The Sun has been ecstatic in its editorial today: it calls Michael “Oiky” Gove “a shrewd choice to be in charge of abolishing the Human Rights Act … This bonkers law puts the rights of terrorists, foreign lags and illegal immigrants on a pedestal ahead of the rights of the British people … It has to go”. But there was, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, only one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks.
But then Theresa May, who has been confirmed as continuing in her previous role as Home Secretary, is going to re-introduce her “Snoopers’ Charter”. And this is important: while the Sun, and many other Tory cheerleaders, want to crow about how wonderful this move is, the reality is that everyone has rights, and for a very good reason. Once again, I turn to Lord Bingham’s explanation, and its concluding question.
The right not to be tortured or subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The right not to be enslaved.
The right to liberty and security of the person.
The right to a fair trial.
The right not to be retrospectively penalised.
The right to respect for private and family life.
Freedom of thought,conscience and religion. Freedom of expression.
Freedom of assembly and association.
The right to marry.
The right not to be discriminated against in the enjoyment of those rights.
The right not to have our property taken away except in the public interest and with compensation.
The right of fair access to the country’s educational system.
The right to free elections.
Human rights are not, however, protected for the likes of people like me – or most of you. They are protected for the benefit above all of society’s outcasts, those who need legal protection because they have no other voice – the prisoners, the mentally ill, the gipsies, the homosexuals, the immigrants, the asylum-seekers, those who are at any time the subject of public obloquy”.
British judges are an independent lot. I really can't see them abandoning the principles of the HRA.
Here's what I don't get.
The rights that the right wing are so keen on abolishing aren't actually guaranteed by the HRA. They are guaranteed by the many and various treaties that comprise the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
The HRA simply brings the treaty into UK law but abolishing it won't affect them.
So is the government intending to withdraw from the ECHR?
IT wouldn't surprise me.
Roy.I think that going to the ECHR is expensive and time consuming. The Government may be hoping to extradite people first.
I wonder how long it will be before Gove describes the whole legal profession as The Blob?
An article in the Telegraph today (of all places) points out that the right to appeal to the European Court comes not from the HRA but our membership of the European Convention and withdrawing from that would cause huge constitutional difficulties, since
"The Acts of Parliament giving power to the Scottish Parliament, and the Welsh Assembly presuppose Britain's membership of the Convention, as does the 1998 Belfast Good Friday Agreement. If Britain left the Convention, these would have to be amended.
... that would be possible as a matter of strict law. However, under the 1998 Sewel Convention (which would apply with equal force to Northern Ireland and probably to Wales): “Westminster will not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters in Scotland without the consent of the Scottish Parliament.” In other words, withdrawing Britain from the Convention would for all practical purposes require the consent of each of the separate nations of the UK."
Good luck with that, Mike. I don't think the well paid, independent-minded legal profession will be quite as sensitive to your name calling as the teachers who cowered under the permanent state of revolution you introduced via an increasingly punitive Ofsted regime and forced academisation.
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