Thursday, April 13, 2006

In praise of... Commons

No, not Creative Commons — a much older kind:

Driven by the revolutionary enthusiasm of Cromwellian England, the levellers of Wellingborough once defended their right to "sow corn upon the common". In a pamphlet published in 1650 they celebrated Commonwealth rule and the shared right to property: "God made the Earth for the use and comfort of all Mankind ... God never gave it to any sort of people, that they should have it all to themselves"…

Today, commons still cover 4% of England and 8% of Wales: anyone can walk on them (thanks to a law passed in 2000). Parliament passed the first Commons Act in 1235; it is in the middle of passing another…

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