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The Queen's Enemies

Jolyon Jenkins meets the rebels trying to use Magna Carta to avoid paying council tax. They think the Queen is a traitor, and that all government officials are imposters.

Across Britain, thousands of people have stopped paying council tax, water rates and speeding fines. They think they have the law on their side, thanks to the 1215 Magna Carta treaty between King John and the Barons. They argue that the present Queen has breached her obligations under the treaty and so has in effect deposed herself and even become a traitor. As a result, all laws passed by parliament are invalid, the courts are shams, and government officials are imposters. Instead, they swear an oath of allegiance to a group of members of the House of Lords.

The rebels meet in a Facebook group with 13,000 members. In truth, few people join the group because of an interest in constitutional history - most arrive there because they are in a desperate financial or legal situation, feel that the system is stacked against them, and are looking for a way out. The group offers a system to deal with the authorities that - if used effectively - will supposedly get them off your back.

For nearly a year, Jolyon Jenkins followed the group's members, even signing an oath himself. But does the system work? Over the months, members of the group become increasingly frustrated at the authorities' refusal to take their arguments seriously. The frustration eventually leads to a secret plan to seize a crown building, as they believe Magna Carta entitles them to.

Presenter/Producer: Jolyon Jenkins.

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28 minutes