominated the policies of the leading Powers and forced them to break, as Mr Asquith put it, the Divine Law by "economic penetration and commercial and financial control of vitally important industries." A friendly exchange of goods and raw materials m accordance with the needs of nations would have fed the world's hungry millions and preserved peace. But starving humanity was ignored and goods were left to pile up in the storehouses and the ports of the world.

The world's economic system began to crash. But the economists and statesmen were blind to the cause. They told the United States and the Argentine that their bumper harvests threatened the world with the danger of starvation from too much food.

86 A PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE

Sir Samuel Hoare said:

"It is the fear of monopoly—of the withholding of essential colonial raw materials—that is causing the alarm. It is the desire for a guarantee that the distribution of raw materials will not be unfairly impeded that is stimulating the demand for further inquiry. ... I feel that we should be ready to take our share in an investigation in these matters."

The solution to the problem of overstocked markets was obvious, but Mr Herbert Morrison attacked Mr George Lansbury when he suggested that we should conduct our­selves like Christians by feeding the poor. Mr Lansbury asked:

"What is the cause of war? It is the need for expansion; the desire for that which other countries have—raw materials and markets. But why should these countries fight for these objectives? Why not get together and pool the resources? We Britons could give the lead and offer to other countries a share of products. There are plenty of raw materials and markets for everybody, and instead of nations preparing to fight and scramble they should sit around a table."




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