Magna Carta – celebrating 800 in Malta!

Tilley and Del’s speech celebrating Magna Carta

One of the crazier things we managed to organise this year was a tea party at the British High Commissioner’s home in Malta to celebrate 800 years of Magna Carta. The event was opened by our friends Tilley and Del and here’s their ‘doyley speech’:

Magna Carta - celebrating 800 years at the High Commisioner's in Malta

It is hard to imagine that on 15th June, some 800 years ago, Kings and Queens had the monopoly on things and even wealthy Barons and Earls struggled to get a fair deal. Perhaps it feels much the same to how our so called democracy is today with David Cameron (the UK’s Prime Minister) cutting the social care and NHS funding budgets left, right and centre?!……

What was it like to be an ordinary, working class person in 1215?!

Magna Carta - celebrating 800 years at the High Commisioner's in Malta

Without a doubt, civilisation has changed beyond recognisition and yet people only wanted what they deserved, what was just for them! Like us today they wanted similar things, like the right to work and be reasonably safe doing so and if they made a mssive mistake in which they were found guilty of an offence, the right to appeals, proper sentencing, advice and reasonably humane conditions in prison. After all, people are not so different, through thousands of years they have had relationships, fallen in love, married and had their own families, worked hard…

…found ways of amusing themselves and had disagreements and voiced opinions. King John may have been a tyrant, like many monarchs throughout our history, but is he and those quarrelling Barons (who felt he was too powerful) that we owe gratitude forever – “Magna Carta” ~ the original and “Great Charter” was born!!!……

Written in Latin (referred to as “Magna Carta Libertatum” or “The Great Charter of Liberties”) on parchment paper at Runnymede near Windsor, it was first drafted by the then ‘Archbishop of Canterbury.’

Magna Carta - celebrating 800 years at the High Commisioner's in Malta

Promising the protection of church right, general exploitation and charges to Barons (dealing with finances and – criminal justice), the banning of certain abuses of privilege and most important of all, a clause still in use in the present day ~ people’s rights under what is known as the common law, this was the first time in history that a king was forced to abide by the law of the land, so yes “The Magna Carta”, whatever your beliefs was a pivotal moment but like so many documents declared throughout history, it was not without fault!…

In the first three months it was to be seen as just a stumbling block and a way of bargaining with other privileged people.

Eventually, poorer working people – the servants and such of the barons gained their influence and power over the monarchy, church and the law. Through many centuries of struggle, constant change, reigns and wars, none greater than the 1st and 2nd World Wars ~ “The Human Rights Act”, probably Britain’s most recent version, if you like of The Great Charter was conceived in 1998!

I have not and will not attempt to read all of these documents, there are many adaptations and reissues, modernisations to attempt to make things more relevant at those particular times in history. I will not bore you anymore with a history lesson or thesaurus, we are all interested I’m sure but tired too!…

Fascinating as it all is, I wish to just remind you all of the fact that any rights and freedoms, civil liberties we have today, maybe you wonder if you have any rights and independence at all, believe me when I say that I understand how you must feel let down a lot of the time but without this Act of 1998 ones issued due to the carnage of Great Wars and the 17th century was also a popular era of reform. “Magna Carta” (and all that followed since) inspired change, equality, and the common people for the common good, all to stand up, be counted and demand a better, fairer, safer life for ourselves and our future, innocent generations, AMEN!

‘Del’ and I have not always felt very free in our lives, you know free to make our own choices about such simple, typical things like when and where to go out, who to associate with, where to live or even when to shower or what we choose to eat!…As ‘Paul’ and many learning disabled adults around the world can appreciate, we can not always choose to ‘Stay Up Late!’

now I don’t know about you but I am not in to clubbing until god knows what these days, not since 18 have I done any of that!

Unless it is a “BOC” (Beautiful Octopus Club) or something and we are performing and then off to the after party of course, that is our definite exception of course. What I am meaning to say in a very long winded way is that it is about the right to have the choice, an opportunity to decide whether or not we go clubbing, shopping, visit friends/family, stay out overnight, even go on holiday, yes, push the boat out ~ at any time of the day or shock horror, night!!!…

Sometimes when you are in a care setting and the staff have far too much red tape to be helpful, it can be –

– a thin line between the care staff supporting independence and them hindering it. Today we were creating a piece of international theatrical art together to be performed tomorrow as part of ‘The Art is Festival’, ‘Open Doors Malta’, and we were inspired by several things that we saw but most notably seeing my friend ‘Wayne’ and a member of “The Stay Up Late crew” dancing closely with each other. Now ‘Maria’ is a clearly confident and talented ‘Dancer’ but ‘Wayne’ I rarely see him.

‘Del’ the piggie wait you had your turn, my owner and I, on behalf of ‘Heart N Soul’ and the UK at large, wish to express our utmost gratitude to you, the High (British) Commissioner of Malta, and all who have made it possible for us to be here with you right now, we feel truly blessed to be in such an incredibly beautiful city and marking such an awe inspiring milestone – 800 years since the original ‘Magna Carta’ was created!!!……

This VVIP – yeah Very Very Important Piggie wishes to commence “The Bunting Proceedings”, now where’s my cake?!?!…….

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