Democracy is 800 years old this year and I'm both disappointed and saddened that my daughter's school has done nothing yet to celebrate the birth of democracy after the momentous occasion when the Magna Carta was signed. When I asked her Headteacher if any special activities or celebrations were planned, I was informed that she would get back to me after speaking to the Humanities Teacher.  Surely a Head should know the answer?!
The Magna Carta (Latin for the Great Charter) is a constitution agreed by King John of England and has been taken as the foundational rule of law – chiefly because King John promised that he would stop throwing people in dungeons whenever he wished.
King John was apparently an evil and much disliked monarch, but then the medieval historians who chronicled his reign were said to be pretty evil too – so who knows just how horrid he really was?
Ironically, he is best remembered for an act of capitulation – in 1215, he pledged to obey ‘the law of the land’ when he placed his seal to a charter that became known as the Magna Carta.
It was dysentery that got him in the end not long after the MC was signed. It was said, “hell itself is made fouler by the presence of John”. "Well that goes without saying if he died of dysentery don’t it?" (said in my ancestor's medieval peasant voice-can't imagine our family coming from posh stock).
King John is 799 years dead. Democracy and the Magna Carta is 800 years old this year – “few men have been less mourned, few legal documents more adored”.

Looks like I shall once again be teaching our daughter about our history and the key values of our country – democracy, reverence for law and more importantly, respect and tolerance for everyone everywhere.