"Deceived in Her Grants"
The Queen Betrayed
This Address was delivered originally to the 54th Annual Congress of the British Israel World Federation at Sheffield on 29th September, 1973, and was published in 'The National Message' at the beginning of 1974. On the evening of 27th November, 1975, Ross McWhirter was brutally shot and killed by two IRA gunmen.
THE TITLE "Deceived in Her Grants" is plainly difficult to grasp and is intended to be so, though it can be easily explained. The principle at Law is that the "Queen can do no wrong." Now, if the Crown performs an illegal act, and of course the Crown acts by advice of the Ministers, then - since the Queen can do no wrong - there is apparently a paradox or impasse to be resolved. So lawyers use the formula that the Queen has been "deceived in her grants" of the power or whatever prerogative act gave rise to the act of illegality. It is my submission, that much that has been going on in Government in recent years has been illegal in that it was contrary to the Constitution of this country. The greatest of these illegalities culminated in the ratification of the 'Act of Accession to the Treaty of Rome'. At that moment, this country lost a very substantial slice of its sovereignty and I hope to be able to show to you that this was achieved by a series of illegal acts, and that the Queen's part in it was undoubtedly an example of her being "deceived in her grants."
"No Wrong" - A Healthy Maxim
I would first of all like to make clear beyond any doubt that I entirely support the legal idea that the "Queen can do no wrong." I think it is healthy and right that the Law should be so. It is something I think which is common sense and acceptable. In our Constitution it would be impossible under any circumstances to impeach the Sovereign. And that is right, because by the Coronation Service, our Monarch is the direct representative on earth of the only power superior to her. That is the basis of the Coronation Service and the source of all political power. What has happened, of course, is that the situation has been perverted by "politicians for the time being." It is my submission that this is wrong, morally and practically and, entirely from a common-sense view, it is in fact a self-defeating policy.
Those with an eye to our past history know that we have had dark times before and have come through. It is part of the particular British genius to flourish in times of adversity. At such times, our true merit is seen, and the reason perhaps why the British Israel belief that our destiny is to lead the nations in peace is a very true statement. I am totally in harmony and in tune with that sentiment because I think a study of history and law shows simply that it is so. No nation on earth has contributed so much to the good of civilisation. It is our duty in my view, that we should continue that work because so much is needed in the face of all other forms of demonic activity in the world.
The Great Benevolence
Coming back to the point of "deceived in her grants" - I should like to take by way of illustration this whole question of the handing away of the sovereignty of this country; why it was illegal and what in technical terms could be done to correct it so that we can get on with the job which is our destiny.
After the Second World War, Europe was plainly in a highly debilitated state. It was the receiver of the greatest act of munificence in the history of the world, for which the benefactors received scant and totally inadequate praise; namely Marshall Aid, when the United States poured out its treasure in cash and in kind to put whole countries of Europe back on their feet, in a material sense. In that circumstance, the continent of Europe was obviously looking for a new form and to a degree of unity in various governmental functions. A whole series of organisations with long and rather boring initials were formed in the early 1950s. Eventually, in 1958, as a result of the Treaty of Rome, the most important of these bodies became known as the "EEC" (European Economic Community).
The point to remember is that it then involved only six nations, of which three were very small - namely, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. But there were the three large nations of France, West Germany and Italy. Thus, it was a sort of six-wheeled coach with three tiny bogeys on one side and three big wheels on the other.
"The Treaty of Rome is ... entirely alien to our Common Law traditions."
It was a pretty small section of Europe. In terms of area - if you include that part of Russia which is in Europe - I think the EEC territory is at present somewhat less than one-eighth of Europe.
How it Started
So when we talk about "going into Europe". I think we ought to have our eyes open and say we are going into a tiny part of Europe. This body started the EEC - their formal document was called the 'Treaty of Rome'. It was signed on 25th March, 1957, by six heads of state, three Monarchs and three Presidents - the Presidents of Italy, France, West Germany, and the King of the Belgians, the Queen of The Netherlands and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. The document was formulated by those nations for their own good and to suit their national aspirations. It was designed on a legal system of Roman-Dutch Law (Roman Law). Britain, however, is a Common Law nation. The Treaty of Rome is not a Common Law conception in any sense. Legally, it is entirely alien to our Common Law traditions and also to the twenty-six counties of the Republic of Ireland. It was therefore perhaps reasonable to expect that, if we were going to accede to such a Treaty, we might require certain amendments.
This fact is that in 1972 we ratified the agreement seeking accession to the Treaty of Rome without the alteration of one dot or comma. Except for the fact that the name of our nation is included in its new Preamble, the Treaty of Rome remains absolutely unaltered and does not draw anything from the constitutional experience of this country, nor does it reflect our national aspirations as an Island, a maritime, mercantile race, which has looked to the sea and to kith and kin spread to all corners of the globe: in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Canada and to many other places. People seem to forget that we still have thirty Crown Colonies. It was considered by various politicians, of both the major parties, that there would be material advantages in going into Europe. Accordingly, they decided to pursue this end by every conceivable means, without any attempt to procure the consent of the people as a whole to such a move.
Deprived of Sovereignty
It stands to reason that it should not be and indeed cannot be an easy thing to deprive an ancient and great nation of its sovereignty. It will be appreciated that part of the Treaty requires that the institutions of the Community will have pre-eminence over all national institutions. In other words, what the European Parliament decides; what the European Commission - a huge beehive of bureaucracy - decides; what the European Courts decide - all take precedence over what they refer to as our "municipal law" - our Law - which is made by our own elected representatives and is part of the contract between Sovereign and people. So you have a situation in which we have voluntarily given away our sovereignty, and at no time have the people of this country been effectively consulted on the matter. Those who take a contrary view, make a point that Parliament gave its assent in three readings to the European Community's Bill and that Parliament is composed of our elected representatives and therefore, "what am I complaining about?" I make the accusation that the so-called entry into Europe was and is illegal.
We went into Europe - the mechanics of it are interesting. In fact there were, you recall, three attempts to get into Europe and they were vetoed in effect by General de Gaulle. One attempt was under the Conservatives with Mr. Heath as the chief negotiator, flying to and from Brussels twice a week for months. It failed when de Gaulle vetoed it. The next attempt was under Labour. Both the major parties had a hand in this, but it also failed with de Gaulle's veto. The third attempt was during the time of the 1970 general election when the Wilson Government was in for its second term, having been re-elected in 1966. The general election of 1970 was in June and at that very point in time the third attempt to get into Europe was being promoted by the Wilson Government. The Heath Government (and I quote) "picked up the hand of cards." Those were the words used in the White Paper of that month, for there was an agreement - or some might say conspiracy - between the major parties to press this matter through.
The Common Market negotiations from that time went forward with considerable rapidity. With Mr. Heath, it became a point of total obsession and obstinacy that this would succeed. Negotiations were not over any words of the Treaty of Rome, as I have already indicated. They were only on the transitional entry provision. And the public was deceived - they actually thought that we were negotiating about the conditions under which we would join and the basic constitutional point of view. There was nothing in the matter of heart or spirit in those negotiations at all. In 1971, there was going to be what was called a "decision in principle" by the House of Commons. You will recall that, on 28th October, 1971, there was a majority (I think the figure was 112) in the House of Commons in favour of entry. None of this was in tune with what was said on the last occasion on which the people were given an opportunity to vote.
The commitment of the Government was "we are committed to negotiate terms of entry, no more, no less." In other words, on that occasion when there was an opportunity for people to speak on this, there was no talk of actually entering and ratifying. That came only after we had given a five-year mandate to the administration. Thus there was a basic deceit with the famous phrase "we wouldn't go into Europe except with the wholehearted consent of the people and Parliaments" (Parliaments in plural meaning the Parliaments of the other countries). This opportunity for the wholehearted consent or disapproval had not been given. It is my prediction that, when the electorate fully realise what has happened, those responsible will be punished exceedingly for cheating the British electorate on a basic, fundamental, constitutional matter. And I speak as one who in the 1960s was a Conservative Parliamentary candidate.
"Our constitutional requirements were not then met and never have been met on this matter."
We have seen the situation as it was in 1971 when Parliament gave its decision in principle. Note that Parliament passed no Law; it merely made a Resolution. Resolutions of Parliament, in fact, have no force as Law whatsoever. Parliament can resolve that the moon is pink or the sun is square - they can say anything they like: it has no effect in law, but remains a mere resolution. The only thing that makes "Law" in this country is a Bill being turned into an Act by the majority of three readings in both Houses of Parliament - a purely advisory process - and then the main factor, constitutionally, is the Assent of the Sovereign. That is the only way in which Law can be enacted. Thus, there was no legislation whatever on the issue.
A Tortuous Road
Then came what I call the "clicks of the ratchet" - the definition of a ratchet is a toothed wheel with a pawl which clicks as the wheel turns and is so designed that it may only move in one direction. The clicks in this case were, first of all, the negotiations of the terms about which we were deceived. Then came the declaration of principle by Parliament. Next came the drafting of the Treaty by the Treaties Department of the Foreign Office, which was busy on this task all hours of the day and night. It had to be in six languages. An important feature of the Treaty, which was signed on the 22nd January, 1972, was the part in the preamble which said that the Contracting Parties would assent to this Treaty "in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements." Now, when the inevitable legal argument comes (on this I am quite certain that, at worst, our relationship with Europe is going to be modified to our benefit and at best, the Treaty of the European Community's Acts will be repealed, lock, stock and barrel), the recriminations will arise and I am convinced that great importance will be attached to them. I suggest that our constitutional requirements were not then met and never have been met on this matter. I think I must make this point clearer, in order to explain why I take that view so strongly.
The next 'click' of the ratchet was the drafting of this Treaty of Accession. Before this country signs a Treaty it is necessary that signatories receive from the Queen what are called the "Full Powers" - which are in fact a document saying that this man or this woman is empowered by the Nation to sign this Treaty on behalf of the nation. That is what "Full Powers" are, and they have to be signed by the Queen. None of this has been published. The Queen delayed as long as she could, hoping presumably for an earthquake or something of that sort, and the Full Powers were in fact only signed 48 hours before Mr. Heath, Sir Alec Douglas Home and Mr. Rippon took themselves off to Brussels to sign the Treaty of Accession. And the Queen (by Royal Sign Manual) signed their Full Powers and these they presented to the parties assembled. They were examined and found to be correct, as were those of the other signatories there, which were the Republic of Ireland and the Kingdom of Denmark. That was all there was, because Norway had the good sense to have - in fact their constitution required them to have - a referendum, in which the people of Norway said "No." Thus there were three more countries to join, extending the six into the nine of 1973. Of these three new "fish", we were vastly the greatest: in fact, we were of the same size as the three big "wheels" that I have already mentioned. Ireland and Denmark are two more small wheels; so then we had four big wheels and five little wheels - a rather curious balance. And were still forming only one-seventh of the acreage of Europe. So much for "going into Europe."
Shakespeare in Prophecy
You will recall that day, 22nd January, 1972, when Mr. Heath had a bottle of ink thrown at him. It was done by somebody who had a squabble over Covent Garden, but it is that sort of incident that perhaps hinges on one's mind. It made me think back to something almost prophetic and I would like to read you eight lines: "England, bound in with the triumphant sea, whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame. With inky blot and rotten parchment bond, that England that was wont to conquer others, hath made a shameful conquest of itself. Ah, would the scandal vanish with my life, how happy then were my ensuing death." (John O'Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, in Shakespeare's Richard II).
Extraordinarily prophetic - "inky blots and rotten parchment bond," repeating itself and not being true to its destiny. So have things happened like this in the past. There is a certain amount of very learned interpretation as to what John O'Gaunt was thinking about at the time. On the 22nd January, 1972, these three gentlemen signed away something which was not theirs to give, namely the Sovereign Power of this country to determine laws with the consent of our people. They purported to hand all that away. One thousand years of Sovereignty was handed away at that moment, subject to two things, namely, the enactment by Parliament of the necessary statutes to confirm all the changes of law and the Royal Assent to that Bill, and then also the ratifications of the Treaty. So the ratchet clicked up to about two points from home, from Mr. Heath's point of view.
The Labour Party, who had given a great deal of thought of course (for they were attempting exactly the same thing until they were dismissed by the Nation in 1970), said that it would require two Acts to get us into Europe. One would be a short Constitutional Act, and the second would be a Bill of 1,000 Clauses - in other words, a massive piece of legislation so that every conceivable Act is affected (and of course practically every Act is affected by the giving away of Sovereignty) and would have to be amended. The Conservative Party Managers, or the Chief Cabinet, discussed this matter. The Law Officers and their Advisers, the top echelon of Whitehall, brought their brains to bear on this and they thought, "a Bill of 1,000 Clauses - that will keep us up all night for months and months and give endless possibilities for the destruction of our determination to succeed." So it was abandoned - there now was no Bill of 1,000 Clauses. Clearly, for them, the attractive thing was to have a little short Bill, just one Clause - "which we can whack through the House."
So there was a Bill of thirteen Clauses and a very short repeal schedule - nothing of which mattered in the least, the only repeals being things like the Film Quota Act and various Agriculture Acts. None of the basic constitutional Acts were amended or repealed at all, and that is one of the main facts of my accusation of illegality. This Act went through Parliament and, you will recall, there was a series of "cliff-hanger" Government "scrapes" the majority, mostly being in single figures. It is significant that there never was a defeat on it, because there were essential elements in the Opposition who wanted this to go through. The proof of it is, of course, the majority of 112 in the declaration of intent. The Labour Party very conveniently furnished whatever majority was necessary to defeat the element in the Conservative Party led by Enoch Powell, who was determined to resist this outrageous giving away of Sovereignty, without compensation to the people.
I am not one of those who say that, under no circumstances whatever, may this country give away its Sovereignty. Some of you may not agree with that, but I think it is theoretically possible that it could be done legally. It would be so difficult (and so it ought to be) that it would be virtually impossible to get through, but I think that theoretically it is possible that this country could legally give away its Sovereignty, provided of course that it was by the plain, clear, majority consent of the people. But it would involve a very elaborate constitutional proceeding, including an alteration of the basic constitutional contract under which we have lived since the year 1688 - "The Glorious Bloodless Revolution" when James II fled to France. And what happened was that the contract from that point on was that the people would "owe allegiance," which is a personal contract between themselves and their Sovereign. I say a "personal contract" for this reason - if you break your allegiance and commit an act of treason, you can jeopardise your personal neck on the gallows.
The idea of this allegiance in theory being an "impersonal" thing is absolute nonsense - it is duty in persona, as Lord Haw for example found out, for which he was executed for treason, in living memory. Roger Casement was another example, for those with longer memories. Everyone has an individual contract of allegiance to the Sovereign. In return, our Sovereign swears at her Coronation (not for any term of years but for her entire reign) to govern us in accordance with the laws and customs of this Realm. I submit to you that by the words, "Laws and Customs of this Realm" - those are the words which are spoken at the very moving Coronation Service which is legally required by Parliament - the Coronation Oath Act is not a figment of this imagination. It is a Statute of the Realm and it is constitutionally required that the Queen shall swear the Coronation Oath. She promises then, in return for our allegiance, that she will govern us in accordance with the laws and customs of this Realm. And these do not include laws concocted and designed by the unelected representatives of eight other countries in concert with certain gentlemen nominated by our legislature. In no stretching of the words "laws and customs of this realm" can it conceivably mean that. Therefore, if you are going to do that, you have first of all to alter the whole constitutional contract between the governed and the governors; between the Crown and the people; and between the Queen and her subjects. Contracts can only be altered by the consent of both parties. So the requirement is that the Sovereign and the electorate must agree that the contract shall be altered. The ordinary machinery for that would be a General Election, but since it would be a unique and unprecedented situation it would have been perfectly justifiable to have had a Referendum on it.
After all, it suited the Government to have a referendum in Ulster. We had a referendum in Gibraltar about joining with Spain. We have Referenda frequently held in Australia - there have, I think, been twenty-four, since the Commonwealth of Australia Act in 1901. So there are plenty of precedents for Referenda. But plainly the Contract has got to be altered by consent. Thus the first thing is that the people have got to display, by a majority, that this is their wish. The next obstacle would be the very difficult question of the Queen having even to consider going back on her Oath which she swore in the solemn Coronation Service before the representatives of the nation and before the eyes of the world. The Queen at that moment wears no jewellery, crown, diamonds or anything of that sort. She gives her oath at the High Altar of Westminster Abbey. She swears to God that she will keep that Oath. She has plainly a historical responsibility and duty there. She kisses the Bible. She signs her Oath.
"The Queen shall swear... that she will govern us in accordance with the laws and customs of this Realm."
There is no more solemn ceremony that one could conceivably have. It is arguable whether she can in fact ask Parliament to relieve her of her Oath. Let us perhaps give the benefit of the doubt and say that if the sovereign electorate wanted to relieve her of that Oath, perhaps it should be so. I think this is a weak argument in many ways because it takes no account of the effect on posterity. But presumably the counter-argument to that was that the sovereign electorate could then go the other way later if it wished to re-impose the Coronation Oath Act. The absolute minimum for that to happen would require the repeal of that Act, which is a venerable statute and in my submission much more important than the European Communities Act. This is the law,and the rule of law requires that no executive Act may be performed unless the performer can point to the due authority to do it. I therefore pled before the Court of Appeal on the 30th June, 1972, that the executive Act of the granting of the Full Powers for the signing of the Treaty - the physical act of signing the Treaty - were acts which were unlawful.
They were acts of prerogative - Royal prerogative, in which the Queen signed the Full Powers as an act or prerogative. Every executive act must satisfy the question, "is it statutory; is it a prerogative act; or is it custom?" - and custom doesn't really arise in this context at all. Custom here means it has to be provable to have occurred before the year 1189 - which in this case is rather theoretical. So it was a prerogative act - that was the justification - the legal justification. In the case against proclamations of 1611, one of our greatest of all Judges, Sir Edward Coke, in the era of the Divine Rights of Kings, stood up to James I who was King and said, "You may not rule this country by proclamations out of your head... you only have the power which the law gives you, and the only supreme power above that is the power of God." So the king is ruled by God and law. And this was the decision of 1611 and the actual words were, "The King hath no prerogative save that which the law alloweth him" - and that is the plain authority for the supposition that the Queen in 1972, could not invent a new prerogative to make Treaties which give away the Sovereignty of this country. Some argue, of course, that Treaties always give away some Sovereignty, but the fundamental distinction is that the Treaty of Rome is totally different from any other Treaty in which we have ever participated, for the reason that it gave away power to another authority to legislate on our behalf on matters unknown and unknowable, without our consent.
A Unique Treaty
That is the distinction. And no other Treaty - Locarno, Utrecht, or any other - has that particular factor. Now to embark on such an element of newness by prerogative power is plainly unconstitutional and unlawful. The second requirement of any exercise of prerogative power is that it should not be against the liberties of the people. There is excellent authority for that: it is assumed at law that the Queen will never exercise her prerogative to the detriment of the rights and liberties of the people of this country. Plainly, the Treaty of Rome is in that category. No prerogative may be exercised contrary to a statute in force. That was, in fact, the third point on which I particularly held out in the Courts because the other arguments would be regarded by Judges nowadays as being somewhat theoretical. So I stood firm - I said, "A Statute - there are at least eight statutes in force in my submission - which declares against the giving away of the Sovereignty of this country." (Because, as you know, we have no written constitution as they have in the United States of America). But the idea that we do not have any constitution at all is absolute rubbish.
The Bill of Rights
Our Constitution is spread throughout the Statute Book and it is built up by conventions as well as law. Some of those conventions are extremely powerful and strong, for the very reason that if they were broken, the Government that broke them would lose the goodwill of the people and would be booted out. And that is, I think, precisely what is going to happen very shortly. Now the particular statute on which I relied was the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is a confusing title because people think that it is a Bill, and therefore cannot be an Act, and that it is not an ordinary statute. However, The Bill of Rights is in fact a very special statute. It is better than a statute in many ways. It declares that certain things are to be "for ever". Theoretically, under the Sovereignty of Parliament, nothing is for ever, but it was a plain manifestation of what was intended by Parliament. Now it is no good making vague accusations of illegality.
I want to be thoroughly precise. I am now quoting to you from the text of the Bill of Rights which is the law of this country - it is in the power of the Government to amend or repeal the Bill of Rights. In the European Communities Act they did not mention it - they did not attempt to repeal or amend any part of it whatever - they have just ignored it - and that is, in my vocabulary, cheating - neither more, nor less. And that is what this Government is going to be punished for, although very few people know the text of the Bill of Rights (and why should they?). If they could study these sort of things in their heart of hearts they would know that the whole thing has been a patent cheat. Now, a passage in the Bill of Rights says, "...and that the entire perfect and full exercise of the regal power and government be only (i.e. exclusively) in and executed by His Majesty (at that time being William III) and his heirs at law." The present Queen is the heir at law of William III. So the declaration is that the entire, perfect and full Sovereignty of this realm shall be in the Crown or in the Monarch of the time being.
The Law as from Brussels
At this moment, the entire, perfect and full sovereignty of this country is not in the hands of the Queen, because laws can be made and edicts can be sent from Brussels, from Bonn and Strasbourg. Edicts can be made in the European Courts and we have agreed to be bound by those Edicts; made, I might say, by people who are not elected by us - people who, not surprisingly, have not got the aims and ambitions and aspirations of this nation at heart in any way. So it is in breach of a statute in force. The Bill goes on to say, "and there unto... the Lords spiritual and temporal and the Commons do, in the name of all the people aforesaid, most humbly and faithfully submit themselves (that is the Parliament of 1689 - the time of the Bill of Rights)... their heirs and posterities for ever (in other words, the heirs of the Peers and the posterities of subsequent Members of Parliament for the area of the members elected at that time)... and do faithfully promise that they will stand to maintain and defend their said Majesties (because it was William and Mary in those days)... and also the limitation and succession of the Crown herein specified and maintained, to the utmost of their power with their lives and estates against all persons whatsoever that shall attempt anything to the contrary." Attempt anything to the contrary! Now I submitted this to the Court of Appeal - that the prerogative act was patently an attempt at any "thing" - and the "thing" was the prerogative instrument - to subvert that the entire perfect and full sovereignty of this country should be vested exclusively in the Queen and none other.
"Nobody can sneer at the Act of Settlement because the very Queen that they wanted to assent to the European Act draws her authority from that Act."
The Act of Settlement
The Court of Appeal (of course, one was totally "out of tune" with the "establishment" at the time), in a most peculiar judgement, said that all that Act was doing was handing on the power of King James II to King William III, and that was their judgement. I consider it a patently unsatisfactory judgement (it shows no knowledge of history), and in fact it seemed as if their lordships did not realise there was a revolution in 1688 and the things that went on before were not the things that went on afterwards. After all, part of the Revolution of 1688 was precisely to prevent the abuse of prerogative power. I had never expected to win that action because I felt that it was not in the heart of the Judiciary at that moment to give an individual citizen the declaration that he sought: that his birthright was in fact being given away without his leave. There is another very important statute called the Act of Settlement, which in fact is the statute which gives the Queen her present authority over us. It is the root of the line: the present Queen was given her title by that Act, being a descendant of the body of the Electoress Sophia of Hannover, being referred to in the Act as the Excellent Princess Sophia; and it states that the heirs of her body be Protestant. That is what the Act of Parliament says and it is in force today. So nobody can sneer at the Act of Settlement because the very Queen that they wanted to assent to the European Act draws her authority from that Act.
The Birthright of the People
Section 3 of the Act says: "And whereas the Laws of England are the birthright of the people thereof, and all the Kings and Queens who shall ascend the throne of this Realm ought to administer the government of the same according to the said laws and all their officers and ministers ought to serve them respectively according to the same - the said Lords spiritual and temporal, and Commons, do therefore further humbly pray that all our laws and statutes of this realm for securing the established religion and rights and liberties of the people thereof, and all other laws and statutes of the same now in force, may be ratified and confirmed." That is as good a law today as it was in 1701. It is on the Statute Book; it is unrepealed - it is no accident that it is unrepealed - it is a basic constitutional requirement. To be governed by the laws of this realm is the birthright of everybody in this land, and until repealed by Parliament it remains so. So you now have a situation that the European Communities Act was eventually passed by both Houses, and Royal Assent was given. You have that Statute conflicting with the basic constitutional Statutes - the Bill of Rights, the Act of Settlement and six others. The Act of Union with Scotland provides an interesting point because Article 18 of the Treaty of Union, which was incorporated in an Act of Parliament, says that there will be no legislation in future on matters of private rights, except they be to the evident utility of the Scots.
And that is the law today as much as these other Acts. And to give you just another example: there is an Act of 1863 called "The Declaration of Clergy Act" that every minister in the Anglican Church, before he can take up his living, has to read aloud, to his congregation, the 39 Articles. Article 37 declares - the Minister declares as a condition of his incumbency, that he recognises that the Queen is the Sovereign Head of the Church and all matters spiritual and temporal (spiritual and temporal!) - and therefore the Queen is declared, by Act of Parliament, to be the supreme authority in all matters whatsoever, and accepts no foreign supremacy. There are laws in the Act of Settlement against foreign supremacy.
Our Privy Councillors have to take oaths of loyalty to the Queen. We have a situation (in 1973) that two Privy Councillors - one Conservative, one Labour - walk around with the title "Right Honourable", having taken the Privy Council Oath to give their exclusive loyalty to the Queen in a very fierce oath indeed. They have also taken the oath to the Common Market institutions that they will show no favour for their country of origin. Now those two oaths are clearly conflicting. It is highly unhealthy and dangerous that people can walk around with that sort of split loyalty. The minimum that is required is that those two gentlemen should resign their Privy Councillorship but, typical of the sort of ethos we have had in Government for the last decade, they do not. So there we have the sixth of the "ratchets". There is a detailed accusation of illegality, and also the expounding belief that it would be conceivably possible, legally, although perhaps not morally, to alter the fundamental contract. I think the legal mechanics could probably be achieved. I think morally it would be in fact impossible for somebody to retract a Coronation Oath. It might be conceivable for an incoming Sovereign, by act of abdication, to do it with less opprobrium, although I go much further. I think that we have got a destiny far more important than any of these constitutional machinations.
Now, I should just like to have a quick look to the future, because I am not a pessimist. We are members, I think, of the greatest nation on earth. We have more talent and inventive genius; we have greater ability than any people on earth. You only have to look at the lists of the names of the great. What other country on earth, in all honesty, could have matched up to our contribution to civilisation in every conceivable field, of the people of this country in our ancestry. Where is there a country with anyone with the literary genius of Shakespeare? Where have countries produced people in the field of medicine as great as Harvey and Lister? Where in the history of human struggles has there been an Admiral with the genius of Horatio Nelson - the man who had the pickings of the gaols and press-gangs? Those men wept - those hardened men wept when this little man died - a genius of the first water - a man whose power and genius at sea gave this country undisputed mastery of it for the century between 1805 and 1914. And where have you had engineers with the skill of Brunel? We have had people in any field you care to mention that transcend the undoubted contributions of the very small number of comparable men of other races.
Patently we have this same inventive genius and well of talent. What it requires, of course, is leadership. It is there, and it is up to the will of the people of this country to shake off these restricting shackles which are imposed on us, in my view, by people who have other designs - demonic designs - on the world. The British people can and will see it again - it will happen for reasons other than many of the pundits understand. And I return again to that great handrail and banister of history, which is one of the few guides that we have into the future, and I ask you to reflect on this: One of the great previous constitutional crises of this remarkable island was when, in 1649, Charles the First was murdered in Whitehall, and we went into a Commonwealth under the tyranny of an over-mighty army; the whole history of this country is a succession of overmighty subjects. The identity changes; but the marvellous thing is the way we fight the over-mighty subjects - that is the golden thread of British history.
The country was in a state of growing anger, as the country is today. There was the Puritanical repression going on - with all sorts of military abuses - forceful billeting on people, and the country was growing weary of it. There was one man who was the leader (and probably, unless you are a student of history, you will be excused for not knowing whom I am talking about). He was a man of Devon. He was oddly enough a general in Cromwell's army, having previously been a Cavalier rather than a Roundhead. This was George Monk - stationed as General in Charge of the Troops in Scotland with his headquarters at Coldstream on this Border. During the last three months - only three months - of the year 1659, remembering that the Restoration was in 1660, he received, often in the middle of the night, emissaries from all sorts of people and interests in the country: various leaders of the realm, the mercantile classes, the mayors of the various boroughs, guilds (forerunners of trade unions), other military units, the peerage, and the Church. All sorts of organisations came to this man and said, "Will you shake off the shackles?" And there was a terrific urge to speak out the truth, and nobody mentioned what the object of all this was. Nobody mentioned the words "Charles Stuart."
The Quiet Magic of General Monk
And yet the nation knew exactly what was wanted and things moved incredibly fast. Churchill writes about it brilliantly. You should look it up. I hope you have copies of the "History of the English-speaking People", that four-volume classic short history by Churchill, who said: "When patience was almost exhausted and when this quiet man knew which way the tide was flowing (and not until then) he made his move." This is very analogous to the situation of today. He marched south - he gathered a force as he went - he marched through Yorkshire on his way south. Mayors came to meet him; landed gentry came to meet him, all offering support. Thus he came to London. Parliament thought they would trick him so they gave him an order: "Pull down the gates of the city." And the trick was that if he obeyed that order he would alienate himself from the city, and if he did not obey they could say he was acting as an unlawful general, not accepting the civil power. Monk in fact did nothing. He did not pull down the gates of the city and he did not ostensibly spurn the order; he just did not receive it.
"The marvellous thing is the way we fight the over-mighty subjects - that is the golden thread of British history."
And then his arrangements were made. Charles Stuart was brought over here and General Monk received him at Dover before a crowd of 80,000 people. He came quite slowly to Canterbury, with a crowd of 150,000, and on to Blackheath, with a crowd of 200,000. The church bells were ringing, and the Restoration happened. And there will be a second Restoration in this country, because it is in the heart and will of the people of this country - the great people of this country - that this should be so.
"We are bound to further every honest and practical step which the nations of Europe may make to reduce the barriers which divide them... but we have our own dream and our own task. We are with Europe, but not of it. We are linked, but not comprised. We are interested and associated, but not absorbed. And should European statesmen address us in the words which were used of old: 'Shall I speak for thee to the King or to the Captain of the host?' We should reply with the Shunammite woman, 'Nay, Sir, for we dwell among our own people'."
Sir Winston Churchill (1938)
by A. ROSS McWHIRTER, M.A.
Source: 'Evangel Press', London