What is treason today?

A vital  part of the liberal internationalist  plot to destroy Britain as an independent nation is the destruction of the concept  of treason. They do this  the attempt through a tidal wave of propaganda about the joys of diversity,  the incessant reciting of mantras such as  that “we live in a globalised world” ,  the signing of treaties which embroil Britain in supra-national authority and the repeal of laws relating to treason. (see  http://www.hmg.gov.uk/epetition-responses/petition-view.aspx?epref=TreasonAmend as an example of the present government’s mentality).

A concept of treason is fundamental to every society because it sets the bounds of loyalty. Allow that there is no difference between a native of a state and a foreigner, as the liberal internationalist does in practice, and the  coherence of a society is destroyed which puts its very existence under  threat.  The article below examines what constitutes treason now. It was published in Right Now! magazine  in 2001.

What is treason today?

Robert Henderson

Treason is a famously slippery word, not least for the reason   enshrined   in  the oft-quoted  but,  because it  contains  a  savage truth,  eternally  potent   rhyme:

Treason never prospers,

What’s the reason?

For if it does

None dare call it treason.

Yet  elusive   as it is,  treason clearly  has  an  objective  reality, a reality, moreover,  whose essence is  changeless.  That   quality  is  betrayal which goes beyond the  personal. If  a  friend  betrays  you to another  friend  that  is  not   treason.  If a fellow countryman  betrays you to an occupying  power that is.

As  a legal concept,  treason  has  been redrawn during   the  past millennium.   In a dynastic context,   where the king is  king  in  executive fact as well as name,   treason   is  the betrayal   of  the  sovereign  by  a  person  who  owes   him  allegiance.  That  betrayal may be through disloyalty  or  an  attempt to harm  the person of the monarch (and generally his family). By extension,  the same applies to those to whom the  monarch’s  executive power is delegated.  Kill the King’s man and you attack the King.

But    treason   in  dynastic  circumstances    was   not   a  straightforward  matter of simply  plotting against the  king or attempting harm to the king’s person or doing the same  to his  representatives.     A great noble or courtier close  to the  king  might well lose his head through being  deemed  to  have given “evil  counsel”  to the monarch,  even though that  counsel  had been accepted and acted upon by the  king.   The “evil  counsellor”   would be blamed (and probably  executed)   to ensure that the monarch was not held to account.

The idea of “evil counsel” had an important effect in English  constitutional  development and a consequent   broadening  of   the  idea  of  treason.   Evil   counsellors  were  generally identified  not  by  the king but  by  others,  most  notably Parliament. Thus the practical application of the idea of the   evil   counsellor both reinforced the idea that  the  monarch was not a completely  independent agent  and created the idea  that any man involved in politics owed not merely his  formal  loyalty to the king (and later the people),  but also  should  take care to act and speak in a way which would not be to the disadvantage of the king and his subjects.

The  notion  of treason evolved in  Europe  because  monarchs have  rarely if ever  been able to act   indiscriminately  in   their  own interests.  Indeed,  European monarchs  have  been remarkably  unsuccessful  in creating efficient  and  lasting despotisms.  Because  of that,  their subjects   never  truly  succumbed  to  politically  debilitating ideas  such  as  the divine right  of kings.  Rather they expected of a king  duty  as well self-promotion and satisfaction.   The concept of the   unjust  prince was well developed by 1100 and  culminated  in   the doctrine of tyranicide developed by John of Salisbury  in   the 12th Century.    Here is Manegold of Lautenbach   writing      in the 11th Century:

No man can make himself emperor or king;  a  people sets  a  man over it to the end that  he  may  rule   justly,  giving to every man his  own,  aiding good men and coercing bad,  in short,  that he may  give  justice  to  all  men.  If  then  he  violates  the  agreement  according  to   which  he  was   chosen,  disturbing and confounding the very things which be was meant to put in order,  reason dictates that he    absolves    the   people  from   their   obedience,  especially  when  he has himself first  broken  the   faith which bound him and the people together.*

* Quoted by A.J.  and R.W.  Carlyle in  A history of Medieval Political  Theory in the West , Vol. III, p. 164, n. 1.

For Manegold a people’s allegiance to its ruler is a  promise support him in his lawful undertakings and is consequently void in the  case of a tyrant. In a sense, a tyrant committed  treason by dishonouring the office of monarch and its implied  and inherent obligations.

Restraints  on the monarch were given formal status by  their   coronation  oaths.  In  England,  Magna  Carta  (1215)  moved  matters  on to  another stage where a monarch was  forced  to  agree  to direct constraints on his power.   The  example  of   Magna  Carta  in turn led to the development of  the  English   Parliament,  which moved from a petitioning and tax  granting   body  in the 14th century to the point where it  practically,  if not in theory,  usurped the power of the king.

As  the  power of monarchs waned,   the emphasis of  who  was   betrayed  gradually  moved  to  the  idea  that  the   entire   population of a country was an entity in itself and  betrayal of that entity amounted to treason.   The shift from  monarch to  people  was completed  with the advent  of  the  formally  democratic state,   where,  in theory at least,  the  general   population  became  the sovereign.

Of  what  does treason consist in  the   formally  democratic  nation state?  Generally it must be the conscious decision to  act  in a way which will weaken the integrity of  the  nation  state.  Betrayal in the old manner of spying or acting for an  enemy in war is still part of that.  But the primary  treason in  the modern  formally democratic state is more  insidious.   It  is the abrogation of the sovereignty of the nation  state   by  immersement in larger political entities and through  the  signing  of  treaties  which  restrict  the  opportunity  for national self-determination.

This raises an interesting question, namely  can   an elected  politician   commit  treason if the treasonable  activity  is    part  of an election manifesto or it is put to a  referendum?   The  textbook answer would be that ultimate sovereignty in  a formal democracy lies practically and morally,  if not always  legally,  with the electorate.  An electorate which elects  a  party  or  individual  on  a manifesto  or  votes  yes  in  a  referendum   is considered to be tacitly granting the  policy   legitimacy.  However,  there are strong  objections  to  this   interpretation.

The   first   is  that  the  treasonable  activity   may   be  misrepresented by the party or politician.  A classic example of  this  is Britain’s entry into what is  now  the  European   Union   (EU).   The  British   electorate   were   undeniably  deliberately  misled  by   the  1970  Tory  manifesto    into    believing  that they were merely joining a free  trade  area.

They   were  deliberately  misled  again  during   the   1975  referendum on Britain’s continued membership.  They have been  deliberately  misled consistently in the 35 years  since  the  referendum,  being  told  by every  government  that  British  sovereignty is not being lost, when massive amounts have been  ceded.  That is treason by any meaningful definition that has  ever been used in the past.

But  what if all the sovereignty which had been ceded to  the EU  had  been  done after it was presently  honestly  to  the electorate?  Suppose every change had been the subject  of  a   referendum.  Suppose  those referendums  had  been  conducted with  absolutely fairness.  What then? Here the old  idea  of     “evil   counsellors”   has  utility.  In  the  modern  formal  democracy,  politicians play the role of  counsellors.  Where  their counsel is bad and the results of it disadvantages  the    people  to which they owe their good sense and loyalty,  then  that  might  be said to be treasonable.  Our  representatives   owe us their best judgement and courage. If they act in a way        which  is  compromised  by considerations  other  than  their  honest  judgement  and  that action  has  results  which  are   treasonable,  they are guilty of treason. Not only that,  but the  representative  must  be honest  about  the  foreseeable  consequences of what they propose.   In the  representative’s  special  position,  treason may be committed though  acts  of    omission  as  well as commission,  through not  pointing  out consequences.

What are the great particular treasons of our time?  They can be defined in terms of what causes damage to the viability of   the nation state.  In the case of Britain,  the most dramatic  formal  act  of  damaging  the nation  state  has  been   our  membership of the EU.  But that  is  only  one of a number of   serious  attacks  on  the  British  state  and  people.   The permitting of mass immigration is a profound form of treason,   for mass immigration is a form of conquest.  North America is  now dominated by the white man because of a slow accretion of  settlement not through sudden and violent conquest.   To that   treason  is  linked its sister act,  the  attempted  cultural          cleansing of the native population of Britain in general  and  the English in particular,  through the wilful denigration of   the native population of this country,  the deliberate denial  to them  of their history in our schools and the  suppression  of dissent through the power of the state, willingly assisted  by the mass media.

To  those   may  be added these  others  which  are  patently  against our interests.   Entering into treaties which  remove  freedom  of  action  from  the  country,  for example  those  governing  membership of the World Trade Organisation.    The  failure  to maintain the country’s military capacity and  the   use  of what military we have in foreign adventures in  which    Britain has no natural interest.  The   deliberate refusal to  ensure  that the  country’s economic capacity can supply  all  essential  items  in time of  emergency,  in  particular  the securing of the food supplies.   The  spending of  taxpayers’  money on  foreign peoples.  All these treasons,  and those of the preceding paragraphs, apply to a lesser or greater degree throughout the First World.

Our  own  time has  brought a new problem  of  definition  to  treason.   The  elite  ideology  of  the  moment  is  Liberal Internationalism. This   might seem to be  a direct challenge to the very idea of treason, for where neither the primacy of   the  nation nor the authority of a sovereign  is  recognised, against  whom is treason committed?  The answer is  that  for  the Liberal Internationalist, treason is any dissent from his  ideology. Treason has put  on totalitarian clothes.

Unfortunately,  the Liberal Internationalist  propaganda  has  been so successful that treason has an old fashioned ring  to  the modern Briton.  It is  mocked along with the very idea of  patriotism.  So long have the British been at peace,  so safe  does everyday life seem, so ruthlessly have the liberal elite   and  their  educational and media nomenclatura  promoted  the    idea that the time of the nation state is passed,  that  even   naturally  patriotic  Britons  find the idea  of  treason  an     uncomfortable one.

That  is a mortally dangerous because  a belief that  treason  may be committed  is vitally important if we wish to maintain   our independence.  It is so because the nation state requires  a  concept of treason  as a foundation of its integrity.   We  desperately need to understand the nature of treason and  act  upon it for our own protection.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • graham wood  On September 19, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Absolutely right on this as on most other issues Robert.
    On a connected matter – have you seen Melanie Philip’s most recent article on freedom of speech in the UK? Excellent.
    Thanks for the comment

  • Edward Spalton  On May 10, 2014 at 7:25 am

    The cleverness of the EU project was to use the power of sovereignty of the Queen in Parliament to destroy sovereignty itself . In their book Treason at Maastricht, Rodney Atkinson and Norris McWhirter demonstrated beyond a per adventure that Douglas Hurd and Francis Maude were committing treason under numerous existing Act and precedents by negotiating the Maastricht treaty which made the Queen and all of us into “citizens” – that is, subjects of the EU.

    To avoid the crime of misprision of treason – knowing of treason and failing to denounce it to the authorities – they laid evidence in the English and Scottish courts. But treason can only be prosecuted by the Crown Officers – in England usually the Attorney General – and he was the legal adviser for the government which was pursuing this joint criminal enterprise. All Privy Counsellors take a most solemn oath to uphold the sovereignty of the crown against
    all foreign powers whatever. A judge,policeman, soldier, sailor
    or airman takes an oath of obedience to the crown under law and
    can rightly be punished severely for breaking it. But the “evil
    Counsellors” in government and parliament are apparently
    immune from any penalty for their faithlessness – except that of
    being voted out of office by the people they have betrayed.

  • Rodney Atkinson  On May 10, 2014 at 9:40 am

    What a pity that you have not read the most famous treason charges laid by myself and Norris McWhirter in 1993 and the book based on it published in 1994! Treason at Maastricht – the destruction of the nation state.

    • Robert Henderson  On May 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Forgive me, but what would that have added? I was producing a general statement of the position as it is now. The law has changed since 1993. Treason no longer exists on the Statute book.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: