June 14, 2015
LiberTeas update: A message from Mr Speaker
Sunday 14th June, 2015
In 2015 the Houses of Parliament, along with the people of the UK, are commemorating two important anniversaries: 750 years since the Simon de Montfort parliament (1265) and 800 years since the sealing of Magna Carta (1215).
Magna Carta embodies principles which have underpinned the establishment of Parliamentary democracy, as well as the legal system, in the UK and around the world. Montfort’s parliament of 1265 has a unique resonance as it built on these principles and included representatives chosen by both the towns and shires – something that ultimately paved the way for the emergence of the House of Commons.
Parliament in the Making is a year-long programme that brings these anniversaries to life. Our ambition is to develop further awareness and understanding of the UK’s democratic heritage and, in doing so, to encourage the public to reflect on our past and to focus on our future. Through this programme we have developed a range of cultural, educational and ceremonial events and activities of which LiberTeas is one.
I am delighted that you are joining us on this unique day, when people all across the UK and in fact, around the world, are stopping to take a moment to celebrate, debate and reflect on their rights and freedoms.
It is a human trait to take things we are used to for granted. When we ponder the question of who to vote for, or how to dress, or what we say and to whom, we seldom stop and think that underpinning our ability to make freely these choices are the hard won liberties of our predecessors. Gathering together, as we are this weekend, to take tea in the name of liberty is in itself a freedom we should not take for granted.
The rights and freedoms that we are celebrating have been achieved with difficulty, often at the cost of much blood and human suffering. They are not, and never will be, perfect. Not everyone will always agree on how liberty in its ideal essence should translate into a practical realisation. However, the history of the world is a lesson that no society, even one apparently secure in its democratic rights, can afford to believe that those rights cannot be taken away, and often with greater ease than the manner in which they were won. However, as we mark the anniversary of the document which started the journey to these rights and freedoms it feels that it has never been more appropriate, however un-British it may be, to congratulate ourselves on the democracy that we have achieved over the past 800 years.
Wishing you all a very enjoyable and meaningful LiberTeas!
Rt Hon John Bercow MP
Speaker of the House of Commons