In the Guardian last week Guy Standing called for a new charter to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta and pointed out that ‘Magna Carta enshrined a principle of British justice that recent Labour and Conservative governments have abused with impunity’. He quoted examples and concluded that ‘collective action remains the best way of renewing the march towards the great trinity of liberty, equality and solidarity’.
I wrote a letter, which wasn’t published—so here it is.
Guy Standing urges us to boo or hiss every time a government minister or spokesman lauds Magna Carta. In no field is derision more appropriate than that of land enjoyed in common by local communities—village and town greens especially. Such land is now under persistent and deliberate threat by a government that places the profit of developers before the amenities of the people.
The Open Spaces Society has been fighting such threats since its foundation just 150 years ago. In the absence of respect for the principles of Magna Carta, it looks as if we shall have to go on doing so.