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Why was Charles I executed?
By Keir Martland
I am what might be jokingly termed a ‘crypto-Anglican.’ Often, I attend some of the more ‘High Church’ services in the Church of England, principally at my College Chapel when ‘on duty’ as a Warden, alongside my regular attendance of Roman Catholic services. This is partly out of a spirit of ecumenism and partly out of an aesthetic appreciation of Choral Evensong and Anglican High Mass according to the Book of Common Prayer. Indeed, there is much to recommend this kind of Anglicanism to the aesthete. Firstly, the Church of England owns – or rather, is in possession of – all the old Catholic churches in this country, and these churches are invariably the prettiest in the country. Secondly, there is something charming, but also interesting on an academic level, about the Cranmerian English of the Prayer Book, such as in the archaic and foreign-sounding “spare thou them.” Thirdly, the Anglican choral tradition is hard to compete with, and Choral Evensong – at least, at my College Chapel – is a delight for those who enjoy early Stuart and Restoration Era “Mag & Nuncs” and anthems (the works of Orlando Gibbons and Pelham Humphrey are particular favourites of mine). It is this rich tradition that the Personal Ordinariates established by Pope Benedict XVI seek to preserve.
And yet I digress already, for it is in a spirit of ecumenism (an entirely benign effect of Vatican II) and not aestheticism that I write today. Today is the 368th anniversary of the execution of the Anglican Martyr King Charles I. 368 years ago, Charles I was executed outside the Banqueting House at Whitehall following two Civil Wars, also known as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Charles had lost both Civil Wars and had failed to reach a settlement with the Scots, Parliament, or the Army, and eventually the latter took the initiative to break the deadlock, put him on “trial” following a royalist defeat in the Second Civil War, and murdered him. But why did this happen? (more…)
How Glorious was the “Glorious Revolution”?
(Adapted from an address to the 11th meeting of the Property & Freedom Society)
By Keir Martland
I would like to begin by thanking Professor Hoppe and Dr Imre Hoppe for their generosity in inviting me to speak on 2nd September to such an august gathering as the Property and Freedom Society – and at such a young age. The topic of the speech I gave was the so-called Glorious Revolution, although it might as easily have been titled “On Politics and Religion”, so central were these two themes to my own speech. Therefore, at the beginning of this essay I cannot help but recall an anecdote told of G.K. Chesterton. The great man was offered a column by the Illustrated London News Company and he very humbly asked on what he could possibly write for them. (more…)
What is the difference between our political setup in the West and that of, say, Iran? Why, we are “democracies”! In the countries of the West, we rule ourselves, whether directly through plebiscites or indirectly through electing deputies. This, any constitutional textbook will have you believe, is what makes us in the West free, and everyone else unfree.
So what are these freedoms that we hold dear in the West? Trial by jury, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion, freedom from mutilation, habeas corpus, free markets, private property rights, limited government generally. These rights, and others as articulated by the classical liberal, conservative, and Natural Law traditions, are what make us who we are. (more…)
By Keir Martland
On 15th March 2016 the Investigatory Powers Bill was passed by 281 votes to 15 at Second Reading. Conservative backbenchers competed during the debate over who could praise the Bill the most. Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition presented no principled opposition to the new powers proposed. The Scottish National Party seemed to have a proportionally higher turnout than the Labour Party, and one or two SNP MPs made some very pithy comments. UKIP Leader Nigel Farage has not made it onto the media to denounce the Bill, if indeed that is to be the UKIP line – you can’t tell these days with UKIP – although Steven Woolfe MEP has. Undoubtedly, however, the champions of freedom from within politics at the moment are Conservative backbencher David Davis and the Liberal Democrats.
If Mrs May’s Investigatory Powers Bill, drafted 4th November last year, receives Royal Assent, then the security services and the police shall, for the first time ever, be given the explicit power to hack our telephones and our computers. The Bill also specifies that the last year of our search history is fair game for the police and security services.
IN PRAISE OF MARGARET THATCHER
Margaret Thatcher won the 1979 General Election after the vote of no confidence in Jim Callaghan’s government. Callaghan had not been particularly disastrous as Prime Minister until the winter of 1978/9, the so-called Winter of Discontent. Thatcher then proceeded to transform this country from a largely free one to a largely unfree one.
Yes, we are told that Britain was the Sick Man of Europe in the 1970s and emerged into the 1990s a prosperous and libertarian country. Yes, the scandalously high tax rates were slashed, for example the top rate of income tax was cut during Thatcher’s time in office from 83% to 60%. Yes, union power was reduced. Yes, people were allowed to buy their own council homes. Yes, we went to beat up the Argies in the Atlantic.