Roger begins the episode by laying out the seriousness of the legal and moral matters they are going to be discussing and how they hope it could potentially provoke a wider discussion amongst different groups in our society.
The Magna Carta is referenced in relation to the historical position of British Kings. This being that they are not able to simply do as they desire. The conversation then moves onto the English Civil War, as it is the example in British history of where the law was pitted against a King (Charles 1st) who saw himself as having a divine right to rule. Ultimately, it gave birth to the notion of a social contract whereby a ruler or government had specific responsibilities to its citizens first and foremost, which superseded the rights of those in power.
The proposition is that this was an incredibly radical idea, and one that in many ways is still seen as radical all these years later. John Locke, the philosopher, is referenced to highlight that citizens under circumstances of tyranny have the right to revolution, but he goes further than that in his writings by stating that it is a duty to rebel and bring down your government when you are no longer being protected due to the social contract being broken by them.
Roger then goes on to link this directly to the Climate and Ecological Emergency, as government inaction and negligence are risking the lives of every citizen around the world. This then leads inexorably to the question of whether citizens should fulfil their duties to their nation as John Locke articulated, as they come hand in hand with the receiving of rights.
Tim adds some depth for us on the origins of the Magna Carta before outlining how the English Civil War, the French Revolution and the US Revolution are examples of people rebelling against tyranny. In the case of the US Revolution, we see the creation of not only the US Constitution, but also the Bill of Rights, which at its heart is the belief that all people are created equal, rejecting monarchical rule.
The episode ends with Tim stating the cold hard truth that we haven’t yet realised the promise born out of these revolutions, and whilst equal rights are not granted to all, nobody's rights are safe.