July 19, 2005

The fundamentals of law in this country...

Thanks to the Whinging pomme I have been directed to this telegraph article which attempts to set out the the fundamentals of values in Britain:
"First, we believe in the rule of law, meaning the successive judgments of the common law and the statutory declarations of Parliament. Those who wish to establish Sharia law in Britain are irreconcilables.

Second, we believe in the sovereignty of the Queen in Parliament. Political legitimacy flows upwards, from the will of the people and the traditions of the constitution, not downwards, from the interpretation of the will of God. Moreover, the state has a monopoly of coercion. The use of violence by other individuals or groups, in whatever cause, is illegitimate; those who espouse insurrection or jihad are irreconcilables.

Third, we believe that the nation is the ultimate object of political loyalty. Just as we resent the pretensions of the European Union to supersede the nation state, so we resist the idea that British citizens owe a greater allegiance to the global ambitions of a religious sect; those who say so are irreconcilables.

Fourth, we believe in a secular state, which allows the free expression of a plurality of religious beliefs. One of the most difficult aspects of this debate is the fact that many Muslims do not acknowledge the difference, or accept a separation, between the secular and the spiritual spheres. Mohammed, after all, was both a religious and a temporal leader, a prophet and a politician. This is a considerable stumbling block to the assimilation of Muslims in the West. Yet many devout Muslims manage it; those who wish Britain to be an Islamic theocracy are irreconcilables."
Even as a frothing-at-the-mouth liberal strangely I can agree with pretty well all of it. I have a slight issue with point one, I personally consider the laws of parliment to be codified social taboo, which is pretty well what they say when they state in point two "from the will of the people and the traditions of the constitution".

The problem with point one in my view is that laws, as static written expressions of social taboo, can become out of date as the social taboos change over time. This means that some, the ones that society at large has progressed from, are less binding than others so an absolute ridgid compliance with the letter of the law is not always obligitory, so long as you follow the spirit that the law was ment to codeify.

Other than that, fairly minor thing, this appears a very good expression of the core values of Britain.


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