One Friday afternoon in 1911 an almost empty House of Commons passed the Official Secrets Act with less than an hour’s debate.
In 1848 in similar haste the Treason Felony Act was enacted.
Both Acts are still in force. How much in force is itself an Official Secret.
On the face of it a person advocating the peaceful abolition of the British monarchy can be sentenced to life imprisonment. But it raises the question – how many faces does British Law have?
In 2001 THE GUARDIAN sought a High Court Ruling on the 1848 law. I got this from Wikipedia –
It “sought a declaration that the Human Rights Act 1998 had altered its meaning so thatonly violent conduct was criminal. The Court held that this was a hypothetical question that did not deserve an answer, as THE GUARDIAN was not being prosecuted.
The case went to the House of Lords on appeal in 2003 . In an unanimous judgement itruled that litigation was unnecessary, but most of the judges agreed with Lord Steyn’sview that part of Section 3 of the 1848 Act which appears to criminalise the advocacy of republicanism is a relic of a bygone age and does not fit into our modern legal system. The idea that section 3 could survive under the Human Rights Act is unreal.
In 2013 the Ministry of Justice said that Section 3 of the Act….had been repealed inearly 2013 without publicity.
However the Government later stated that it was wrong and it was still on the StatuteBook.”
Whatever “Rights” British Subjects enjoy they do not enjoy under a modern legal system.
Those “Rights” are conferred on them by Acts of Parliament and the Acts can be repealed “without publicity” as their Noble Lord and Ladyships make clear. They may clap and join in the Chorus of Rule Britannia at the Last Night of the Proms, “there is a Charter” but Magna Carta has been suspended many times. They are still subject to an Act of 1848, and though unlikely to be transported to the Antipodes, remain the serf-like Prisoners of Mother England’s capricious law-makers.