February 5 Letters: Magna Carta’s noble authors were not proto-democrats

From: William Dixon Smith, Welland Rise, Acomb, York.

WHILE I have frequently heard politicians right and left cite Magna Carta to justify their philosophies, I have rarely heard Magna Carta quoted, as Diana Wallis asserts (The Yorkshire Post, 30 January). When it is, you may be sure the choice will be from one of two sentences from the available 60 paragraphs.

To a keen Latinist, or at least someone familiar with medieval social structure, Magna Carta may well appear “simple”. I suspect anyone who doesn’t know their scutage from their socage will find it a tough read.

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Magna Carta is not a bill of rights, but rather a contract. It aimed to reassert the power of the nobility and redefine the terms of English vassalage. It was out of time and eventually flopped. Magna Carta has a historical interest and an important legal significance, but the Barons of Runnymede were not proto-democrats.

The 17th century Parliamentarians reviewed Magna Carta, reinterpreting the submission of a refractory king as a precedent for their own arraignment of another such; so a slender association with the evolution of democracy is there.

From: Ian Oglesby, High Catton Road, Stamford Bridge, York.

YEAR after year, it was Conservative Party policy to ignore Eurosceptics and oppose a return to self-government, while going along with the EU plan to end the independent nation state.

Only the emergence of Ukip forced a “promise” of dubious value from our Europhile Prime Minister, who hoped to attract voters and push our EU problem into the distance.

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Smug politicians of all three parties knew that the system would never allow us to leave the increasingly oppressive EU. MEPs like Richard Corbett expected us to “just get on with it”.

At last there is an opportunity to have our views recognised, by voting Ukip. The Conservative hierarchy which deposed the Eurosceptic Margaret Thatcher, reducing her to tears, showed that they will stop at nothing to lock us into the EU. In May, it is important to be aware that this leopard will never change its spots.

From: Les Arnott, Athelstan Road, Sheffield.

MY goodness. I have just read the UK Independence Party’s “100 Reasons Why To Vote Ukip”.

Now I fully understand why the LibLabCon and Greens are besmirching the party to such an extent – they are literally terrified lest open-minded voters should bother to read it and find out what Ukip really stands for!