Petition to Brown for Magna Carta holiday

Via Gareth Young of the Campaign for an English Parliament comes this petition to Number 10 to “celebrate the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta with a national holiday in England.” This strikes me as a great idea – and not just because I fancy an extra holiday. One of the points that came out very strongly from the Convention last month is that people in this country, especially young people, often have a very poor grasp of the history that lies behind the rights and freedoms they enjoy (see especially the session on the Levellers with Quentin Skinner, Geoffrey Robertson and Melissa Lane). Partly this is thanks to a History curriculum that is dominated by the history of the 20th century, especially World War Two and the Nazis. A public holiday to mark Magna Carta would help remind us how long and hard has been the struggle for the very liberties we now stand to lose. We could even make it an annual thing.

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