Letters — 15 June 2019
Brian Plummer on parliamentary supremacy

Dear Editor,

Under the point of the sword, King John of England enacted the Magna Carta on 15th June, 1215, and created parliament. The principle is that everyone is subject to the law, even the king, and it guarantees the rights of individuals, the right to justice and the right to a fair trial.

The problem with any rights is how you enforce them.

The effective control of government is the supremacy of parliament. In the 17th century, Edward Cook wanted to make the Magna Carta above the king and above parliament. He failed. Parliament has been able to act like a king, having parliamentary prerogative — usually corrupt without being subject to the law. Parliament can give you rights and take them away, making citizens of parliamentary democracy subjects, and not free.

The guarantee of rights was to guard against the king’s abuse of power. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupt absolutely. I recommend that parliamentary supremacy be put in check by requirements to hold a referendum on any matter that affects the citizens significantly.

We have made parliamentarians kings, then we are upset when they act accordingly. Elections only re-enforce this system, because they become a government in waiting. They will continue to act as if they are above the law because in practice, they are.

 As a mathematician, I study patterns. Never give people absolute power (like some to fight crime), because they will never give it up. It is like good sex and lots of money – very intoxicating.

Yours truly,
Brian Ellis Plummer

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