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Magna Carta and the Hunt for Democracy

Loving God and loving mankind is an important part of who I am, in these hubs we explore what it's like to really follow Jesus.

Saying Hello

The stuff here is a 'bit of a rant' but they are my opinions. Even pop stars are weighing in on the debate so I thought I would.

The stuff here is a 'bit of a rant' but they are my opinions. Even pop stars are weighing in on the debate so I thought I would.

Tumultuous Times

Okay, I've got to admit it, I'm as gobsmacked as the rest of the world about the events in Britain in the last week, the British people have gone and torn up one of the most important political bodies on this Earth today, not to mention left the world's biggest single economy shattered as they took the second biggest chunk of that economy out on a path that seemingly leads to nowhere.

As a Brit who's still got a love for Britain (though not necessarily a desire to live there) I've followed avidly the events of the last week in the news and through the media just to find out what's going on there and why my fellow countrymen and women would make such a brave and bold stand.

I'm going to make it plain at the beginning that even though I haven't lived in Britain for nearly twenty years, and although as a British citizen I had the right to vote, I didn't think it morally right for me to do so. Having said that I've had a long hard think about the referendum they had (even before they held it) and came to the conclusion that I would have voted to leave, and here's a bit of the reason for why.

Who Started it All

Actually it wasn't John but the barons as he wanted to get them to pay for a war they thought pointless as it was his incompetence that caused the problems

Actually it wasn't John but the barons as he wanted to get them to pay for a war they thought pointless as it was his incompetence that caused the problems

Back to the Beginning

To really understand some of what's gone on you've actually got to go back a long time in history. Literally back to the signing of one of the most famous documents in history, the signing of the Magna Carta or as its literal translation says "The Great Charter."

The year 1215 was the last time that a person in England ruled the Kingdom without some form of Checks and balances that kept his power in check!

That's right, it kept the power of the ruling King in check, there was a limit to what the King could and couldn't do (naturally John had breached that limit and that's why there was a need for it to stop a war!)

One of the things that happened as a result of the signing of the treaty was two bodies were created that later went on to form into the Houses of Parliament, the house of Lords was to grow into the most important Law court in Britain and the House of Commons was where the people were to have their voices heard. Eventually the House of Commons would become the place that people would be able to elect others to make those laws, but if they didn't like the laws that were being made then every five years we could elect new officials who would then repeal the laws and make changes that need to be made, at least that was the idea. Didn't always work and we had a few wars in our history that happened due to the fact that various Kings and others thought they knew better, but in the end democracy always won out!

Why Leave?

Down Through the Years

Through the years Britain has always been a place where more than one person was in charge, and there was at least some degree of accountability of those in charge to those who put them there, that was built in to the systems right from the beginning and it's something we cherish and will fight to preserve. It's the bedrock of society and one of the great things that Britain has given to the world, yet it's one of the things that recent events in Europe have sought to undermine.

Let me explain

A Brief History


That's right, it was originally formed after WW2 to stop France and Germany from having a war every twenty or so years that decimated the rest of Europe (check the history books, go back as far as the middle ages and you'll find a major war in Europe every twenty or so years with France and Germany on different sides, Britain usually allying with Germany except for the last two!).

The idea was simple and a good one, bring the countries together for prosperity and economic benefit of all, get the economies working together and you'll have prosperity, or so the thought went.

But something went wrong!

Money Money Money!

1990 Rome

There was a meeting of EU leaders discussing the creation of a single European currency. One leader stands up and storms out of the meeting claiming that any country giving up it's currency also gives away it's ability to govern it's people because it's handing over it's financial responsibility to another.

Can you expect to be a good housekeeper when you don't control your own purse strings? That's what Europe was proposing!

Scroll to Continue

People will say that Britain "crashed out" of the exchange rate mechanism (the system that was put in place for helping usher in the single currency by aligning all the currencies at the start so they could do a simple replacement with the Euro) but what they don't realize is the British people never wanted in from the start (it was done behind closed doors by the government at the time) so we were glad when that happened (George Soros did us a favor)

Skip forward a few years and you see the damage that the Single currency did as Europe went into meltdown through financial mismanagement in Southern Europe that spread and engulfed the economies of some of the stronger nations of Europe and is still ongoing!

This left only a couple of nations in Europe "picking up the tab." The Biggest was Germany, followed by Britain ($15 billion US per year of which only $5 billion is spent on things Britain gets benefit from) yet we have no voice on how it's being spent!

You've heard that Scotland and Northern Ireland wanted to stay with the EU, that's because that's where the $5 billion is spent and naturally they don't want to lose that, Wales and England get nothing!

Why Now?

Truth is the last time there was a referendum on Britain being in the European Union was 1975! Two years after we joined and as the second video points out we'd been turned down twice we'd just come through a crippling miners strike that had resulted in major political changes like you're seeing now, there was no way we would be ready to leave then, and besides back then it was an economic community.

The last government in Britain to fight the European Union as the Thatcher government (they are the reason Britain's "membership subscription" was only $15 billion and not $21 billion,(she refused to pay the full amount!) and since then no government in Britain was willing to take it on.

At the last election David Cameron was facing criticism in his party from the "euro-skeptics" in his party so he gambled on promising a referendum if they got back into power. The Conservatives got in with a landslide majority and had no problem with any of the promises they'd made actually happening so a referendum was on the cards, what no one expected, not even the people voting to leave was that the leave vote would win!

What was it About?

What was Brexit about? It was about a people finding their voice again! It was about the little guy in the street in a small town who's been told by the big Banker in an office somewhere in a big city that doesn't even know the name of the town that they know best and if he wants prosperity then he or she is going to have to give up a few freedoms to have it!

It's about the man who'd being told he "Can't have the cake and eat it" saying "fine, I'll take a something else that I can eat then!"

Here's the surprising thing, since Brexit, it's come out that the reason Europe was so afraid of the result is that there are six other countries also pushing for a referendum on membership, six other countries that either want out, or want a bigger say in their future!

What Do You Think?

Okay, I've had my say, but this is something that is going to affect pretty much everyone wherever they live. Even President Obama actually tried to have a say about how Britain would vote with a bit of political blackmail (yep he did!) threatening that if Britain was to leave they'd be at the back of the queue with regard to free trade deals. The tune has changed a little since then (Trump thought it was a good thing, and I've not heard what Hillary said)

But what do you think? It's going to affect you in some way even if it's going to the store and finding things either cheaper (the pound took a nose dive) or more expensive!

Leave a comment


Denise McGill from Fresno CA on July 16, 2020:

To be honest, I don't know what to think today. Now that it's all a done deal, has it affected you much? I don't really see it affected me much. Sure the economy has taken a nose dive but that is mostly because of the pandemic a people being out of work. Thanks for all the information though. It's good to know how far back this really goes. I remember studying the Magna Carta in school. It is the basis and foundation of the US government as well... the balance of power and rights of the people, etc.



Glen Rix from UK on August 27, 2016:

Interesting link, Lawrence, - King John died in the Castle at my hometown - Newark on Trent. Visitors can visit the room where he died - a pic is on my hub.

Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on August 27, 2016:


Thanks for the visit. Glad you found the article interesting.


Norma Lawrence from California on August 27, 2016:

Very well written and interesting article. Thanks

Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on August 05, 2016:


Thank you for the visit and for your input. I think you're right about the emotional response and the way people responded.

I read a piece by Stephen Hawking recently as to why he voted 'remain' and his chief argument was because of science funding

He wrote a great article how we need to change our thinking about money in light of Brexit! He argued that to him 'money' is a means to an end where many today look at the accumulation of wealth as an end in itself

A couple of days before I'd read that the amount of children living below the poverty line in Britain has reached three million, and that's while Britain is still in the European Union!

It's been a while since I was in Britain but many of my friends still living there, and my family all say it happened because Europe wasn't listening.

Having said that I think Theresa May is probably the best person to lead at this time.

On the economic side the Bank of England has gone on record saying while the pound did drop it has rebounded and the economy overall is much stronger than they expected as countries are wanting Free trade deals' with Britain but not Eastern Europe!


Glen Rix from UK on August 05, 2016:

Hi Lawrence. I voted to stay - largely because I think the EU is a means of preserving peace in Western Europe.But I felt strongly that we should not have had a referendum, as do many of my friends. The reason is that few people (including us) had enough knowledge to make a rational decision on a very complex matter and therefore would be likely to cast their votes on the basis or emotion rather than reason. The likes of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage played on this. Boris looks shell shocked and Farage has jumped ship. What does that tell you? Farage's final speech at the EU was a national disgrace and it made me feel ashamed to be British. His words suggested that he had been conducting a personal vendetta against the European Council.

Many people voted out because they were concerned about immigration and our open borders but an example of the other side of the coin is that a friend who worked for a company that has just closed down in my home town has been transferred to Madrid - he would otherwise have been redundant with little chance of finding work.

I think that you may be misinformed if you believe that Wales and England get nothing from the budgets - Wales in particular receives quite a lot of European funding. A lot is received for scientific research.

Other people voted simply as a protest against David Cameron's government. What did they think it was it - a by-election?

Anyway, we are now stuck with it and the economy is going into a spiral of decline.

Robert Sacchi on July 27, 2016:

Thank you for giving a detailed explanation of the reason for Brexit.

Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on July 17, 2016:


I'd agree with your assessment there. Reality is that big business has so.e very effective ways of 'getting what they want' and big government that not accountable to the people isn't much better.

I think what Britain did has sent a message that they can't keep on ignoring the man and woman in the street!

Personally I'm glad it's Theresa May taken over and the way she's handled things so far. She's a lot like the previous woman PM we had and even has a similar background (Maggie was the daughter of a grocer, Theresa is a Vicars daughter!)

Glad you enjoyed this.


Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on July 17, 2016:

Thanks for the background, Lawrence. The world's finances are going to hell in a hand basket. Seems to me that unless we all unite and take the bull by the horns, every government AND the wealthy are going to take their share and to hell with the individuals.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 13, 2016:

I see your point.

Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on July 12, 2016:

The World Trade Organization. Is the one supposed to police it. Nations can choose whether they're going to obey them though! New Zealand has had a case against Australia before the WTO for about twenty years.

Neither country is too fussed about the ruling though (Australia banned the sale of New Zealand apples 90 years ago because of a bug that got eradicated 89 years ago!)

The point is with that Aussie and NZ can both choose what parts of the FT deal they're going to stick to, The EU wasn't giving Britain any choice.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 12, 2016:

You might want to take a closer look at who enforces and governs free trade treaties --

Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on July 12, 2016:


That's precisely what the English have said, sadly after Margaret Thatcher stepped down our politicians have slowly been doing that, giving power over to the European Union which isn't controlled by an elected body with the goal of forming one 'identity'

Free Trade deals are different in that nations still have sovereignty over whether they agree to the deal.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 12, 2016:

This issue seems like a no brainer to me. Cede power of democracy over to a group of other countries? Really? Wouldn't be wild if Asia or the Americas tried to pull that off? Our current bent on "free" trade deals seems to be headed in that direction. IMF is a scary governmental acting body.

Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on July 10, 2016:


I think that's the same sentiment that a lot of older 'Brits' would have!

One thing that's come out this weekend is that up to now it's been presumed that most of the younger generation didn't vote, but the latest research done by marketing companies shows that in actual fact 67% of the younger generation did vote and while most would have voted to stay a sizable chunk voted to leave.

This weekend the government has finally said that no matter how many sign the petition for a second referendum that's not going to happen and the wishes of the people will be followed.

Glad you enjoyed the hub


Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on July 09, 2016:


Thank you for your input here. All I did was write from the perspective of what I knew was going on in Britain before I left there 18 years ago and what other Brits have told me who are either still there or arrived in NZ over the last few years.

What surprised me was that Britain is still the number three place that people are coming to NZ from and ask them why and the answer you get is they a re sick and tired of the European Union, and I'm not talking your average bloke in the streets but High court Judges and top performers in their profession that Britain would need but NZ is getting the benefit of!

My prayer is that it all works out soon.


Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on July 09, 2016:


I think it was good for Britain at the time and it was good for Europe that there was an organization that was preventing Germany and France from smashing each other to pieces every twenty years or so (That was the actual original aim) but from the very start there were problems that Europe still hasn't addressed.

When Britain joined 50% of the EU budget went on 'Farm subsidies' where uneconomic farms were propped up by EU money and prices kept artificially high, at the time Britain didn't have farm subsidies (neither does New Zealand or Australia) and wanted a 'level playing field' but every time they raised the issue it got pushed to one side, English truck drivers carrying livestock got attacked and their trucks set alight by French farmers and the livestock literally burned alive, no one was ever held to account for it.

The only time this subsidy was cut was when Maggie Thatcher told the EU that Britain wasn't paying until there was a cut in the Farm subsidy budget.

Within two weeks the EU had made a 15% cut!

Today it's still at 35% and there's also a system where a farmer can claim from the EU for 'reforestation' where he lets his fields grow willow for six years and is paid by the EU for it, then at the end of the six years he can harvest the willow for pulp and it doesn't affect his EU subsidy, English farmers don't get this subsidy as most of their farms are big commercial operations. And people wonder why the English farmers want out of the EU!

Sorry I didn't reply a few days ago but I must have missed the comment.

Have a great weekend


William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on July 09, 2016:

Personally, it be okay with me if the EU fell through altogether. As for Britain, whatever they decide is whatever they decide, but I think it was a wise decision. Thanks Lawrence, for the information you provided.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on July 07, 2016:

Being a resident and not a citizen, I couldn't vote. But the rest of my family did and we wanted out. We're experiencing some disruption but it was to be expected. It's going to be a bumpy ride to stability for sure. But it will be exciting to see history in the making.

Good hub, Lawrence. Now I understand why Scotland is frantically making overtures to the EU. Didn't know that NI wanted to stay as well.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on July 04, 2016:

I don't live there, so I didn't have a vote, but I certainly would have been on the exit side, too. It was just a pity that they joined in the first place and a lot of angst over the years would have been avoided, such as when so many apple trees were chopped down and British people's livelihoods destroyed. Good write-up!

Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on July 04, 2016:


I'd pretty much agree with what you say especially about the working people being the ones who lose out. I read Boris Johnson's speech recently where he said a CEO of a company in Britain now gets a salary of around 150 times the worker just starting out!

By the way the immigration thing isn't just about those from Europe coming taking jobs, it's also about the illegal immigrants who smuggled themselves in, got caught at the border and now because of EU rules Britain can't deport them (like they used to) but gas to gice them a house and a benefit (money and whatever) until a court decides what to do with them and if the British courts deport them they can appeal to the European Court! Meanwhile a person who's worked hard for forty five years can't get a decent living allowance!

That's what the British want changing!

Sorry this was a bit of a rant.

And if that makes me sound like Donald he at least got the mood of the English right!

Hope you had a great 4th July


Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on July 03, 2016:


I don't normally go for politics, but this was different and a lot was being said in Social media so I decided to say what I think

Happy 4th July


Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on July 03, 2016:


Happy 4th July. I agree with you, when the people speak then the politicians need to act on what the people say.

I can accept that David Cameron stepped down as he doesn't believe he can wholeheartedly go along with carrying out the negotiations but the wishes of the people needs to be followed.



Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on July 03, 2016:

Don't taze me

I'm sure you're right. Maggie right at this moment is probably lecturing anyone in heaven who'll listen (and a few Angels who might not want to but have to

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on July 03, 2016:

I can completely understand why the average working Brit wanted the Brexit. The prosperity promised by these trade agreements benefits the upper 1 percent. Meanwhile, working people are faced with an influx of foreigners who drive the wage rates down. That's unpopular to say, I'll be accused of Trumpism (that's not me), but it has to be said. Obama is a proponent of these trade deals. Despite his impassioned rhetoric on defending working people, he is the friend and protector of the elite. Agree or disagree with the Brexit, both our President and Trump should stay out of British politics. None of their business.

Although tomorrow is the day we celebrate cutting our ties with mother England I say God save the Queen, long live Britain! Great hub!

Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on July 03, 2016:


Thank you for the input. It was interesting to me that a lot of the 'Remain' campaigners have been saying that it's racism that was driving the 'leave' campaign but even among the 'ethnic' minorities in the cities voted for the 'leave' campaign.

As I was watching this my wife put a comment on her computer that was from a local newscaster here in NZ who reminded us that there's a little place in the 'South Pacific' who only has four million people yet it's economy punches well above it's 'weight' and the people enjoy a good level of prosperity simply through dealing with everyone 'on a level playing field' and you don't need the membership of a 'big club' to do it!

Glad you enjoyed the hub.


Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on July 03, 2016:

Interesting perspective.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 03, 2016:

I obviously don't have a horse in this race, but if I had I would have voted to leave. Change is constant in our world....the people have spoken, demanded change, and now the rest of the world needs to adjust.

Banned cause of PISSANTS Promisem and Dean Traylor on July 03, 2016:

Funny how often principles as articulated by conservatives speak to us from the grave saying, I told you so. Margaret Thatcher opposed joining the EU for some of the same reasons that have caused Brits to become disillusioned with the EU. Sadly her position helped lead to her downfall.

Well said Hub Page Mr. Hebb!

MG Singh emge from Singapore on July 03, 2016:

Good writeup. The UK is better off out of the EU which in the years to come will either collapse or become a German enclave

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