I thought I would mark St George’s Day by providing some links about those neglected English heroes, the Levellers, who took on the ‘Scottish Raj’ of the Seventeenth Century to demand government by the people.
They were the true republicans on the Parliamentary side in the Civil War, and proposed a constitution based on an Agreement of the People. This was discussed by the soldiers of the New Model Army, along with the more conservative proposals of Cromwell and Ireton, at the famous Putney debates, which are particularly worth reading.
Their attempt to use the army to impose a more radical constitution on Parliament led them to oppose Cromwell’s invasion of Ireland, a move which led to open conflict and their defeat at Burford.
They were nevertheless among the founders of an enduring English democratic tradition. personally, I think the story of John Lilburne deserves to be made into a film like those about Michael Collins or William Wallace.