Our liberties owe nothing to 1701 act

D BALDWIN’S rapid volte-face from “King Billy brought democracy” (Evening News April 6) to “King Billy did nothing” (Evening News April 23), must have chilled the hearts of all Orangemen.

However, if only to protect your readers against more of his historical misunderstanding and religious prejudice, he should not be permitted the last say.

Our present political and religious liberties owe nothing to the Act of Settlement of 1701. Since King Billy was incapable of fathering an heir and his successor, Anne, had no surviving children, the Act confirmed in English law (the Scots were not even consulted) that the German Hanoverians would be next in line to the British throne.

Henceforth, all British monarchs had to be communicants of the Church of England. Other Protestants, including Lutherans and Calvinists, as well as Catholics and Jews, were disqualified.

Today there is growing conviction that this Act of 1701 is out-of-date, intolerant and ought to be repealed.

If democracy is defined in terms of one vote for every adult, this was not achieved for 21-year-olds until the Representation of the People Act of 1948 abolished the plural votes of some university graduates and owners of business properties.

Cambridge Street never had MPs of its own, but until then Cambridge University had two! Presumably, this is new to D Baldwin.

Sadly, D Baldwin’s ranting, like Orange marches, merely adds fuel to fires that should have been extinct a long time ago. Faced with Islamaphobia, xenophobia, racism and homophobia, surely Christians, of whatever denomination, should behave like Christians, at least to one another?

Dr Jack Binns

Chatsworth Gardens