Elisabeth Beckett, who has died, intrigued us with her knowledge and mystical insights and immeasurably enriched our understanding of the British Constitution. By her example she showed what it means to fearlessly defend justice and freedom.
We spoke with her several times by phone and first wrote about her a little more than a year ago, after she had discovered that her local council’s money was being used to fund a European Union-dictated regional assembly.
To protest the expenditure of money for a foreign-mandated assembly that she understood had no standing under the British Constitution, Elisabeth refused to pay her Council taxes, and appealed the matter to the High Court.
In response the government brought all its power to bear on Elisabeth, who at the time was 83. She received numerous letters from council officers and visits from bailiffs to the Old Vicarage in Alston, Cumbria.
Elisabeth hands a response to a Police Sergeant from her wheelchair.
The mother of two daughters and two sons, Elisabeth was the daughter of Ronald Brymer Beckett, an administrator and judge in India, and Norah Anderson Beckett. In a second career, as an art historian, Ronald Beckett published a magisterial edition of the correspondence of John Constable.
Last year, Elisabeth laid charges of treason against Gordon Brown at the Newcastle Magistrates Court on the ground that the Prime Minister had forced The Queen against her Coronation Oath to agree the Lisbon Treaty (the EU Constitution).
These were exhausting trips for Elisabeth, who must have been growing weak even then from leukaemia.
At the time we were afraid that the wheels of justice would grind exceedingly slow, and so it has proved.
Elisabeth's last act, from her deathbed, was to write a letter to The Queen. We published the letter, which reflects Elisabeth's devotion to her country's freedom and her disappointment with those she felt had failed to defend Britain.
On the 7th of February, Elisabeth died peacefully.
In fighting against an unjust tax and in denouncing treason, Elisabeth was not alone, and she is not alone in history.
Elisabeth's campaign was immensely aided by Leolin Price, CBE, QC, Hedley Lester, Namaste Magazine and others, whose names we do not know, who voluntarily stepped forward to help her.
It takes a degree of courage and fortitude to resist unjust law. Elisabeth had both.
Ave atque vale.