Magna Carta, signed in 1215, has been called the most influential secular document in the history of the world. It contains the famous passage:

"No free man shall be seized or imprisoned or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way nor will we proceed with force aginst him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land."

In just five years time we shall be celebrating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. How timely that the coalition government agreement charges the Ministry of Justice to conduct a review of the Human Rights Act and related matters, looking at our civil liberties in the 21st century.

Our europhobe news media present the European human rights convention as some dreadful EU imposition from Brussels.  The fact that it was a mainly British initiative drafted in the main by British lawyers with the active support of Winston Churchill is totally ignored.

As Tom McNally, leader of the Lib Dem peers in the House of Lords and Minister of State for the Ministry of Justice says in a recent article: "For some of our media, and politicians, a red mist descends when anything with the words Europe or European are included in the title."

He points out that the drafters who wrote the European Convention on Human Rights were "working in the shadow of the still vivid experience of the rule of law being trampled on by Hitler's jack-boots across mainland Europe.  Sixty years later there is no room for complacency about human rights."

He adds: "That is why I hope we can make Magna Carta the touchstone for a process of increased understanding of the importance of the principles on which the British state has been governed for nearly 800 years."