Thursday, 11 June 2015

Growling Neil.

I've been grumbling and growling again - Robyn had to calm me down.

We went to the Magna Carta Exhibition in Egham and my growling was because the organisers seemed to be claiming that all our liberties and values came from this agreement.

Of course they didn't - these were liberties won for barons and priests (or 'free men' as the Magna Carta described them) and not for the serfs.

The serfs weren't free and they had no rights. Even worse, women (rich or poor) had no legal existence at all.

People (nearly all of them) were just property.

There was also the suggestion that the American Constitution owed it's existence to the Magna Carta when in fact it was a revolutionary constitution and if it had any parents it was English republicanism and the French revolution.

Sacré Bleu!

After I had calmed down we took a look at the new Magna Carta Mosaic;

The artist Kim Porrelli spoke to local school children about what the Magna Carta meant to them and then put their ideas into images;

It's a nice mosaic and a fine new addition to the visual arts in Egham but it's not historically accurate.

In 1381, only 166 years after the Magna Carta, Wat Tyler led The Peasant's Revolt to London. They wanted (amongst other things) an end to serfdom or slavery.
Treacherously, Tyler and the other leaders were brutally murdered during the peace negotiations.
So much for 'Peace and Justice'.
The slogan of the uprising, a piece of poetry really, was:
"When Adam delv'd and Eve span - who was then the Gentleman?"
I must stop growling.
On the other hand, as well as being a fine mosaic, it represents what the children dream of and there's nothing wrong with their aspirations.
Just a bit more fighting to do to get them.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

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