posts ┬╗ Happy birthday!

Happy birthday!

Eight hundred years ago today, the Magna Carta was first signed by King John. It is lauded as the first ever bill of rights in the western world - a title more famously associated with the United States constitutional document of the same name. The principle freedoms enshrined in the Magna Carta that persist to the present day were twofold:

"No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed,
banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or
prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the
law of the land."

"To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or


Two years ago last week, Edward Snowden released the National Security Agency (NSA) files; the shock lives on... Just yesterday, a further furore was sparked by an article in the Sunday Times that quoted unnamed sources (it's since been withdrawn), assumedly in response to the recent publication of a report by David Anderson, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation in the UK, entitled A Question of Trust (PDF version). The debates around privacy, surveillance, civil liberties and freedom in the digital age continue.

And just today, the candidates for the Labour Party leadership contest have been finalised. Is this even noteworthy, in the contexts described thus far? The answer is yes - the linking theme, the ongoing survival of the masses and our own, unique brand of democracy. The candidates resemble the usual bunch - a group of middle-class, middle-aged and out-of-touch liberal do-gooders who's perspective on the world is deeply blinkered. But there is one difference: an older guy, by the name of Jeremy Corbyn.

Now I don't usually do this: endorse a political candidate. I'm an anarchist: I live by a moral code, not a legal one; I recognise no gods, and no masters. Respect where respect is due.

I respect Jeremy. He's been my local MP for Islington North for as long as I can remember - I'd barely started primary school when he was first elected to Parliament in June 1983. I've met him a few times. As a child, in relation to working both against fascism and for nuclear disarmament, the big issues of the day. More recently, in relation to the infowars that have sprung out across the world in the past decade or so. As some might say, he's a good egg. And I think he would do a good job of leading the United Kingdom.

So, what to do? The Guardian recently published an article on getting involved in party politics. To be leader of the country, it's first neccesary to be leader of the parliamentary party that holds a majority (or, sometimes, as we've seen in recent years, the largest minority). So why not get involved in the parties, first? As it turns out, the Labour Party seems to be the most expensive of the mainstream political parties - the party line comes at a cost. But it is possible to get a vote in the leadership contest via a cheaper route. If one belongs to an affiliated socialist society (their words, not mine) or to an affiliated trade union, you can get a free vote. Or, if not, become a registered member - it only costs (a minimum of) three quid, and as far as I can see there's no obligation to declare any other party memberships.

So, my plan for today is to register as a supporter of the Labour Party and to then vote for Jeremy Corbyn. Good luck Jeremy!

And, happy birthday civil rights!