Sun | Jun 16, 2019

Guarding against parliamentary supremacy

Published:Tuesday | June 11, 2019 | 12:19 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Under the point of the sword, King John of England enacted the Magna Carta on 15 June, 1215, and created parliament. The principle is that everyone is subject to the law, even the king, and 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 by a pro-parliamentary group and transfer the power to parliament. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I recommend that parliamentary supremacy be put in check by having requirements to hold referendum on any matter that affects the citizens significantly.

We have made ‘parliamentarian kings’, then we are upset when they act accordingly. Election only reinforces this system, because the body of elected officials becomes a government-in-waiting. They will continue to act like they are above the law because, in practice, they are. As a mathematician, I study pattern. Never give people absolute power (like the state of emergency to fight crime), because they will never give it up. It is like good sex and lots of money – intoxicating.

BRIAN ELLIS PLUMMER

brianplummer@yahoo.com