With the Magna Carta on display at the Library of Congress for a 10-week exhibition, the United States possesses a physical reminder that its special relationship with Great Britain is grounded not just in shared history, but shared values. George Orwell captured their essence when observing "an all-important English trait: the respect for constitutionalism and legality." He characterized that respect as a "belief in 'the law' as something above the State and above the individual, something which is cruel and stupid, of course, but at any rate incorruptible."
As it turns out, the Mother Country's commitment to constitutionalism and legality are flagging, and the transformation is too broad and deep to ignore any longer.
British citizens can be held by police for 28 days without charges. Foreigners suspected of terrorism can be held indefinitely. The right to a fair trial is threatened due to the fact that Britain's spy agency is already authorized to conduct secret surveillance on defendants and their lawyers before their case is adjudicated.
Anti-terrorism laws are being turned on non-terrorists: That's clear from the fact that a British court upheld the detention of David Miranda, the partner of Glenn Greenwald, under a counterterrorism statute even though no one thinks he's a terrorist.