Dictatorship Blog: 9 November 2015

“Not a lot of people know that” … apparently Michael Caine never said it. But, from wherever it originated, it expresses ownership of the unknown. A secret, a treasure to be carried around. Someday, somewhere, a conversation will move towards that little store of information you have that is untouched by others … the Church never said Earth was flat, Battlestar Galactica’s lasers are silent in space. Oh joy, oh joy.

One of those moments struck me yesterday. Sit back and get this!!

Martial law in the UK, and presumably in Ireland where I am from, comes from common law.

Not impressed, are you?

I’ll try again.

The common law is the common and sensible way of doing things (most of the time). Whereas in France, the equivalent of martial law, the state of siege, has to be declared by a higher authority, i.e. President or Council of Ministers, in common law countries “necessity” dictates martial law.

So, get this …

You, a private citizen, could declare martial law in a necessity.

There are rules, you would need to appear before a court, and could be punished.

So it is largely academic.

But still a Caine-ish bit of knowledge (sort of).

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