Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

New Hungarian constitution

A friend has told me about the controversy around the new Hungarian constitution, recently voted through in the Budapest parliament. There is an article about it here. Opposition has been voiced from outside the country by those who dislike its traditional stance on life and family issues, or on definitions of nationality, as discussed in this article.

I have looked briefy at the text - there is an English version here.

File:Coat of arms of Hungary.png

In addition to the defence of family life I approve of the references to the Holy Crown and to St Stephen, and to the country's historic place in Europe. The arms with the Holy Crown are enshrined in the constitution. Much of it looks fine to my mind in terms of practical governance.

What I do not like are Fundamental Articles B2 and 3 - that the country is a republic and that the people atre the source of power. This really is Constitution-Lite in that it rejects the millenium-long history of Hungarian Kingship and the institution that embodied the nation. To invoke St Stephen and the Holy Crown, and to appeal to history, but not to proceed to the obvious conclusion is to repeat the mistake of the Horthy regency. The shades of Arpad and Angevin, of Jagellonian and Corvinian as well as Habsburg Kings of Hungary must look down with sad and wondering eyes.

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