So, was Hancock right? (!)

There really is nothing like a classic comedy sketch to highlight confusion and/or ignorance over important historical events. Such is the case with this outburst by Tony Hancock in an edition of his semi-eponymous sitcom. As the foreman of an immovable jury, seemingly mystified as to why his fellow jurors cannot agree with him about the defendant’s innocence (‘Well, he’s got such a lovely face…‘), he bellows at them: Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in …

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Magna Carta: “in England today we may do what we like, / So long as we do what we’re told.””

Good piece by Allan Massie pointing out that the Magna Carta is not the great founding document of British democracy being made out, not least because both the Tudor’s and the Stuarts found relatively easy ways to circumvent the common law it sought to restate and underwrite. He argues that its tenets never properly came into force until England, albeit temporarily, became a Republic… If Shakespeare makes no mention of the document it is because in the years of the …

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