June heralds the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, the historical document intended to form the foundation of British freedom. It’s had mixed success and contains some pretty bonkers laws (there’s a whole section on ‘handling salmon in suspicious circumstances’) as well as giving rise to more serious and enduring legal principles like habeas corpus.
Now seems as good a time as any to discuss the future of human rights and liberty in our fair country – what’s wrong with a bit of suspicious salmon handling, anyway?
But seriously, in an era of threats to human rights law, an increase in surveillance powers, censorship of unpopular views and more, you gotta fight for your right to, well, rights. And in Clerkenwell today, for the bargain price of a fiver, you can do just that. An eclectic bunch of activists, academics, poets, politicians, musicians, journos and authors will be coming together for The Alternative Magna Carta Festival, hosting talks, debates, workshops and performances exploring the past, present and future of liberty in the UK.
Names on the bill include Zoe Williams [pictured above], Suzanne Moore, Paul Mason, Nick Cohen, Keir Starmer QC, and Bob and Roberta Smith. Buy tickets and find out more about events, timings and locations at alternativemagnacarta.org.uk.
Got a thirst for knowledge? Find out more about the Magna Carta at another one of these ace commemorative events.