Saturday, June 20, 2015

The vastly overrated Magna Carta-Eight hundred years after it was signed, the Magna Carta is seen as the first step towards individual liberty.

Eight hundred years after it was signed, the Magna Carta is seen as the first step towards individual liberty.

Like many of the world's great documents, the Magna Carta has its flaws. The Koran has its 72 virgins, or "raisins", depending on the translation. The Bible forbids man to lie down with another man or beast, same sex or different species marriage is forbidden in a cruel, God-given word world. Australia's great Constitution demands that "intercourse between the States…shall be absolutely free" under Section 92, disallowing the taxing of bare-back bonking on the Murray River on a raft - presumably it is fine if you land on one of the banks where that state can charge you again.

Magna Carta regulated Jewish money lending on children (Clause 10) until they were double figures. Jews couldn't claim on a debtor's estate until the widow and children were provided for (Clause 11). You don't hear Geoffrey Robertson going on about these Clauses. King John of England didn't fight very hard to include the Clauses, although any document agreed at a place called Runnymede is suspicious by name, literally spilling beer, probably named after the most common site in the place.

The Magna Carta is vastly overrated in importance. Lord Denning described it as "the greatest Constitutional document of all times". Lord Denning was the hope of our side mid last century in a very grim hanging-judge world. "Take him down" was the most delightful thing judges ever said to prisoners in the dock. Magna Carta doesn't apply on the high seas near Indonesia, where our police and coast-guard officers can pay captains to turn the tide and their boats around, in cash, no receipts, no cheques, no ATM.

If these principles were applied on the great mainland, where the Baird government could pay, say, men of Middle Eastern origin not to commit crimes for a decent fee, say for $4000 per week, then we could disband the police force, stand down the commissioner and his feuding deputies, disarm the police and send them to Centrelink and our Great State will be well into surplus. There is nothing in Magna Carta to forbid it. It's an extension of John Howard's gun policy except now it's an extended amnesty to gunmen for pay. Shooting and robberies and scams would dry up. We could turn the police stations into playgrounds for the many many children of Muslim descent and free up the prisons for sheltered workshops, so desperately needed.

My learned friend, Mark, raised an interesting glitch in this scenario. He said "the police, faced with unemployment and poverty would turn to crime and with their acquired knowledge, they'd have a field day." He had a point, but I argued, the men of Middle Eastern Origin could be called back to duty, rearmed, regimented and turned onto the rebellious rogue, ex-police members. A well-armed militia would keep a bunch of hooligan cops in their places, underground if necessary. There would be occasional snipers and the odd break out, or break in, but the streets would soon be safe again from roving, abandoned cops in stolen cars, with broken front side windows, wearing stolen clothes and drunk as skunks. Amnesty, if not peace, would settle in and people would once again be able to go about their funny business. Over time it could be extended to other peoples and races.

One can but dream of a state where criminals can be paid off to stop crime. It is natural in NSW where the cops were paid off to do the reverse. It is in our blood. It's our birthright as displaced, replaced, disgraced, prisoners of the Queen, shipped halfway across the unknown world to a place once owned by Gina Rhinehart, freehold, in sacred trust for all the Aboriginals and their descendants. People will learn that crime does indeed pay, and without the hassles. No jail, no need for bail, and all the downtime one could wish. Criminals could enjoy the beaches without wearing masks or disguises, go shopping without having to avoid the CCTV cameras, use Facebook under their own names. Conjugal visits could take place nightly, at home, in your own bed. Your cars could have mag wheels and customised exhausts, without the fear of sudden arrest. Legal parking spaces would be optional and unenforceable. Cycling lanes could again be parking and cruising spots at low speed, windows wound down, eyes peeping over the door, wolf-whistling at will, while smoking weed, if you can't get a packet of cigarettes.

Other states would follow our lead, and in a century or so, Tasmania would fall into line. Australia would become a haven for the brightest criminals around the world, who had been looking like Al Pacino in the Godfather, "trying to get out but they drag you back in."

If you dare to imagine, an Australia where the world's worst criminals come to lay down their guns, give up dodging and hiding, use their talents to enjoy life to the fullest and literally turn their worthless lives around. We would be the envy of the World. Sepp Blatter would be here before he could rub his fingers together. We would have to pay non-criminals to stay away, lest they be tempted to commit crimes here, against the new way. It would be a new Brazil, like Ronnie Biggs founded in South America, living straight, breeding like a stallion with local fillies, and living large but square.

Boredom would be the only temptation but a larger, fuller budget with no police force or parking attendants to pay or pension off, we could afford luxuries for everyone. No need for security at Star City Casino, no need to have select rooms, everyone would be a high roller. The escort industry would become legal, legitimate and self-funded by layabout criminals, with money burning holes in their pockets, threatening to set them on fire unless quickly spent. We could start with criminals, then slowly and carefully pay other trades to stop working at the hectic pace that threatens our new lazy life. The monkeys can climb off our backs, life in the nature strip could be a love fest, endless competition might cease, athletes could be paid not to take performance enhancing drugs and perhaps in time, not to compete at all. We could all watch cable, streaming, as much as we want, playing all week and not just weekends. Bingeing would be a way of living, not just a way of life. We could watch all the other countries' actors working their asses off, viewing Game of Thrones in Martin Place within an hour of its launch in the still hard-working USA, and porn could be everywhere because no one is clamping down. We'd be a nation of voyeurs not voyagers, lounge lizards, not trained monkeys, lookers not seekers. We wouldn't have to lift a finger except to the remote.

State of Origin games would fade away and we could play frisbee if we wanted to exercise, if you wish, it's up to you, the individual, to choose to compete or just not commit crime. It is a small price to pay but worth its weight in the Golden Years of our times. The gift of Magna Carta would give way to the land of Magnums 24/7, chocolate or vanilla, with or without almonds. In this new country, we would be all Greeks, debtors, not creditors, living on limitless credit cards. No Euros, no Yankee dollars, just drachmas, which we wouldn't have to ever pay back. Sydney Morning Herald


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