By Dark Politricks
The Tory conference has come to an end and once again the Tories (supposedly, a new enlightened and more liberal bunch) were once again attacking the Human Rights Act, claiming it was being abused, misused and that we should get rid of it as soon as possible.
At the Tory conference we had Theresa May reel out a list of reasons why we should abolish the Human Rights Act including a minority of cases in which she felt the act had been abused or misinterpreted by Judges. This included the case of a Bolivian born criminal who couldn’t be deported because he had a cat and the emotional trauma caused by the loss of the pet would breach Article 8 of the HRA (the right to family life).
Forgetting that this “fact” was total baloney the right wing media jumped all over it as a sign of “political correctness gone mad” and we heard all the usual jibber jabber that people who only obtain news from places that re-enforce their pre-determined views like to spout once they think they know something even when it’s not true.
The Tories repeatedly like to claim that what Britain needs is to leave the Human Rights Act and create it’s own Bill of Rights so that we can decide for ourselves how harshly to punish our criminals without those interfering Europeans telling us what to do.
Forgetting the fact that it would be almost impossible to remove ourselves from the European Convention of Human Rights without first leaving the EU, which depending on the Sovereign Debt crisis might happen sooner than we think. I cannot see the current government coalition even attempting to extract itself from a central plank of EU law whilst the Lib Dem’s are still the “tail wagging the dog” as many Tories like to think.
We seem to forget that the Human Rights Act is not some alien concept forced upon by us by those conniving foreigners as many Daily Mail readers seem to think but rather it was a concept devised by English Lawyers under consecutive Conservative governments and therefore it’s a totally English concept that we should be proud of.
Yes you heard that right. We devised the European Convention on Human Rights in the 1950’s to give to our war torn fellow European countries that had been ruled by dictators and illiberal regimes a set of rules, common standards and a list of basic human rights that all of us could abide by.
We don’t have a Bill of Rights that protects our basic freedoms and liberties and whilst I agree that we should have such a legally binding document. I have a sneeking feeling that any Bill of Rights that came into being would only be a watered down version that would protect nothing of value apart from enshrining the right of Parliament to do whatever the fuck it wants.
We certainly don’t want to end up in the same situation that the USA is now facing where their once great experiment in liberty and freedom has become a joke. What is the point of a Constitution and Bill of Rights when it can be ignored and circumvented whenever the rich and powerful want to do something it prohibits.
The US Bill of Rights is a beautiful document that should bind every politician to the most fundamental law of the land and it would be great to replace our ancient Bill of Rights that does nothing but limit the powers of the crown with a similar document that enshrines the supremacy of the people over government but I doubt that will ever happen.
The Tories are only dangling the carrot of our own Bill of Rights as a way to gather support for any eventual change to the Human Rights Act but until we see a draft document I won’t even attempt to hold my breath.
Politicians are like addicts. They accumulate power in the same way junkies collect diseases and we should always be wary of any politician who wants to remove any form of legal protection that we currently enjoy.
If the last Labour government taught us anything it was that our liberties are only a vote away from abolishment and our MP’s hold the right of protest, the right to assemble and the right to speak your mind in as much contempt as some hold for the current Human Rights Act.
Therefore we should be very careful when discussing any measure that might end up leaving us with less rights than we currently enjoy and that aint many!
The Human Rights Act might not be perfect and people will always play the system if the system allows for it but we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and the Human Rights Act is one of the few pieces of legislation that exists to protect us “commoners” and “subjects of the crown” from the excesses of government.
We should applaud not deride this fact and until something is created that is stronger and better in terms of protecting our precious few civil liberties we should be glad that the Human Rights Act exists.