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Thursday 16 February 2012

Super Soaraway Yuman Rights

As Littlejohn is so fond of saying, sometimes “you couldn’t make it up”, and one of those times came when Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Sun decided to fight back against the increasing tide of arrests – and assertions of potentially sustained criminality at the paper – by hiring Geoffrey Robertson QC to spearhead a human rights challenge in the courts.

Yes, hacks at the paper that for so long railed against what Dicky Windbag calls “Yuman Rights” have decided to invoke their, er, Yuman Rights. On the face of it, this looks like a straightforward, and outstanding, example of rank hypocrisy. But the supposed costs of human rights legislation, and in particular the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), have not exactly been soundly reported either.

As the Sun reported last April, the source for their “Human rights law costs £9bn a year” story was one Lee Rotherham, who you can tell as he’s a doctor. What the Sun piece did not tell – although this was admitted by the Express when it picked up the story the following day – was that Rotherham is one of the assortment of non-job holders at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA).

Instead, Sun hack Rhodri Phillips lauds Rotherham as an “ECHR Expert”, which will induce hollow laughter among all who have encountered this singularly nervous and serially dishonest individual. The suitably scary looking numbers quoted by the Sun come from a TPA “report” called “Britain And The ECHR”, where Rotherham asserts that the cost to the UK of the ECHR over the years has been £42.9 billion.

Not only that, he also claims that “The UK has to date lost three quarters (331 out of 418) of the rulings that have progressed to the top Strasbourg court”. It is only later on that this is clarified to “lost the case or settled out of court”. And most of that £42.9 billion is down to the “compensation culture”, which “the Convention has played a part in developing” (allegedly – no cite).

So Rotherham has effectively told his audience to take him on trust for a cool £25 billion. It gets worse when the various cases making up the remaining £17.9 billion are examined: Rotherham says the numbers are “known or assessable costs”, but does not provide any citation for this. So we have to take him on trust for the £17.9 billion as well. Think of a number – he’s a Doctor.

This is an appalling steamer, even by the TPA’s standards, although as it’s still live on their website it has to be assumed that they are prepared to stand by it. The conclusion, though, is that the shock horror bluster from the Sun was build on sand, on what appeared authoritative but was in reality a conflation of premeditated dishonesty from someone who has previous in this area.

So it can be disregarded when the hacks are in trouble, then.

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