Civil Liberties

Battle of Waterloo 200 years on: did Napoleon finally win?


There is a certain concomitance, in the week that we commemorated the 800th anniversary of King John setting his seal upon Magna Carta to secure certain rights and liberties for the free men of this kingdom, that we also celebrate the 200th anniversary of the defeat of Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo. On 18th June 1815, the British infantry under Wellington finally ended the imperial ambitions of a little Corsican ‘Consul for life’, whose dream had been to unite all Europe under one emperor (ie himself), and forge a constitution to codify certain collective principles of governance in his ever-expanding autocracy.

We have incrementally abrogated almost every clause of Magna Carta – which has been no bad thing for Jews and the Welsh – but only three ‘foundational liberties’ have withstood persistent incursions of parliamentary omnipotence, and even those may be seen to have been eroded. Take the preeminent Clause 39: “No free man is to be arrested, or imprisoned, or disseised, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any other way ruined, nor will we go against him or send against him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.” The contemporary political instinct has been to curtail this right: remember the The Fraud (Trials Without a Jury) Bill 2007? The current situation is helpfully explained by the Crown Prosecution Service:

Sections 44 to 50 of Part 7 of the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) 2003, came into force on 24 July 2006, and provide for non-jury trial in cases where there is danger of jury tampering or where jury tampering has taken place.

Although section 43 (non jury trials for cases of serious and complex fraud) has been repealed by section 113 Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, nothing prevents a non jury trial in such cases where the conditions in section 44 or section 46 are satisfied.

Clear? Not really. You have a right to trial by your peers except where it is deemed imprudent to allow. It is nothing new: ‘Diplock’ courts were introduced in Northern Ireland in 1973 for certain “scheduled offences” relating to terrorism. The right to trial by jury was suspended, and the court consisted of a single judge. And now we have closed courts and secret evidence – deployed where the state determines a ‘risk to national security’, or matters of child custody are decided to ‘protect privacy’, or to shield the state from ’embarrassment’. Liberty explains:

On May 28th 2012 the Government introduced Justice and Security Bill in the House of Lords. Announced in the wake of high-profile and embarrassing litigation and media investigations which revealed the UK Government’s shameful involvement in extraordinary rendition, torture and indefinite detention without trial, the Bill seeks to limit public scrutiny of the Government and our security services and public bodies and avoid further embarrassment by sweeping aside a centuries-old justice system in favour of one that is deeply flawed and unfair.

And as for no detention without trial, well, one word: Guantanamo. What kind of hell must it be to be incarcerated without charge, without access to family or lawyers, and without any indication of a release date, if it ever comes at all? And then there’s the European Arrest Warrant..

It is now possible to be extradited to another EU country, incarcerated in a foreign prison, refused an early appearance in court and required to prove that you have not committed the offence of which you stand accused (just ask Ben Herdman). The English system of Common Law has been subsumed to the Napoleonic system.

Corpus Juris brought an end to the presumption of innocence and the ancient rights of trial by jury and habeas corpus: unlike the UK, other EU countries are not obliged to charge you or bring you to court within 48 hours of arrest: indeed, you may now apparently be detained indefinitely at the foreign prince’s pleasure. When these foreign potentates demand your extradition by invoking the European Arrest Warrant, HM Government is powerless to resist.

The fundamental rights of the free men of this kingdom – enshrined in Magna Carta – have been usurped by a Napoleonic system in which the state has become the ultimate arbiter of what privileges (‘rights’) are permitted and what liberties are protected. The state has been made omnipotent and has become both judge and jury, responsible for prosecution and retribution. And anyone who presumes to oppose any of this is labeled ‘extremist’, which in turn is fast becoming justification for summary arrest and incarceration, despite the term not being defined in law. Is it really ‘extremist’ to insist that there is no salvation except through Jesus? As the Rev’d Dr Mike Ovey asks: “Is a police officer going to listen to me saying that Jesus is the only way in a Muslim part of the East End?” One man’s extremist is another man’s faithful, passionate, pious and sincere adherent.

Magna Carta has become historic artifact; our notions of liberty and justice abjured by those we have elected to sustain or traditions of law and guard our customs. 200 years ago today, Napoleon the man was defeated in the Battle of Waterloo. 200 years on – an ever-expanding European Legal Area, a European Public Prosecutor and a European Criminal Code – Napoleon the Code is supreme.

  • Busy Mum

    Benjamin Franklin…..”I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil.”

    Busy Mum…..”My blood is boiling”

    • Merchantman

      Indeed in the final analysis the price is/was blood.

  • len

    This article by His Grace sums up the whole’ European question’ nicely what could not be done by outright force has been accomplished by deception..But there is no need for deception any more because we all have fallen neatly into the trap set for us all at the creation of the EU and there is no way out .
    Those who took us into the EU and those keeping us there have consistently misled the public over the concept of the EU which is to be a ‘Federal United States of Europe’.
    Ted Heath’s White Paper circulated to every household in the country in June 1971 promised,
    “there is no question of Britain losing essential
    We are now in essence governed by a few unelected officials who decide what we should think, what we should believe, and what moral order they think we should live under.
    But….this ‘European Union’ is described in the Word of God as ‘the feet of iron mixed with clay’ the shaky alliance which will be destroyed by God himself as judgement falls upon it.. God`s people have been warned to have no part of this ungodly union…..

  • dannybhoy

    No human ever “finally” wins.
    Either man will cease to be what we up to this point in our history recognise as human, or else man will cease to exist and the cockroaches will inherit the earth..

    I think all nations or perhaps cultures have their strengths and weaknesses. They either disappear for ever, or given enough time they may experience a resurgence of vitality.
    It seems to me that Europe is settling into comfortable deterioration and we English/British! are starting to get over the traumas and self doubt caused by two world wars and the largely peaceful dissolution of Empire.
    Within our national genetic makeup remains inventiveness, originality, humour and tolerance.
    After those two world wars we were exhausted, and America became the dominant power. Unfortunately we British took on board a lot of American consumerist values. We swallowed Spock and Kinsey and fast foods and the worship of youth.
    I think we are beginning to realise that we still have a lot to give, that America doesn’t know best, and that by mending fences with our Commonwealth family we may yet find our role as an independent, economically powerful nation working with other nations to promote peace, justice and tolerance.

  • Graham Wood

    But there still remains a way out of the treacherous bog which is the European Union – and its not found in the planned referendum which will be rigged by huge vested interests, corporate business, an ideologically compliant MSM, including the lefty BBC, Europhile MPs on all sides who have only fuzzy ideas about the nature of democracy, and anti patriots and statists of all kinds. Not least – our present government.
    But it still lies with our own parliament to reverse this situation if the political will is present.
    The way to cut the Gordian knot of EU hegemony is relatively simple, but will take extraordinary courage and vision – assets in short supply within our political class.
    It is to amend the 1972 European Communities Act (gateway for all EU legislation into British domestic law) by a Bill in parliament, but not at this stage to repeal it.
    Amendment therefore means we stay in the EU, temporarily, but on OUR terms, not those of Brussels.
    Amendment returns real power to parliament to monitor all EU law which flow interminably to us in the form of regulation or directives, with freedom to accept or reject, with the national interest being the only criteria.
    That vital step would break the power of EU bureaucrats and return power to our own elected representatives who only play an obvious and very subordinate role in our own parliament at present. Voting fodder by MPs would end.
    In time the ’72 Act can be left to wither on the vine and in due course repealed altogether as being superfluous to requirements.
    No more tortured negotiations, no more humiliating supplications by cap-in-hand prime ministers for the return of powers that rightfully belong to us, no more payment of £19 Billion p.a. by British taxpayers, no more poisonous trench warfare within British politics about “Europe”, and Parliament can then get on with the job of governing the country which electors expect and voted for .

    • magnolia

      Excellent post! And maybe the Greeks will hasten the monstrosity on its way?

    • sarky

      Got a feeling the Greeks will cause the whole house off cards to fall long before we get a vote.

    • Nice idea Graham, and I hope our government does try, but like you say
      they will be too spineless to do it. Anyway, I doubt very much that
      the Germans and French would have allowed governmental amendments
      such as you are suggesting to take place of the European Communities
      Act 1972 otherwise other countries would be doing the same and the
      whole EU thing would have crumbled by now. No the Krauts wont let
      that happen, ever closer union is their mantra and I’ll bet you
      Angela will bail out Greece again. They’ll take the Greek people’s
      money and their sovereignty, they’ll be owned by the EU, it will no longer be Greece.

      • Phil R

        The Germans will bail out Greece or reach a compromise.

        They need the Greeks to weaken the Euro and keep Germany competitive.

        It is win win for Germany.

      • Graham Wood

        Marie. You say: ” I doubt very much that the Germans and French would have allowed governmental amendments such as you are suggesting to take place of the European Communities
        Act 1972.
        The truth is that they have, and cannot have, any say in the matter which is primarily one of domestic law. It is a given of the British Constitution that no parliament can bind its successors, so anything is possible.
        Of course, amendment or repeal of the ’72 Act would have huge and obvious implications – in fact, virtually leaving the EU as it would challenge all the treaties we have entered into from the Treaty of Rome, Maastricht, to Lisbon. There would be pandemonium and outrage in European capitals and not least political apoplexy in Brussels at such a step. So be it, for the price of freedom and liberty is always fraught with threat and the hate filled malice of those who wish to destroy the guardian of those freedoms, the nation state.
        It would be politically unprecedented and bound to be challenged in the European Court of Justice (a political court which is bound to always find in favour of the EU’s “ever closer union” dogma).
        No matter. It is certainly within the power of a British parliament to anticipate that by Parliament giving to our Supreme Court a status and authority ABOVE all other courts, including the ECJ, so pronouncing our law to be supreme and unassailable.
        What could the EU do about that? Precisely nothing!
        Note the judgment of Lord Denning once:
        “If the time should come when our parliament passes an Act….
        with the intention of repudiating the Treaty or any provision of it – or intentionally acting inconsistently with it – and says so in express terms – then I should have thought that it would be the duty of our courts to follow the statute of our Parliament.” End of.

  • IanCad

    I’m coming more and more to the realization that neither we British, nor the Americans give a plugged nickel about liberty and the responsibilities that go with it.
    We have to howl and kick and scream against the tide of fear and conformity that is so much part of our lives.
    Yes! Napoleon is, after all, the victor in light of the EU beast. We are the enablers through our collective characters. Snitches, spies; Silent, in keeping with our “mustn’t grumble” timidity. Cries of horror at the sight of a worm in our lettuce, HiViz everywhere. What a race of pansies we are.
    And – That wretched metric system to daily remind us of what we have lost in the beauty and genius of the Imperial scale of weights and measurement.

    • CliveM

      A little OTT don’t you think?

      • IanCad

        Clive, permit me to cite your namesake:
        “I stand astonished at my own moderation”
        Robert Clive. 1772

        • CliveM

          LOL, but remember he was a depressive who shot himself, so perhaps his judgement of what was moderate was a bit off kilter!

          • IanCad

            Let’s put it this way Clive; the liberties we have lost in the last generation is cause for alarm. If allowed to continue our lot will be one of vassalage within the decade.
            My Goodness! Who would have thought that in England, this England, we no longer risk just a punch on the nose for misspeaking, but face the very real prospect of a trip to the cells.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Within 5 years there will be some new law which means that those who preach the gospel (even just in their own church) will, like Daniel, face climbdown compromise or some modern version of a den of lions.

  • preacher

    Well it’s true that we beat Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo, & the French at Crecy & Agincourt.
    We beat the Nazi’s & the Armada & of course the Kaiser.
    Anyway I’m sure you get the drift.
    All these victories, yet we’re still ruled by a pseudo unelected bunch of bureaucrats that have achieved more by deception from the very beginning of their plot than all the armies formed & the Blood spilt.
    Surely it must be obvious by now that their is a bigger power behind the curtains, one that pulls the strings of his puppets & makes them move.
    The battle is fought in the spiritual realms, not the Earthly ones.

    One of our main advantages, & I believe it’s Divine intervention is that before we were lured at breakneck speed into the Euro, We were stopped at the 11th hour & we still retain the Pound sterling.
    Whoever holds the purse strings of a Country & rules it’s economy – holds the keys to it’s future. Ask the Greeks !
    We must firstly keep our currency (I believe it will come under pressure) & secondly, leave the EU completely.
    Even rats have the intelligence to leave a sinking ship, even if it has all the luxuries of Titanic, you can’t enjoy them when you’re dead under the Ocean.

  • Inspector General

    Much as one admires the notion of trial by jury of 12 good and true, it would be unfair to blame the situation that it no longer be universal in this country on the French. Needs must, as they say. Prosecution witnesses threatened with death if they attend court. Jurors being informed that they and their family are at risk if they fail to acquit. That’s how the Diplock courts came about.

    We speak of justice, but at what cost. When the system breaks down due to intimidation, the justice then available is what you can afford. The barons, whose bones have turned to powder, would understand. After all, they were forced to hold a sword to their king’s throat, of a manner. They knew all about the power of intimidation…

    • Phil R

      I agree

      In most of the world. If you are rich you can get justice. If you are poor……..

      In many countries 80% plus of all of those in prison have never been in front of any court

      The Manor Court system worked because the Lord generally was not subject to intimidation and pressure.

      Sadly I am far from sure that even judges are immune given the recent spate of seemingly political judgements.

      • Inspector General

        Many cases of rich men’s lads getting off motoring charges from hiring silks to represent them in court.

        • CliveM

          The ability to improve your chances of acquittal affect both trial by jury and judge. If not why would anyone pay for an expensive lawyer in Europe, when a cheap inexperienced one would be as likely to get you off?

    • CliveM

      I remember a legal course I went on, a section on EU Law, given by a German legal Professor. It was clear he didn’t understand why the UK was (in principle at least) so keen on trial by jury. He waxed quite lyrical about the benefits of the Judge deciding guilt, they were after all trained for the job and understood the legal niceties better. For a brief moment I was almost convinced.

      Then I remembered how despots like to ban trial by jury and yes sometimes the right might needs to be suspended, but ultimately it is the ‘gold’ standard and some protection against tyranny.

      • Inspector General

        It is after all a place to consider evidence, the court. So yes, one would agree our system is the gold standard, but the German fellow does have a point.

        • CliveM

          Well his argument was certainly rational and it has to be said that the implosion of various fraud trials over the years due to jury problems, give pause for thought.

      • Shadrach Fire

        If the jury is likely to be suspect then there should be at least three judges to deliver a verdict. As for closed courts, justice should be seen to be done.

    • Ivan M

      Then there are juries that will not convict one of their own kind, whatever the evidence. See O.J Simpson, who is still looking for the “real murderer”.

      Or this account of LKY’s disgust with the jury system:

  • Dominic Stockford

    The situation is now so bad that it can be seen that only intervention by the Holy Spirit can save us – which some of us know, and others can now not deny.

  • David

    The deception that has been visited upon us is appalling, and moreover it was by our own elected political leaders, starting with PM Edward Heath.
    The formerly free English, and their Celtic cousins within the UK, are fast becoming euro-serfs. The EU is fundamentally authoritarian and bureaucratic, hiding behind the merest facade of democracy.
    My response is to say two things :-
    Vote Ukip and only Ukip, at every opportunity.
    Pray to Almighty God that we will break free, and restore the primacy of The Common Law, which was roughly modelled on Biblical precepts.
    The alternative is a steep downward slope to an authoritarian nightmare.

    • Graham Wood

      David. Good post and I fully agree except that the primacy of our wonderful Common Law cannot be restored without the necessary first step in actually amending and then repealing the 1972 European Communities Act, as per my two posts below and one in answer to Marie.
      I agree too and with DS below, that our national salvation can only come about by the gracious intervention of Almighty God – and that is why we need to be continually at the throne of grace. (Luke 18: 1-8)

      • David

        Indeed yes.
        But although an optimist by nature I find it increasingly difficult not to despair at the apathy of the vast majority of our fellow country men+women towards either liberty or God. The contemporary Brit. seems to set no store by either, but merely to soak up, unthinkingly, the brainwashing that masquerades as “education” and entertainment.
        Has the nation lost its soul ? I fear so !

        • sarky

          If you think we have lost our soul you are obviously looking in the wrong places, it is most definately still there. As for apathy towards god, I think you are mistaking apathy for rejection, we have moved on.

        • Graham Wood

          I share your feelings, but more than ever we need to stick close to the Word of God which must be increasingly our only source of strength and hope. Read and meditate upon passages like Psalm 2 for example, or for a situation of seemingly total opposition which God overruled – 2 Chron. 20 .
          Cliché I know, but the torch of liberty may flicker, or even die out in this country, (which God forbid), but as long as the Gospel exists in this world it will flourish somewhere!

          • David

            Yes. I take your point wholeheartedly !
            Indeed Bible based faith is burgeoning in many continents. We must never forget that, even when we see self-worship ever-growing here, as our culture commits suicide.

    • IanCad

      Apart from the UKIP booster, a great post.

      • David

        Thank you.
        A broad church will be needed for the OUT campaign, so setting aside party preferences, shoulder to shoulder now I suggest.

  • len

    ‘Waterloo’ was just a skirmish compared to the spiritual battle going on today for the hearts and minds of men….
    Just as Satan threw everything he could to stop Jesus Christ ranging from deception to temptation then failing that influenced people to falsely accuse then murder Christ. Satan then thought he had won that particular battle.
    Then Christ arose from the grave…….
    Just as now there are tremendous forces of deception within and without the Christian Church.There are the powers of darkness intimidating and murdering Christians right across practically every corner of the globe and there are those who’ highlight ‘Christians and then try to take them down using the inverted’ moral’ code that has been endorsed by secular governments.
    We were warned by Jesus Christ that this would happen He was hated without a cause and Christians especially those who are ‘salt and light ‘ are being forced to conform (to Islam or political correctness) or to suffer the consequences.
    Of course our battle is not with those of this world but with the powers of darkness who energise this world system.

    The Word of God is not affected by intimidation or bound by Political Correctness and will penetrate every corner of this Planet and none can stop it…..

  • Martin

    Isn’t it curious how our political ‘ministers’ become masters and seek to demand access to our personal secrets. Once we were told by ministers that the EU was merely a matter of trade, once we were assured that abortion would be restricted and prosecutions would follow the breaking of the law. Funny how illegal acts by doctors are not prosecuted for to do so would be against the public interest. Funny how the EU has turned out to be a political union.

    • Phil R

      Funny that we increasingly find that there is only one view that will tolerated.

      Funny how that view seems always to be anti family, anti virtue and and anti Christian.

      Funny that we are increasingly told that we need more and more laws to “protect ” us.

  • Anton

    Renovating the Houses of Parliament is going to cost 5.7 BILLION pounds of our money?! Are they refacing it with gold or what? It’s only Victorian, I’d prefer the ruddy thing to burn down.

    • len

      I think they ought to demolish the Houses of Parliament and to erect a prefabricated building and place some plastic chairs and a few tables dotted around (after all this is a time of austerity and we are all in this thing together)
      Put the money saved into that bottomless pit which is our National debt or build some houses for those who have no house at all

      • Phil R

        If they closed the place for 5 years to renovate it.

        Would anyone notice or even care if they were there or not?

        Close the place?

      • Anton

        Austerity often actually promotes excellence. Have you seen the huts at Bletchley Park where the codebreakers worked? They agitated for more codebreaking resources but they never complained about working conditions.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Rather than select the most competitive quote for government construction works, they choose the highest because they are presumed to be the best and no one will get their but kicked if anything goes wrong.
      Just like the old days, no one got fired for buying IBM.

      • michaelkx

        ” most competitive quote for government construction works, they choose the highest ”
        you mean the company which there mates own, of cause?

      • The Elderking

        Judging by the Scottish parliament it will cost 3 times as much!!!

        Proof, if it were needed, that politicians are just a bunch of cunts!!!!

  • Shadrach Fire

    Who wants to vote for their own hangman?
    In May of this year, most of us did just that.

  • Royinsouthwest

    We need a new Act of Supremacy to state that “the EU Commission hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England.”