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Civil Liberties

The Christian deception about Conservatives and Human Rights

 

There is a lie permeating the Christian social-media detachment that the Conservative quest to repeal New Labour’s Human Rights Act amounts to an assault upon fundamental human rights; that somehow Tories are inherently opposed to limitations on the state and to the basic protections and assurances of justice and liberty which have been set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights – the ‘Human Rights Charter’ – which the UK helped to draft in the aftermath of World War II. No doubt the Church of England (or, rather, certain anti-Conservative bishops and clergy) will be vocal in their opposition to repeal, insisting (erroneously, not to say misleadingly) that the Government’s intention to replace the Human Rights Act 1998 with a British ‘Bill of Rights’ constitutes an immoral political degradation, if not a grave social evil.

Michael Gove is the new Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor. The role is not quite as it was when Sir Thomas More kept the Great Seal with “like place, pre-eminence, jurisdiction, execution of laws, and all other customs, commodities, and advantages”. But like More, Gove is a lay churchman of great intellect and integrity with a profound understanding of theology, ecclesiology, social philosophy and jurisprudence. He is tasked with implementing the necessary legislative reforms – a post-devolution constitutional quandary which will make the establishment of Free Schools look like a brisk walk in the park while nibbling a very dainty piece of cake.

Chancellor More saw the Act of Supremacy as theological heresy and lost his head over a sovereign matter of political treason. Michael Gove sees the Human Rights Act as philosophical heresy but is unlikely to lose his head by asserting that British judges ought to adjudicate on the rights and liberties of British subjects: that it is not for activist judges in foreign courts to contravene parliamentary statutes or intervene in domestic courts. If Chancellor More “heard Luther’s call to destroy the Catholic Church as a call to war”, Chancellor Gove hears Cameron’s call to repeal the Human Rights Act as a call to righteous governance, liberty and justice.

Conservatives prefer to talk about human rights in the context of individual responsibilities: it is a social contract of mutual reciprocity for the furtherance of the common good and the flourishing of civil society. What reasonable Christian could possibly object to that? The manifestation of human rights to which Conservatives are inherently opposed are not those ‘fundamental’ ones of dignity, liberty and life; but those which demand that foreigners who commit crimes may not be summarily deported because to do so would infringe their ‘right’ to a family life; that alien extremist Muslims who think Britain is “like the inside of a toilet” cannot be expelled because of some nebulous threat of torture; that foreign courts may determine that prisoners have their ‘democratic rights’ violated when they may not vote in elections; that hijackers of aeroplanes should be able to claim and be granted asylum in the UK; that an escaped criminal on a prison roof shouldn’t be entitled to Kentucky Fried Chicken to “protect his wellbeing”, courtesy of an accommodating police force.

The Human Rights Act 1998 was one of New Labour’s flagship pieces of legislation. It promised a culture of awareness of rights, but has produced nothing but a culture of absurd infractions and perpetual grievance. There are now more than a thousand human rights lawyers in the UK – mainly funded by taxpayers through Legal Aid – stoked by the Commission for Equality and Human Rights which says its task is to “opine on every law which it may not like”. This muddled and murky partnership is disposed neither toward yielding justice nor liberty.

Even Labour politicians complain about the Act’s consequences. Former Home Secretary John Reid said: “We are fighting with one arm tied behind our backs.” Quite so: the Act has clearly become a charter for traitors, terrorists and chancers. When we cannot deport criminal foreign nationals even when they are in Britain illegally, it ought to be clear that the application of human rights is open to serious and serial abuse.

Surely it is preferable for the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom to be supreme. Surely it is better for politicians to legislate and for judges to interpret and apply, and for both to be subject to the rational democratic will. Governments are elected to shoulder responsibility: they are tasked with ensuring justice and sustaining liberty in accordance with our Judæo-Christian traditions and customs of law. A framework of human rights that is both relativistically secular and detached from a foundational moral code is inevitably going to challenge Christian-based jurisprudence.

The Conservative proposal for a new British ‘Bill of Rights’ is designed to redress the imbalance. If the Human Rights Act is not repealed, this new ‘Bill of Rights’ will merely supplement it with an additional tier of rights, piling rights upon rights with no appeal to responsibilities. Notwithstanding that we already have a Bill of Rights (1689) which explains the rights of subjects and defines the limits of the power of the state, it is worth giving Michael Gove the opportunity to fashion a contemporary expression of these rights in the new context; to make the sovereign intention of Parliament clear; to constrain the influence of Strasbourg case law promulgated by activist judges. This solution must protect our liberties, respect our legal inheritance and restore the sovereignty of Parliament.

And those Christians who spread the lie that to oppose Labour’s Human Rights Act is to oppose the very notion of human rights need to consider the temporal repercussions of perpetuating grave injustice, as well as the eternal consequences of spreading such disinformation. Michael Gove may not be a man for all seasons, but he is the Queen’s good servant, if not God’s first.

  • The Explorer

    Look at all the millions it cost us getting rid of Abu Qatada.

    I believe he said all Jews should be killed, and Americans and Britains were no better than Jews.

    That preseumably meant all Brits should be killed as well? But suppose someone had taken him up on it? Who would then have paid his legal bills, or his £50 000 a year in welfare?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Logic is rarely a strong suit of anarchists.

  • john in cheshire

    I pray that Mr Gove has the strength of character and the resolve to withstand the inevitable onslaught of opposition to these long-overdue changes. I hope the Human Rights act is repealed and is quickly followed by the abolition of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

  • Dreadnaught

    One of your best Cranny.
    When human rights arguments are used to protect human rights abusers, something has to be done and done without fear of the guaranteed squeals of the Left.

  • CliveM

    This is going to be a hard fought bill. It’s by no means definite that it will get through the commons never mind the lords.

    A question though, even if the bill is passed, will the courts be able to reconsider those judgements where murderers and rapists have been allowed to stay because to deport will contravene their human rights ( ie to family life for example)? Or will we just have to live with the judgements made to date?

  • Watchman

    We have done little over the years to emphasise that we are primarily subjects of Her Majesty and not citizens of Europe. The adoption of the Napoleonic system of measurement and the decimalisation of our currency has indicated our willingness to be governed from outside ourselves. Being Conservative should indicate, by our actions, that we are a sovereign state and both capable and willing to govern ourselves. Apart from dealing with its myriad abuses the repeal of the Human Rights Act and its replacement with something quintessentially British is an important message to Europe and the rest of the world that Britain is a nation which will not truck interference in its governance.

    When we’ve done that we can get back to £sd and lbs and ounces!

    • IanCad

      There is no poetry in metric.

  • Owl

    Good article YG,
    emphasis on the restoration of British cultural values which have been trodden in the dirt since 1998 might be a better way of “selling” the idea to a dumbed down population.
    The whole issue will be reduced to an emotional knee jerk deception by our looney Left.
    An emotional reply (pride of heritage) would take a great deal of wind out of lefty sails and open the discussion (get people thinking again) to other areas of judicial insanity.
    It could get interesting!

  • Graham Wood

    Whatever Gove comes up with will be inevitably controversial because of the deep misconceptions that exist within our political class and generally as to a clear definition of “rights”.
    If recalibrating the whole rights industry (always a nice little earner as Cranny’s observation – 1000 “human rights lawyers proves!) Gove, and indeed all who attempt to clarify the “rights” jungle need to get back to fundamental principles by way of definition.
    Is there any clear and generally accepted definition of “human rights”? I suggest that there is not, and a clear distinction needs to be made between government mandated civil rights, expressed in laws, and what is deemed today to be human rights.
    Arguably there are NO human rights, only duties. What are so often and casually trotted out as a human “right” is often no more than a prejudice, or perhaps a preference.
    Actually the issue of human rights needs to be placed within the context of Christian theology and teaching where it belongs and where the concept of rights and duties first originated, long before the advent of Bills of Rights etc.
    In company with Christian apologists I accept the basic premise that without God there are no objective human rights. But that will do for the moment!

  • Orwell Ian

    The enjoyment of rights should be conditional upon fulfillment of responsibilities. Both need to be clearly defined and adjudicated by British courts. The European system of justice is alien to British legal tradition. It has trampled on us for too long and produced other iniquitous legislation like the EAW. Forcible removal to a foreign country on flimsy evidence with no right of appeal prior to extradition is manifestly unjust. They do this and still have the gall to parade themselves as champions of Human Rights.

    • Shadrach Fire

      conditional upon fulfillment of responsibilities

      I have said for a long time that if someone breaks the law, they no longer have ‘Rights’ available to them.

  • Darach Conneely

    “Conservatives prefer to talk about human rights in the context of individual responsibilities: it is a social contract of mutual reciprocity for the furtherance of the common good and the flourishing of civil society. What reasonable Christian could possibly object to that? ”
    If it means the powerful can decide the powerless aren’t living up to their side of ‘mutual reciprocity’ and use it as an excuse to deny the poor, the sick, prisoners immigrants basic human rights, then as a Christian I object very strongly.

    I think it is disgraceful that prisoners in the UK have no say in a government that claims the right to incarcerate them. Talk about ‘mutual reciprocity’. Worse, with the poorest sections of society overrepresented in prisons, these sections of society are being disenfranchised. Maybe just out of spite in the UK, but in the USA denying prisoners and former prisoners (disproportionately black) the vote is deliberate voter suppression. The question is, do you want to rehabilitate prisoners? Then treat them as human beings. Do you want to integrate them back into society? Then teach them they are still part of society in prison by giving them a vote.

    Do you seriously think the threat of torture is ‘nebulous’? Sending terrorist suspects or even convicted terrorists to countries we know use torture while pretending to have a human rights act in the UK, is pure hypocrisy. A government that is willing to torture its prisoners, or outsource its torture to other countries needs to be held to account to account by an international tribunal. That was why after WWII Winston Churchill thought all of Europe including the UK needed a European Human Rights convention.

    “Surely it is preferable for the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom to be supreme.” I am sure Mugabe would agree with you. Murderous dictatorships around the world must be delighted that the UK ‘Mother of Parliaments’ is withdrawing from its international obligation to human rights. It is not just a charter for the Conservatives to violate human rights, while cutting legal aid so only the rich can object. It is a charter for every murderous dictator or junta who like to imprison and torture political opponents or just people from the wrong tribe.

    PS. I don’t see any mention of the human rights act in the KFC article. I thought providing food was standard negotiating practice in police sieges?

    • The Explorer

      Murderous dictatorships would not be pleased at the prospect of a UK withdrawal. They might get back some of the troublesome citizens they’ve exported to us.

      • Pubcrawler

        Quite. It’s not a right denied; it’s a right forfeited.

      • Darach Conneely

        The reason for my wording is that, as you point out, the government is operating on behalf of the whole society, a society Lee Rigby’s murderers were part of and could vote in, choosing the government that sentenced them. Forfeiting the vote was never a traditional part of the sentence passed down in British courts, people forfeited their freedom, and couldn’t get home to vote. Now we have postal votes so this isn’t an issue. If you think committing a crime means you forfeit your human rights, why not call for the reintroduction of torture, or hanging while you are at it?

        But most people in prison aren’t murderers serving life sentences. Most will be released back into society. Do we want to seen them rehabilitate and reintegrated into society. Letting them vote tells them we still value them as human being and part of society. Or are we just driven by a desire to crush their human dignity in every way we can?

        “Otherwise, you might vote for your own release.”

        Wouldn’t you need a lot of people outside the prison system voting for prisoners to be released too? The only sort of society I can imagine where this is likely to happen is one where most of the prisoners are political prisoners, and the government is staying power by keeping large number of opponent locked up. That sound more like an argument for prisoners having the vote.

        • CliveM

          It is clear why the left like the HR Act, because it enables it to achieve aims it would otherwise be unable to obtain through the democratic process.

          Whatever the origins of it, the loss of the right to vote is a reasonable penalty. It is only for the period of the imprisonment, so is only temporary.

          Actually I think it perfectly legitimate for society to say for a period, your opinion and wishes are worthless, your behaviour denies you these rights.

          • Darach Conneely

            Don’t you think imprisoning people says very clearly that their behaviour was wrong? What good does it do to deny them the vote? How do you think it will improve their rehabilitation? What makes you think dehumanising prisoners is better are turning them into responsible members of society than treating with humanity and respect?

            If you think so little of our democratic right to vote that it makes a handy punishment to humiliate with, why limit it to prisoners? If it is perfectly legitimate for society to remove it for a period, why not remove it completely, and apply it to ex prisoners like they do in the US? There is no limit to who the right wing could decide it is perfectly legitimate to disenfranchise if they set their mind to it. What about people with Council tax arrears? Or those who march in protests? Our forefathers (and mothers) fought hard for the right vote, we should be very careful before we start deciding it is alright to deny it to some parts of society.

          • CliveM

            Well some of those proposals may be worth considering.

            Why does it humiliate? You are being over dramatic about it. They have been isolated from society for societies sake and their punishment. We are not expecting them to, say sit on a jury, so why should they have the right to vote.

          • Darach Conneely

            You realise by saying some of the proposals might be worth considering, you are demonstrating my point that wanting to deny prisoners the vote shows a disrespect for democracy and everyone having the vote, universal suffrage. It is not surprising them that the Right in the USA practices voter suppression.

            ‘Humiliate’ is looking more at the desire to deny the vote to prisoners, than the effect on prisoner, most of whom couldn’t care less. The question you haven’t answered is whether dehumanising and excluding prisoners is better at rehabilitating them and turning them into responsible members of society than treating with humanity and respect as people who are still part of our society?

          • CliveM

            Well excluding is part of imprisonment. It’s a strange argument. You have stated that imprisonment is required, how do you do that without excluding? They inevitably go hand in hand.

            Rehabilitation doesn’t require the vote. So the two aren’t linked. If a person is not worthy of liberty, then they are not worthy in having a say in how the rest of us live ,

            The right to vote isn’t universal. Under 18’s aren’t allowed to. Most non citizens aren’t allowed to.

            As I’ve said the removal is temporary.

            If it helps their damaged ego’s let the remember the Queen doesn’t vote.

          • Darach Conneely

            You could send them to Devil’s Island or the equivalent, and cut them off from any contact with family. Apparently a prisoner’s right to family life is a bugbear for people wanting to get rid of Human Rights. Instead it is their liberty that is taken away, not their contact with society. it is not a question of the vote being required for rehabilitation, but whether it is beneficial and if it is beneficial why people would want to exclude it.

            Your 18 argument doesn’t hold water because everyone shares the same privilege of being able to vote when they reach 18. Taking away people’s right to vote, whatever the excuse is not a power I want any government tot have.

          • CliveM

            You’ve no evidence that it is. You are simply asserting an opinion.

          • Darach Conneely

            What in particular do you claim I am simply asserting?

          • CliveM

            Your claim that it would be beneficial to give prisoners the vote. You have no evidence for it.

            In addition no govt is taking away these rights!! Prisoners never had them and no one is being threatened with it.

            Scare mongering pure and simple.

          • Darach Conneely

            I think it is pretty self evident that teaching prisoners they are part of society and to participate as member of society is beneficial for their rehabilitation. A better question is do you have any evidence it isn’t beneficial?

            Universal suffrage didn’t exclude prisoners, they weren’t able to vote because they couldn’t go home, with postal voting that is no longer an issue.

            Scaremongering? From the person who just played the rape and murder card? Well, just look at how the American Right practise voter suppression every chance they get. I think if people value the right to vote we should protect it against any erosion, and any possibility of present or future governments taking our right to vote away.

          • CliveM

            So you have zero evidence?

            Rape and murder card. Are you saying there are no immigrants avoiding deportation using article 8?

            America blah, blah. Irrelevant.

          • Darach Conneely

            I’d look at the the much lower reoffending rates in places like Norway where they treat prisoners like human beings. I see that you didn’t come up with any evidence yourself.

            I think if someone has settled down and started a family it is cruel and inhuman to break up their family after they have served their time. Punishing foreigners more than locals for the same crime seems pretty racist to me.

            ‘Blah blah’? I take it you can’t answer.

          • CliveM

            Can’t answer? I did I said irrelevant. It means it has no bearing on the discussion about here in the UK.

            It was an attempt to draw it erroneous parrallels.

            Perhaps if you cared a bit more for the victims, your concerns for human rights would carry more weight or would demand some respect.

            Then you fall back to the silly left wing obsession and cry racist. Did I say only people of non European race? When Australia returns convicted Britons to the UK, is it racist? Would it be racist if we returned say Germans, Americans or Australians?

            Get a grip.

          • Darach Conneely

            So, xenophobia not racism. Either way it is unjust, and an abuse of human rights to punish foreigners much more harshly that UK citizens. Perhaps if you could address my point instead of dismissing them, you wouldn’t need to rely on an ad hominem claim I ‘don’t care enough for the victims’.

          • CliveM

            What are you debating here, prison policy or the HR Act?

            I’m not getting into prison reform policy. However with regards HR, removing the right to vote for a period doesn’t breach HR. Even Norway does it under certain circumstances. Even the ECHR doesn’t say its a breach, their concern was they believed a blanket prisoner ban was unreasonable.

            With regards returning certain prisoners to their country of citizenship, you say this is harsh and therefore a breach of their Human Rights. I’m not sure even you believe this as previously you argued it was unfair on the family left behind. Indeed there is no HR requirement to allow prisoners to stay in the country if they don’t have a family. So even the ECHR doesn’t support your point.

            Anyway this is all irrelevant with regards the central point, which is the nations sovereign right and duty to decide its own laws and protect its own citizens.

            You can call this xenophobia if you wish. It matters little.

            Apologies for the late reply but I’ve been away.

          • CliveM

            Ps if you’re going to be over dramatic in your statements, don’t expect the response to take these statements seriously.

        • The Explorer

          I think commiting a crime forfeit’s the victim’s human rights: not to be assaulted, raped, mugged, burgled, murdered or whatever.

          • Darach Conneely

            That is why convicted criminals are sent to prison. You think the prisoner should be denied human rights too and subject to assault, rape and murder in prison? How about torture and mutilation? Those are popular in countries with no regard for human rights for prisoners. Shouldn’t a judicial system be better than the criminals it convicts?

        • The Explorer

          Look, if we want to show criminals how much we value them, let’s not imprison them in the first place. That way we don’t have to rehabilitate them. It’s a win-win situation.

          • Darach Conneely

            Sure, if you want to ignore justice instead of ignoring human rights. Funny thing is, our understanding of both justice and human rights come from the same source, our empathy and sense of fair play. Our empathy for the victim recognises they have been badly treated. What makes the difference between justice and raw revenge is having empathy for the perpetrator too, recognising their shared humanity with us.

    • Watchman

      Before you advocate “human rights” in a democracy you first have to provide a rationale for the system we call democracy.

      • Darach Conneely

        Why? Human Rights are not just for democracies. Monarchies dictatorships and anarco-syndicalist collectives have the same moral obligation to protect human rights, even if they don’t.

        • Watchman

          Dare he, please forgive me if clarity escaped me for a moment. You were arguing that prisoners should have votes. I think you first have to establish that having a vote is a human right. It seems to me that it is an awesome privilege which we hand to too many people without any scrutiny of their competence to use it wisely..

          • Darach Conneely

            I take it you regret the 19th and early 20th century madness that saw the vote taken from the competent hands of educated, property owning men, and given to the masses working class and even to women?

            If you are going to have a democracy, you need to give everyone the vote. It is precisely the ones we despise most, the ones who suffer most at the hands of society (rightly or wrongly), who most need a say in how our society is run.

          • Watchman

            Yes to your first paragraph! If we are to have this thing we call a democracy it has to be selective with only those without a vested interest having a say. Your presumption is that those who have not made a success of their lives should now participate in making the lives of others less of a success; for by the very nature of their participation the are going to decrease the effectiveness of our governance. You are also presuming that they know what is best for them when their experience tends to suggest otherwise.

          • Darach Conneely

            It was democracy that cleared the Victorian slums and provided education and healthcare for everyone. The UK is a much better place to live in than it was. The problem with a plutocracy is that the rich have no concept of what life is like for ordinary people, and make rules that benefit only themselves, not the rest of the country. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Worse, science has shown that having had no experience of poverty or struggle themselves, they have very little empathy or compassion for others. What the rich are very successful at is making themselves rich and when they are in power make rules that allow themselves to become even richer.

          • Inspector General

            Come on then Connelly. What are you going to do with the ‘rich’ ?

          • Darach Conneely

            Have them pay their fair share of taxes.
            Pay their employees a living wage.
            Harsh brutal inhuman treatment like that.

          • Inspector General

            Curfew. You missed out having them on curfew…

          • Watchman

            Darech, your knowledge of British social history is painfully laughable. It was the Victorian philanthropists such as Joseph Rowntree, Titus Salt, Robert Owen and George Cadbury who led the way in the reformation of living conditions for the poor. They were industrialists who provided better housing and working conditions for their workers. It was democracy which led to workers becoming greedy and voting in anyone who offered to steal most money for then from those they perceived as able to afford it. Democracy has led us unto the awful state of our economy to date.

          • Darach Conneely

            My background is Irish, but we are familiar with Quakers like Cadbury and Rowntree as who stood out among their Victorian countertparts for taking care of their workers instead of exploiting and oppressing them. Quakers fought for an end to slavery, women’s rights and universal suffrage too. Wasn’t Robert Owen a socialist and a founder of the co-operative movement? These social radicals are hardly ideal Right Wing icons. Were these Quaker and socialist employers simply being generous, or did they think this was how employees should be treated? While they might have provided isolated islands of decent employment among the dark Satanic Mills, unenlightened Satanic Mill and slum owners were in no hurry to imporove conditions. It was still only after the vote was extended to slum tenants that the government introduced slum clearance.

            You seriously think tax is stealing? People who make money in a society shouldn’t have to contribute to the society they make their money in?

          • Watchman

            Darech, I can see that you have done some research and I am taking your response seriously. We can all launch into political rhetoric on these blogs by swapping slogans and insults but little is gained by that. I must admit that I dismiss grand mission statements and slogans from the left as unworthy of much attention; however I’ll be as honest as I can in a response. I tend to be guided in political thinking by my bible: I believe it is the inspired Word of God and serious as to what it says about God’s relationship with fallen man. It also provides us with the ways in which we can be successful as individuals and societies; after all the Torah was given to a chosen people in order to help them thrive so we must regard it as the best advise we can get from a Creator who loves His Creation, so I take it seriously.

            God’s economic system is based round the family and we are told that what a man sows that he also reaps: if we work we should, as a family see the fruits of our labours. But just in case you haven’t a family we are all exhorted to care for widows orphans and foreigners, ie, those who have no family connection. ( foreigners were included as many non-Jews went to live with families, maybe as servants or slaves and the householder was told to regard them as part of the family). Nowhere do I find, in my bible, a tribal or society obligation towards anyone who didn’t or couldn’t work, that obligation fell on the landowners etc will some rules about harvesting. The state should not be interfering between employer and employee and should certainly not be appointing itself as head of the “family”. Our current way of running our economic system has led us into sewing so that our children, grandchildren and other future generations now have to do the reaping for our profligacy. We are overspending because people are demanding too much for their labour and progressive governments are open to bribery: they will pay taxpayers money in order to give them power.

            Taxation in the Torah was a tithe at about 10%, although the complexity of the tithing system could take it up to 23% or so and this was mainly for the upkeep of the tribe of Levi who were intercessors with God. Later on they had to provide the resources for an army, but that was their fault, they wanted a king, which cost them money.

            Taxation above the level of the provision of providing for the administration of justice and the defence of the realm, I would suggest is theft. It should be left to the families to provide for whatever else was needed, whether it be health or education or relief from poverty of individual members. Trade unions are the most ungodly of all agencies, demanding money in order not to wreck an employers business: that’s extortion.

            Finally, I would bow to the apostle Paul’s edict that if a man shall not work neither shall he eat.

          • Darach Conneely

            Thanks for the thoughtful answer Watchman.

            Did you know that frequent bible reading can turn you liberal? (Lifeway Research) http://www.murraymoerman.com/1christ/scripture/frequent_reading_scripture.asp

            Nowhere does the bible say that justice and defence are the only roles of government, or that further taxation is theft. When Jesus said ‘render unto Caesar’, Rome had been providing a grain dole for its poorer citizens since 140 B.C.. It you look at the tithe in the OT it wasn’t just the Levites who benefited. It was also for the poor and for immigrants. Social welfare was written into The Law for the whole nation of Israel. And the tithe wasn’t the only provision. Firstfruits were also a social welfare provision, as was gleaning (with strict limits on what the land owner could harvest himself), and the fallow year where all the produce of orchard, vineyards and untended wheat fields went to the poor and the immigrants. You had debts cancelled every seven years and every 50, fields and rural housing went back to the families who owned them before, basically redistributing much the wealth that the rich had accumulated since the previous Jubilee. God expects not just individuals and families to take care of the poor, but nations too. That is why he set up a national welfare system in Israel and rebuked nations that do not take care of their poor.

            I agree people who can work should and social welfare in the bible was for people who were unable to work, widows, orphans, the sick. The concept of there not being enough jobs to go around was unheard of. But unemployment because there aren’t enough job is just as genuine a problem as being old or disabled. It is not what Paul was talking about in 2Thess.

          • Watchman

            Many thanks, Darech, for your response, I am particularly grateful for the link to the website, it distracted me for well over an hour when I’m supposed to be getting on with something else! I do read my bible frequently because through it God answers prayer by drawing my attention to particular verses. I must saw, however, that I seem atypical of the survey and the possible reason might be that as legislation becomes more liberal, and, in my view, more opposed to God’s Word I react by becoming more conservatively entrenched. (The only time I’ve ever agreed with Michael Foot was when he said that as we get older we become more right wing.). I have marked the website for further attention.

            It is difficult for me to unravel what is biblical from your response and what is mere supposition. You have expanded my shorthand statement about harvesting and I cannot disagree with that, except on one major point: the jubilee was not about redistribution but about restoration; this is important as it emphasises that the land belonged to God so that in the intervening years they could not sell off bits of it to passing Arabs. You will have to give me biblical references for Israel’s nation welfare systems and the distribution of tithing for I can find none. On this point I think I react badly to trade unions and others intimidating employers into parting with money when this is done out of the avarice of the workers. I am old enough to remember when we, as a nation were generally content with our lot, and although there was far more genuine poverty than there is now having enough was regarded as plentiful: our fulfilment came from things other than material goods. We were poorer yet far more content. This present age have made a god out of money and this god is controlling their thoughts and actions: it is not making them freer but binding them tighter. When men get what they think they need they become its slave.

            Finally, I must disagree that there are not enough jobs to go round. Observe how Eastern Europeans flock here because we have plenty of jobs. The problem lies in the fact that while benefits are available people will not take jobs they regard as menial. An empty belly is a great motivator!

          • Darach Conneely

            So the tendency to increasing conservatism that comes with age can be countered by the liberalism that comes from reading the bible…?

            I agree that the Jubilee was about restoration, but it was a restoration to the original holy and just distribution of the wealth of the land. ‘Wealth redistribution’ is looking at it from a modern perspective, but that is what was going on too, wealth in the form of land (not only of value itself but the source of producing wealth) housing, and credit were taken form the right who had been accumulating it over the previous 50 years and given back to the poor who had to borrow money and sell their land and houses over this period. Credit and debt were redistributed even more regularly, every seven years. It certainly answers any questions we might ask today about whether wealth distribution in our own nation is just in taking form the accumulation of wealth of the rich, or even a matter of justice in giving it to the poor. I don’t think Israel is unique in belonging to God who created the whole earth. Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” You will find some links Israel’s welfare system in my blog https://simianinthetemple.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/moses-and-israels-social-welfare-system/

            I think people were content with their lot because their lot was so much better than their grandparents working dawn til dusk in unsafe factories, because they had pension and healthcare and education for their children. Don’t forget consumerism is as much the responsibility of factory owners wanting to sell all the goods they produce as the unions wanting a decent wage to be able to afford what they work so hard to produce.

            Where are these jobs? The ones you have mentioned have already been taken. It is not like if we got rid of the immigrants we would suddenly have more jobs. Shrink the population and you shrink the economy and with it the number of jobs the economy is able to produce. Are Eastern Europeans working in food packing? Get rid of them and there are fewer people buying food in the UK supporting fewer jobs in the food industry. Add to that the fact that immigrants create jobs too and are better at creating jobs than the locals. Cut immigration and you lose the jobs they creating.

            According to Government statistics http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_390755.pdf, the actual number of job vacancies Oct-Dec 2014 was 700,000. This isn’t because lazy unemployed just need proper motivation (not eating for a couple of months on sanctions) to go look for a job. This is part of a constant turnover in jobs. People are retiring and new people are coming into the job market for the first. Others are being fired, leaving for another job elsewhere, companies are downsizing or closing down, new jobs and new companies are opening up. This is going on all the time. Compared to 700,000 vacancies there are 1.8 million officially unemployed, another 2.2 million, want to work but aren’t included in unemployment figures. They are classed as ‘economically inactive’. Another 3.6 million are working part-time or on zero hour contracts and want more work. https://simianinthetemple.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/hiding-the-uks-real-unemployment-level/ So basically you have 7.7 million unemployed or underemployed in the UK. Even if you could speed up the time it took for a vacancy to be filled (at the cost of the employer being able to select the best candidate) we would still be 7 million jobs short. What do sanctions achieve? It means people have to apply for loads of jobs they aren’t suited for and employers have many time more applicants to sift through, taking time and leaving the vacancy unfilled longer. The person you are encouraging to get work by starvation, has to write applications and post them off with no money for stamps, and get to interviews with no bus fare, and turns up to the interview in his best scruffy clothes looking as though he had walked miles and slightly dazed from hunger. Of course the job goes to the neat looking well educated Polish applicant.

    • Owl

      Darach,
      I, as a father, would like see that my children are (first of all) protected against the riff raff that populate our prisons.
      I don’t want radical Mussies roaming the streets looking for the next Rigby.
      I want the victims back in first place, not their attackers!

      • Darach Conneely

        Not suggesting we release all the prisoners, just treating the ones convicted in a court of law with decency and a regard for their human rights. I would prefer my children to live in a country that respects people’s rights and observes the rule of law to one that sacrifices our basic humanity and decency out of fear. Not only do the terrorists win if we do that, making us no better than they are, but a country that treats its people decency and respect will be a much safer one for my children.

        • Inspector General

          Prisoners and human rights, eh!

          Now, let’s see. What are prisoners very good at abusing?

          Good Lord, it’s OTHER PEOPLE’S human rights. Who’d have thought it. Of course, human rights are a somewhat debased currency, so we can throw a few towards prisoners then. Debased they are, thanks to you, among many others living and dead.

          What else have you shit sprayed our way? Oh no, as Harold Steptoe would put it, “Not ‘making us no better than they are’

          “You dirty, scheming old man…”

          • Darach Conneely

            Wasn’t Albert Steptoe a Tory? They even had an episode “My Old Man’s a Tory”.

            The thing about Human Rights is they are meant to be for all human beings. The name gives it away. The Right Wing likes to pick and choose who it treats with humanity and decency. The Human Rights Act isn’t about those terrible European judges or national sovereignty (entering into a treaty is a sovereign act), it is about the Right’s freedom to abuse whoever they hate and despise.

          • CliveM

            We’ll one could respond that you prefer to see a woman raped and murdered, then an immigrants ‘rights’ curtailed by being deported.

            Save us from the sanctimonious self righteousness of the left and it’s morally impoverished ‘intellectualism’.

          • Darach Conneely

            Changing the subject I see. So, is it only immigrants who rape and murder? Or what Human Rights abusing solutions do you have to stop British citizens you suspect might commit a crime in the future? Are you going to justify those abuses on “prefer to see a woman raped and murdered” argument? I would prefer to see people being punished for crimes they commit, and not be punished more because they are foreign.

            The “prefer to see a woman raped and murdered” argument only seem to apply to British women, you are quite happy for people you think are going to rape and murder to do it in another country.

          • CliveM

            Well you see I think a govt first responsibility is to the safety of its own citizens. But hey let’s take your logic to its conclusion. Why don’t we just announce open house to all rapists and murderers. Indeed let’s turn the UK into an open prison for all the worlds undesirables. That way the rest if the world will be a little bit safer and the left in this country will be able to enjoy that self righteous glow that is so important to them.

          • Darach Conneely

            Ah, so it isn’t concern about women being raped and murdered, it is just fear mongering about it happening in Britain. Glad we got that sorted. No such ‘logical conclusion’ to be drawn from my comments. I am saying British Laws should treat people living in the UK fairly and respect their human rights. I am really surprised anyone would argue against that.

            Not only that, but by respecting Human Rights here in the UK and being part of an international convention on Human Rights, we can encourage other countries to respect Human Rights too, for example not torturing, raping and killing men and women in prison.

          • Inspector General

            One of these days you are going to wake up to the fact that your fellow conspirators in the quest to make Britain a workers paradise don’t actually do any work at all. That they are in the main atheist and will be happy to close churches down and beat you over the head with a heavy stick if you mention God thereafter…

          • Darach Conneely

            I’m more worried about the people who are busy taking away Human Rights right now.

          • Inspector General

            Probably lie awake tonight thinking of those poor unfortunates. Thanks for that…

    • carl jacobs

      Darach Conneely

      A government that is willing to torture its prisoners, or outsource its torture to other countries needs to be held to account to account by an international tribunal.

      Murderous dictatorships around the world must be delighted that the UK ‘Mother of Parliaments’ is withdrawing from its international obligation to human rights.

      There is an two interesting presumptions in this argument:

      1. That there exists some international authority.
      2. That this authority is inherently more virtuous than a nation state.

      Neither presumption is true.

      An “international tribunal” assumes some body of binding law, and a means by which this law may be enforced. You deliberately appeal to the this language of law in order to avoid using the language of war. Law carries the image of power constrained. But your “international tribunal” has no police force. It depends upon national military force to impose the will of the “tribunal.” It is therefore subordinate to the very nations it presumes to rule. It is not an authority over the nations. It is an authority under the nations, and so it will inevitably serve their interests. That’s why the ICC has been such a notable failure.

      You also seem to assume that an “international obligation” is somehow a more sure means of establishing human rights than a local government. Your argument seems to be that an assertion of sovereignty by the UK gives implicit permission to Mugabe to do what he wants. You want the UK constrained by “international obligation” so that Mugabe will feel likewise constrained. But if the nations do not adequately instantiate human rights within their own borders, then they will not collectively instantiate human rights on the international level. I suspect there is a hidden assumption in your argument that some “enlightened judicial elite” will create law, impose it, and the nations will just accept it. That vision only works from a position of power. Your vision of human rights is western. You should worry about the kinds of rights the “international community” would create as western power wanes. Your understanding of rights is not always going to be dominant.

      • Darach Conneely

        “There is an two interesting presumptions in this argument:
        1. That there exists some international authority.
        2. That this authority is inherently more virtuous than a nation state.
        Neither presumption is true.”

        No, it assumes that some national governments can be more virtuous that others. In fact the Human Rights convention was set up after a group of more virtuous governments and Russia had just depose a couple of horrifically unvirtuous ones. It was in realising how terrible countries could become that they decided to hold each other to account. You claim the ICC is subordinate to the countries it rules? The reason the Conservatives want to get rid of the the Human Rights Act is because it has shown it isn’t. But the ICC was set up because the Germany judicial system under Hitler showed how easily a country’s own court system can be twisted and brought under the control of a human rights abusing government.

        “You want the UK constrained by “international obligation” so that Mugabe will feel likewise constrained.”

        That’s what Churchill wanted too, and what the UK government voted for. There are only a few ways of tackling human rights abuses in other countries. Military intervention had just been carried out in Europe and is terribly costly. Sanctions are of limited use, the main methods are diplomacy and the damage the Human Rights abuses do to a regime’s international reputation. By denying the UK has international obligations to maintain human rights, and can make up their own rules to suit themselves, the conservatives are handing Mugabe and friends a free pass for all his human rights abuses.

        No, I’ve no assumption of a “enlightened judicial elite”, though I do think most judges try to act fairly and being an international tribune, they are free from the sort of political pressure the judicial system at home never comes under either.

        It would be interesting to see the view of human rights from the perspective of the developing world. Perhaps I am not as paranoid as you. You see, human rights abuses are much more obvious to independent outsiders than they are to the political elite in a country who justify the abuses they have a political or economic motive for, or the abuses that come from hating or despising a section of their population.

    • Inspector General

      “The question is, do you want to rehabilitate prisoners?”

      Well, not really. Why, do you want to?

      You see, you are an incorrigible Marxist, Connelly. This is how the Marxist thinks. There is a section in society that offends. We therefore must ‘rehabilitate’ them, so they won’t offend again. They don’t have any say in it, then. They WILL be rehabilitated. Not only have you taken away their freedom, albeit for a short while, but you’ve also taken away their self-determination in the future, presumably until they’re safely dead.

      We lock people up as a result of something called justice, and to provide something else you probably heard about too, punishment. If they want to keep to the law on release, then that is their prerogative. If they don’t, they will once again face the consequences of not doing so.

      It is called sane thinking. It is right wing thinking. And as a result, this man gives them more respect as individuals than you’ll ever do. Ain’t that a thing!

      • Darach Conneely

        Don’t the Right Wing have any better argument than name calling? I presume you’d call the Quaker prison reformer Elizabeth Fry a Marxist too, even though she died before Karl published his Communist Manifesto.

        The Far Right is intellectual impoverished because it has no concept of human empathy and compassion which enable our society to function on a deeper basis than greed and self interest. You are happy to let criminals return to society as bad or worse than they were before, no matter who else they hurt. You think this is rather than compassion and protecting their human rights in prison is ‘treating them with respect as individuals’. You make it sound like their sociopathic behaviour is the Right Wing idea.

        Treating prisoners humanly and letting them see they are part of our society too, doesn’t take their freedom away when they are released, it teaches them the self respect and social skills they need to integrate into a society many were marginalised and excluded from before they went to prison.

        • Inspector General

          Who is name calling? If it walks like a duck, etc.

          The best way to treat prisoners is to make prison something they’d rather not go back to. Simple really. Besides, there is nothing sacrosanct about the rule of law. They have a ‘human right’ to break it. It’s up to them. All your socialist handwringing and concern about them won’t impress them. They don’t give a tinkers cuss for it.

          • Darach Conneely

            You thinking someone is a duck isn’t an argument. First you have to show they are a duck, then you have to show there’s something wrong with ducks.

            So bring back torture and filthy rat infested dungeons because the worse a prison is the less people will want to go there? Forget about concepts like punishment being proportional to the crime. Interesting how when we abandon Human Rights we abandon the rule of law too. Hmm, You make human rights and bleeding heart socialism more appealing all the time. Besides all your terrible prisons do is produce harder criminals.

          • Inspector General

            Prisoners are destined for hell anyway. Their choice. You really don’t won’t to know what the righteous Lord has in store for that crowd, lest you collapse in grief despite your humanist piety…

          • Darach Conneely

            Odd that, Jesus seems to care how we treat prisoners. Matthew 25:36 I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    • Dominic Stockford

      Sandwiches would have done, not food some us can’t afford.

      • Darach Conneely

        You think during a siege police time should be spent shopping and making sandwiches rather than phoning for a takeaway?

        • Dominic Stockford

          The prison kitchen could have knocked up some sandwiches in no time at all – useful training for the cons working there i would have thought.

          • Darach Conneely

            What Prison?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Either the prison in the siege – as is sometimes the case – or the next door sandwich bar – which is pretty much all we have on our streets today.

          • Darach Conneely

            That siege came after a 10 mile car chase and was on top of a house. Not sure it had a next door sandwich bar. I suppose they could have sent cops off souring the neighbourhood instead of maintaining the siege and ended up spending more on a deli sandwich than the KFC.

  • David

    A very good article Your Grace, with which I totally agree.
    It is high time that we reasserted the clear superiority of our ancient, tried and tested, bottom up Common Law system. This is based roughly on the Judaeo-Christian tradition. It is so superior to the dictatorial top down European system based on wooly, flowery ideas designed to deliberately create opportunities for activist judges to dispense their twisted version of political “reform” and public morality. After all who elected these activist, meddling judges here or in continental Europe ?
    Rights must be balanced against responsibilities. Actions have consequences and punishment must meet the crime. Those in prison are placed there for punishment and hopefully, reform; they have broken their contract with society, which is restored when they are duly released, and not before.The public expects to be protected from the violent. We all demand the right to responsible free speech which is the very cornerstone of a liberal democracy.
    Gove is the man for the job. This time he must be allowed to conclude it. Cameron must not cave in to the wets and euro-maniacs who wish to destroy our nation state.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Three line whip the vote, and chuck out those who rebel – if they dare to risk being out of their cushy government benches and offices…

  • Graeme Pietersz

    It is opponents of the HRA who are engaged in deception: http://rightsinfo.org/infographics/the-14-worst-human-rights-myths/

    • The Explorer

      Your link provides a subjective point of view. What’s objective about it? Please amplify your point about deception.

      • Graeme Pietersz

        It debunks common myths with citations to prove its facts. How is that subjective? Have you clicked the “find out what really happened” links? My favourite is the “man not deported because of his cat” (which is mentioned in the Telegraph article linked to above, repeated by Thereasa May etc.) because it has been so widely repeated by HRA opponents. Here is a link to the judgement if you want to verify it. https://t.co/civ1CLa

        Its pretty clear that the best known claims made by opponents of the HRA are simply lies, and can be proved to be lies on investigation.

        • The Explorer

          That’s fair enough. What I’m getting at is, what makes human rights human rights?
          One group might come up with a set of human rights eg: you have a right to live in any country you want to. . Another group might come up with a different set.of rights: eg you don’t have a right to live in any country you want to. Which group would be right?

          • Graeme Pietersz

            OK we are talking at cross purposes: I wanted to debunk the particular myths that are cited here.

            I think the question of different ideas of rights becomes negligible. What rights in the European convention do you disagree with? I think Christians should strongly support the right to family life (which is the most controversial) and the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

          • Dreadnaught

            ‘that foreigners who commit crimes may not be summarily deported because to do so would infringe their ‘right’ to a family life; that alien extremist Muslims who think Britain is “like the inside of a toilet” cannot be expelled because of some nebulous threat of torture; that foreign courts may determine that prisoners have their ‘democratic rights’ violated when they may not vote in elections; that hijackers of aeroplanes should be able to claim and be granted asylum in the UK; that an escaped criminal on a prison roof shouldn’t be entitled to Kentucky Fried Chicken to “protect his wellbeing’

            Amongst much more, I would add withdrawal of citizenship from non-native born criminals; repayment of the costs of their stay in prison and the compulsory right to take their families with them when they are kicked out.

            Get debunking.

          • Graeme Pietersz

            One of the claims you quote is one debunked on the site I linked to. You cannot provide any evidence for the others, other than quoting the same journalists who have been shown to have lived about other cases.

          • Dreadnaught

            Hang on – you were the one who asserted he was going to debunk Cranmer’s post claims. This comments section is here for you to do that not simply refer to another site – that ruse is plain bunkum!

          • The Explorer

            Article 2. Right of everyone to life. Not necessarily, if they’ve deprived many others of life.
            Article 5. Right to security. As in girl killed by illegal immigrant without licence who cannot be deported because… Kid raped by Romanian paedophile who cannot be deported because…
            Article 6,. Fair trial. Sounds good. As in Abu Qatada and his years of appeals at taxpayers’ expense.
            9. Freedom of conscience and religion. Gay cake? What if one imported religion wants to subjugate all other religions?
            10. Freedom of expression. Do we have it? Possible? Desirable?
            12. Marriage. Depends on its definition.

          • Graeme Pietersz

            Article 2: you disagree with the majority of Christians, and therefore presumably with most people here.
            Article 5: can you provide believable evidence (i.e. not newspaper articles) for those cases?
            Article 6: what alternative do you have to a fair trial? Presumption of guilt?
            Article 9: Preventing one religion subjugating others is one of the protections it gives. Gay cake meaning Ashers? IMO that shows ECHR protection of conscience is not enough, but it is all there is, repealing HRA will just make things worse.
            Article 10: no enough of it: this is one area where the US constitution is superior to ECHR.

          • The Explorer

            Article 2. I didn’t express an opinion as such. In my experience the most vehement arguments for and against the death penalty have come from those without religious belief. The Christian hope of of repentence, divine forgiveness and after life gives a perspective unavailable to the secularist.
            Article 5. The father of the girl killed was on ‘The Big Questions’ a while back. His view was that the driver’s right to a family life had, by his presence in the country, deprived the father of HIS right to a famiy life through the death of his daughter.

          • Graeme Pietersz

            Impossible to comment on the case without knowing the facts of it. Like the Tahery case (see my reply to Clive) brief summaries tend to mislead.

          • The Explorer

            I wasn’t asking for comment. You asked if I had evidence beyond newspaper evidence. Yes.

          • Graeme Pietersz

            OK, but not enough. What I am looking for is analysis of the cases by lawyers, links to the actual judgements, etc.

          • CliveM

            Why? This isn’t an argument about if the court got the judgement correct ( as it applies to the act) but if the Act itself is correct. In relation to that anyone’s opinion is equally valid.

          • The Explorer

            Aso Mohammed Ibrahim. Iraqui Kurd. Killed Amy Houston in hit-and-run Blackburn 2003. Case finally resolved Decmeber 2010.

        • CliveM

          It is interesting how this attempts to debunk the myths. For example the use of the HR Act by overseas criminals to stay in the UK due to their right to family life. It doesn’t actually say this is a myth, it merely selects a single case that has been misunderstood and then encourages people to draw the conclusion that the whole issue is a myth.

          Which it isn’t.

          It’s a clever form of misinformation, but it isn’t honest.

          • Graeme Pietersz

            It picks the most widely publicised and outrageous sounding cases and debunks them. If the press have lied to us about these cases why should we believe them about others?

            I do think even criminals have a right to family life: for example if a foreign criminal has a UK spouse and children, I think they should be punished in the UK (rather than deported) for the sake of their spouse and children (unless they have abused the children or their family life has broken down entirely, which are rare cases).

          • CliveM

            Still the use of the Act by rapists and murderers, high risk individual’s, to avoid deportation is not a myth. It is a fact.

            So we see how this web site works.

            From a personal point of view, I don’t give a damn about their right to family life, they shouldn’t stay here and if they want a family life, they can take their family with them.

          • Graeme Pietersz

            Can you provide real evidence (i.e. not newspaper articles that have been shown to be untrustworthy) of that?

          • CliveM

            So we are to conclude if one article is untrustworthy they all are?

            Why should we conclude your site is trustworthy? It’s an axe to grind, so is not unbiased. I have highlighted an issue with the way it operates.

            I will use the logic of the site itself. It doesn’t say the use of the HR Act in the way highlighted is a myth, simply in one case the judgement and the source of it was misunderstood.

            That seems evidence enough to me.

          • CliveM
          • Graeme Pietersz

            Yes and no: they are not lying, but the summaries are too brief. Take the first case they discuss, the Tahery one. Compare their summary, with this more detailed analysis: https://www.kingsleynapley.co.uk/news-and-events/blogs/regulatory-and-professional-discipline-blog/e-regulator-al-khawaja-and-tahery-v-the-united-kingdom-26766-05-and-2228-06-european-court-of-human-rights-grand-chamber Also, consider that if the UK still had traditional British rights to a fair trial (the hearsay rule in this case) he could not have been convicted in the first place. It also does not break the payment he received into costs (two thirds of it) and damages. Most importantly, it does not make it clear that his conviction was not overturned.

          • CliveM

            Did you read the AA case?

          • CliveM

            I should have perhaps been clearer, it was the AA Case as it relates to Article 8 that I was drawing your attention to. I believe this was the issue I was highlighting.

          • The Explorer

            Well put!

  • The Explorer

    Human rights. Nietzsche said most people are bungled and botched. Tell him all people matter, and he’d ask why. By what criteria would one frame one’s answer?

  • sarky

    It’s not the HRA that’s the problem. It’s the abuse of the HRA that’s the problem. The basic premise of theact is good. Anything that puts the rights of human beings into law can only be a good thing.
    However, withdrawing from it and replacing it with a UK bill of rights, more tailored to our needs, that cuts down some of the abuse, can only be a good thing.

    • CliveM

      I tend to agree. The original concept behind the HRA was more focused. It is the judges desire to widen the scope that is the problem.

      • Martin

        Clive

        And the judges desire to decide which human rights are more important than others and who is undeserving of human rights..

  • Excellent article YG

    So what Act/s/ legislation was in place before Labour brought in their
    Human Rights Act 1998? We seemed to manage just fine, can’t we
    re-instate what we had before the left wing muddied the waters?

    • Orwell Ian

      The pre 1998 rights established by our system of Magna Carta, Common Law, Habeas Corpus etc, were far better than the HRA since they tame the despotic tendencies of Government. EU law does the reverse. It’s promulgated by Commissioners that we have not elected and administered by activist judges for the purpose of imposing Government will on the people. Such a system is inherently dictatorial and will progressively diminish the rights English people have enjoyed for centuries. The people campaigning against scrapping the Human Rights Act would do better to wait and see what the British Bill of Rights contains rather than assume the worst.

      • So we don’t really need a British Bill of Rights either, We need to get out of the EU.

        • Inspector General

          You are right Marie. Everything has already been covered by British statute law and precedence. The British reputation for fair play is world renowned.

  • CHBrighton

    Abolish the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights? No thanks. The present system is mutually agreed via international treaties and obliges governments to account for why they deny freedoms to their citizens. A British Bill of Rights will be manufactured in Westminster to suit the requirements of those with political power and will be amended only in line with the political whims of whoever is in power. Don’t forget that one of the first acts of the incoming government in Germany in 1933 was to scrap all existing human rights laws so they could crush their political enemies. Who is to say the same thing won’t happen in Britain?

    • carl jacobs

      Nations do not become virtuous actors when they enter the international sphere. International treaties are negotiated by Governments to suit the requirements of those in power. That’s why (for example) the P5 have a veto in the UN Security Council while every other nations does not. And who exactly do you think is going to enforce this international obligation? To whom must a gov’t give account and what happens if the account fall short? The answers are short and simple: no one and nothing.

      You look to some supra-authority to establish your rights. That authority does not exist. If it ever did come into existence, it would devolve into ugly tyranny. For who would be able to call it to account? Be grateful for the division of men into nations. It restrains the evil that is at the very heart of man.

    • CliveM

      A fundamental human right I would argue is for the subjects and citizens of a country to be subject to the laws they choose and applied in the manner of their choice.

  • Linus

    If the SNP can get just a few Conservative rebels to vote against repeal of the HRA then Cameron will have to face up to the limits on his freedom of action imposed by his slim majority.

    The difficulty of getting controversial legislation through parliament when the government’s majority is so vanishingly small that even even the tiniest revolt can make a difference means that nothing much will change in the next five years. Cameron won’t risk any grand projects that don’t command cross party support. He’s testing the waters with his proposals for repealing the HRA. I think he’ll find them unpleasantly nippy and after blustering about on the shore for a few moments, will quietly decide that maybe he’s not all that keen on taking a dip after all.

    • CliveM

      Of course he will probably be able to call upon the DUP, UUP and UKIP as well.

      • Linus

        I see the legislative project has already been kicked into touch, and this despite the supporting votes of minor parties.

        Cameron’s problem is that his thin majority means he’s extremely vulnerable to backbencher revolts. If he’s already dropped plans to repeal the HRA (or in parliamentary parlance, “deferred them until the next session at the earliest…”), then you can be sure he was facing a humiliating defeat by a significant portion of his own party.

        All the Ukip-voting extreme right-wing Christian Little Englanders on this blog must be feeling more than a little deflated right now. Poor things! First their star candidate fails to win a seat, then he resigns as party leader, then he un-resigns, then the prime minister dangles the prospect of draconian new anti-left legislation before their eyes, then he snatches it away … what a series of body blows for you poor old fascists! You just don’t know where your next pogrom is coming from, do you?

        Ah well, the upside is that as your fictitious bible tells you that true Christians will be persecuted, and as any hint of you not getting your own way in everything is claimed by you as just that (persecution, I mean … which the rest of us call “sour grapes”), you must be feeling very holy and saved right at the moment. Hold on to that thought. Thwarted in the real world you may be. On a ride to oblivion just like the rest of us you certainly are. But in your imaginations, all good things come to he who waits. So get out there and imagine! And wait! As most of you are already approaching (or have easily surpassed) your biblical three score and ten, you won’t have to be patient for too much longer…

  • There was a time when I would have been strongly in favour of repealing the Human Rights Act. As the article states, it is not for foreign courts to decide on British matters.
    However, I no longer trust a Conservative government, and Cameron in particular, to preserve my human rights. I am far from convinced that the freedom of the individual is at the top of the Conservative agenda.
    So I will wait to see what the government comes up with. It may well be that Europe will be a better guardian of British freedoms than a mendacious, self-seeking Prime Minister.

  • Inspector General

    Yes, one recalls that Kentucky eating fugitive from justice here in multicultural spoilt Gloucester. The law was chasing the blighter, when he climbed up a drain pipe with all the agility of a monkey. The Inspector’s offer of a loan of his elephant gun to bring him down was declined, and it was decided to weaken him by malnutrition by feeding him fast food. A further offer from the Inspector to urinate on the feast before it was sent up was similarly declined.

    Then came the master plan. Make him think he was going mad. A bed was ordered and delivered, and a crane engaged to lift it to the roof. A top of the range high definition TV set with Dolby stereo, and twenty surround sound speakers, as found only in the best of Her Majesty’s Rest Homes for the Wicked were also obtained, and assembled on the ground, ready for elevation in a cherry picker. No less than 5 local prostitutes of all colours were engaged at a princely rate and lined up semi naked so the fellow could make a choice, and the police ‘seized narcotics’ cabinet was unscrewed from the station wall and rushed to the scene in its entirety lest he suffer unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

    By this time, an official from the Dept of Work and Pensions had arrived clutching an emergency hardship loan of £1500 which did not need to be repaid. The man was also informed a four bedroomed house had been secured for his family, if he had any, and that full housing benefit for a year had already been arranged. The scoundrel was also informed he could bring over any family he had in the Caribbean and that the Foreign Office would fly them in by British Airways in Business Class. On arrival they would be met by some minor celebrity at Heathrow, and whisked away in a Limousine to meet the Queen at Buckingham palace.

    And to think we are to throw the Court of Human Rights out the window…

  • The Explorer

    I am reminded of an incident from the 2010 documentary about Lampedusa. A Libyan, or whatever, boat person leaping ashore with the words, “I have a right to be here.”
    I’m pretty sure he hadn’t read the ECHR. He certainly didn’t know about Britain’s non-signing of the Schengen Agreement because he went on to say he had a right to be in London.

    The thing is, he clearly believed his own statement. If you can get into Europe, you have the right to be there.

  • Dreadnaught

    The UK played a key role in drafting the Human Rights Charter in the post war climate influenced in no small part by the activities of the Nazis and Stalin. What was not forseen was 70 years of peace and the birth of the movement for the united states of Europe and the opportunity for lawyers to create their own market place.

    • CliveM

      A self electing oligarchy, accountable to no one, contemptuous of public opinion and willing to expand their remit as part of an ever expanding agenda.

      The legal profession is the new aristocracy and as contemptuous of the common man as the old one.

    • Inspector General

      Lawyers! More slippery than slippery things, most of them. We had one on here a year or two ago warning of what would happen (to his income, probably) if the golden harvest known as legal aid was ever cut back…

      • Dreadnaught

        How the hell did Azil Nadir and Abu Chuffin Hamza get legal aid when decent people who fall behind in their TV licence obligations get none?

        • Inspector General

          Rather think the average lawyer would lift his leg against a TV licence dodging case, but when it comes to wicked muslims, they can literally smell the money coming their way…

          • Dreadnaught

            now, now – play the whiteman IGs

  • carl jacobs

    The elephant in the living room is that there is no shared understanding regarding the content of human rights. What rights do individuals in fact possess? When Westerners talk about human rights, they tend to conflate western conceptions with universally held norms. This attitude originates in the idea that man is “progressing” and that western man represents the point of the spear when it comes to human progress. Western secular Liberals are so used to assuming their own “enlightenment”, they just assume everyone else does, as well. This is the 21st Century, you know. Or so the refrain is tirelessly repeated – as if there is some rational argument to be found within it.

    There is also no shared agreement as to why individuals possess human rights. In the secular west, human rights are asserted as a philosophical abstraction that must be accepted a priori. This is because the secular west has emptied itself of any transcendent authority capable of making the case. It can no longer establish the very foundations of its own worldview so it just declares them on its own authority. What happens then when it collides with a culture that doesn’t recognize that authority? Well, the West used to be strong enough to impose its will. It could (for example) ban suttee because it had the power to do so. The West is losing that power. Other cultures are emerging as powers and they are not so friendly to western conceptions. Will the caste system disappear in India anytime soon?

    If you want a western understanding of human rights to be dominant in the world, then you must support the establishment of western hegemony. Otherwise, you must be content to manage affairs in your own portion of the world. You aren’t going to impose your will on the Chinese. Indeed it is much more probable that they will impose their will on you.

    • Dreadnaught

      If you want a western understanding of human rights to be dominant in the world…
      I’d be happy to settle for a British version within our own country.

  • CliveM

    If anyone believes this country doesn’t produce entrepreneurs any more, just look how innovative the legal profession is at generating business and profit for itself.

  • carl jacobs

    And btw … Self government is not a right. It is a privilege. There are many pre-conditions that make it possible, and if those conditions aren’t met you get … well … Libya. Extending the franchise to a people not fit to receive it is impossibly ignorant, and will inevitably produce nothing but bloodshed and chaos and death. This is what I mean about there being no agreement on the content of human rights. It isn’t just about abstract principles written down in philosophy books. An ideological commitment to philosophical abstraction over against practical experience is not necessarily a noble position.

    • Dreadnaught

      Wasn’t there a little spat around 1776 when self government was declared to be a right, somewhere or other?

      • carl jacobs

        I have never said the Declaration of Independence was a good argument, Dreadnaught.

        • Dreadnaught

          A good idea then perhaps?

          • carl jacobs

            Not sure. I fear I would have been a Tory in 1776. And many of them became Canadians. At this point, I can’t even go on. The prospect is too terrifying. Best just not to look.

          • Dreadnaught

            Pax.

          • Hmm …

          • avi barzel

            Grrrrr!

          • carl jacobs

            Wait. That’s Jack’s line. … Is jack a Canadian?!”

          • avi barzel

            Shh! I was first going to credit (blue) Jack, then decided that he’ll miss this post. Anyway, “grrr” is an un-registered, copyright-free Americanism appearing in the public sphere and comic books, so poor Jack would have no case should he want to litigate.

          • carl jacobs

            Uh oh. Jack wouldn’t like it that you called “Grrrrrr…” an ‘Americanism’. He hasn’t yet quite come to terms with the fact that ‘color’ isn’t spelled with a ‘u’.

          • Grouchy Jack

            Grrrrr …. better than being a Yank, though.

          • avi barzel

            Understandable. The “u” makes it into another “big word” for Americans. Although even five letters is pushing it.

          • Grouchy Jack

            This Jack misses nothing.

          • avi barzel

            Rust never sleeps…

          • Grouchy Jack

            Hmmm ….

      • Royinsouthwest

        What about the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320?

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/scottishhistory/independence/features_independence_arbroath.shtml

        I suppose most English people haven’t even heard of the Declaration of Arbroath. That is because the teaching of British history in English schools has always been appalling. What is taught as “British history” in English schools is merely English history.

        • Dreadnaught

          Never mind old history – I just watched a girl on Pointless when asked who did Lee Harvey Oswald shoot in Dallas answer – “JR” I kid you not.

          • carl jacobs

            ROFL.

          • Dreadnaught

            Totally true. Pointless is a tv quiz show here, if you didn’t recognise the reference.

          • carl jacobs

            I figured as much. It still was hilarious.

          • Dreadnaught

            She wasn’t alone; her partner was asked who did Charlotte Corday murder in a bath and answered Joan of Arc – you couldn’t make this stuff up!

          • carl jacobs

            That’s a little more understandable. I reasoned the answer must be Marat because:

            1. French woman
            2. Murder
            3. Victim in a bath.

            But I wouldn’t have known the name without looking it up.

          • Dreadnaught

            I knew it from a tableau I saw in Mme Tussaud’s many years ago.

        • Inspector General

          Suspect most English folk haven’t heard of Arbroath…

          • Royinsouthwest

            That is what I was complaining about!

          • Inspector General

            They have a football team, don’t they?

          • Royinsouthwest

            I think so. Probably with a Scottish goalkeeper too!

          • CliveM

            Just. A long time ago I worked with someone who had played for Arbroath. Seemed to be able to keep his feet in the ground………snort.

          • … Smokies.

        • Martin

          Roy

          All that my children were taught was WWII.

        • Old Nick

          The result of a tussle between two lots of Scotch nobles, one lot of which was unable to engage the sympathy of its English neighbours.

      • Dominic Stockford

        They were wrong about that, as they are about most things…

    • Inspector General

      You mean racial difficulties then, Carl. One agrees with you.

      • carl jacobs

        Is that what I was talking about? Who’da thunk it.

        • Inspector General

          Anyway, the British Empire administered Arabs. Couldn’t do much else with them, really. Certainly not capable of democracy. As we know…

          • carl jacobs

            I could be wrong, but didn’t that attitude once apply to the Irish as well?

          • Still does given the outcome of their recent referendum.

          • carl jacobs

            What? You think the outcome would have been different in England? You deceive yourself. The vote is a manifestation of the religion that has run rampant through the west – the worship of Self.

          • Then perhaps the West is unfit for democracy …. apart from a few countries who are doing their best to hold out.

          • grutchyngfysch

            Even kings will bow if the people demand it with sufficient ferocity or fervour. I would say rather that democracy is unfit for sinners but, as in so many things, we have more than we deserve and learn the truth of that only once we have it no longer.

            The eternal beauty of the Gospel, of course, is that it points to Truth in all His splendour whether one witnesses in a democracy or a tyranny. All crowns will end at His feet.

          • Inspector General

            Not really…

          • carl jacobs

            Pretty sure I’m right.

          • Inspector General

            No. No you’re not…

          • carl jacobs

            Pretty sure there wasn’t Irish home rule in the 19th century.

          • CliveM

            Well universal sufferage was pretty much limited to the aristocracy. So Ireland wasn’t particularly discriminated against.

          • carl jacobs

            But the Inspector is of Irish descent. Substitute the word ‘Arabs’ for ‘Irish’ and the Inspector could have written that quote by Disraeli. I am sure you can see the difficulty this presents to his position.

            Petard. Hoisted.

          • Inspector General

            Isn’t there something you could be doing around the house, Carl….

          • CliveM

            It has to be said the English aristocracy was contemptuous of everyone but the English aristocracy!

            The Inspecters views on race are ‘Interesting’. I do wonder how considering the genocidal nature of European history over the last hundred or so years, how we can be too judgemental about the ‘other races’.

          • Inspector General

            It does seem wrong, Clive, that entire populations of countries can be damned by the people therein. That they all to one degree or another operate at a certain frequency not in tune with the ideals the West have. So, we attribute to them racial identity as we must to make sense of it all.

            As one says, it doesn’t seem right or fair, but there it is…

          • bockerglory

            Too true. My ancestors were all labourers to the Norman Aristocracy and lived short hard lives with no chance of voting ever. It was only their faith in Christ that allowed them to endure and flourish knowing that Christ whilst on earth was not of the ruling class. My grandmothe in service noted that the idle boted aristos were sex obsessed and many did not care who or with what they had sex withwith – hence many were syphillitic and on one hand homosexual but always had a wife to produce an heir. This class are now our politicians hence their obsession with sexual liberty -, for most of us working and rearing children is exhausting

          • Old Nick

            Members of the aristocracy, by definition, have no vote in elections to the House of Commons

          • CliveM

            I know. I was simply pointing out that power was tightly controlled by a powerful elite and also the lack of political power of the masses wasn’t limited to Ireland.

          • Inspector General

            Ireland did have its own parliament.

          • CliveM

            It was disbanded 31st December 1800.

          • carl jacobs

            What were the Irish fighting for then? And what did they get in 1920?

            British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli stated publicly, “The Irish hate our order, our civilization, our enterprising industry, our pure religion. This wild, reckless, indolent, uncertain and superstitious race have no sympathy with the English character. Their ideal of human felicity is an alternation of clannish broils and coarse idolatry. Their history describes an unbroken circle of bigotry and blood.”

            Thomas Cahill (1995).
            “How the Irish Saved Civilization”
            Doubleday
            p. 6 ISBN 0-385-41849-3.

            Hrmmm. Who does that sound like?

          • Inspector General

            The Irish were fighting in 1920 for the same thing they were fighting for through Parnell. Devolution. That the English couldn’t keep it real was down to the likes of Disraeli. You can’t blame Disraeli, of Jewish stock, though. He was only spouting the English establishment’s line…

          • carl jacobs

            He was only spouting the English establishment’s line…

            Isn’t that where I came in?

    • Anton

      Carl, you are totally right. Well said! I try to explain why I think you are right in a fairly long post above.

  • Royinsouthwest

    Nye Bevan, the founder of the National Health Service, always used to tell young MPs: “Always try and attack the strongest points in your opponent’s argument.”

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/news-opinion/anniversary-welsh-heroism-non-doms-mutually-9020565

    The reason for Bevan’s advice was obvious. If you can make a convincing replying to the strongest points in your opponent’s arguments you will win the debate.

    Can anyone remember defenders of the Human Rights Act ever attacking the strongest points in the arguments against the Act? Can anyone remember defenders of the Act ever addressing any criticisms of the Act at all?

    The only arguments in favour of retention that I have ever read or heard on TV are :

    1. If you are against the Act you must be against human rights.

    2. If Britain repeals the Act we will be setting a bad example to Russia and other countries where democracy is under severe restrictions.

    I have never heard or read of a defender of the Act replying to criticisms of the way in which it is used for the benefit of foreign murderers, rapists and other criminals and to the detriment of their British victims. If they did have convincing arguments to such criticisms they would make sure we heard them, as Aneurin Bevan advocated. The fact that they ignore such arguments strongly suggests the defenders of the Act simply have no answer to the criticisms of its drawbacks.

    Furthermore the defenders of the Human Rights Act are often lawyers who have a vested interest in keeping it. A high proportion of our MPs are lawyers by profession and therefore they are unlikely to derail the gravy train.

    If Parliament was full of engineers and our bridges kept collapsing and our planes crashing then serious questions would be asked of the engineering profession. However when lawyers-turned-MPs pass disastrous legislation like the Human Rights Act the legal profession gets off scot free. This should change.

    • CliveM

      Agreed, the legal profession need to start to be held to account.

      After all isn’t it a Human Right to have a say in those who rule over us!!

  • not a machine

    Quite a good article , I must admit not my field , but I get the idea that there is something about our heritage and way of doing things that the human rights bill does not and cannot do . Second to last paragraph had balanced thinking. I suppose we shall have a debate to look forward to. The nay sayers of course see the human rights act as triumph and it will be the effectiveness (costs and improvements of things being a bit less tortalogical and the effect upon this gravy train ). I think the public hold the law as valuable , but as one acquaintance recently had to face in an ordinary civil matter a letter to be sent at £1500 , means that for some court is the sport of the rich , rather than the poor , quick and effective service .
    to be blunt the cost and complexity of legal matters (and I know the legal service is being targeted by the computer age) will end up being shunted away and out of reach from the very people it is supposed to serve.
    Obviously outcomes before going court are important and for me I perhaps look forward to some changes , and some considerations from the legal system , to speak and inform there clients so that it remains a living thing . I am mindful that a few in the legal system have committed crimes in their profession and perhaps we might see something of thought in this area , to stop the sort of ruinous contracts in PFI we have seen or that often big sink for clients in having boundry disputes and expense between lawyers when some sort , arbitration may cost less.
    I am not against the legal profession being “middle class” so to speak , I have met some lawyers who treat you very well as clients with good advice , and not the beginning of a bill you cannot see the end of , because you simply don’t understand what the law informs or tries to resolve .
    If the law in a mosaic sense is to lift you out of slavery and its co relationship then whatever Mr Gove has in mind must not forget ,it made the people of Israel and not the EU

  • Anton

    “Michael Gove sees the Human Rights Act as philosophical heresy”

    That is halfway there, at least. How many times does it have to be said that HUMAN RIGHTS DON’T EXIST? People should of course treat each other well, but “human rights” are not the reason why. There are only civil rights.

    The decisive argument against human rights is logical/philosophical and has nothing to do with the religious faith of the arguer – although there are some further arguments that Christians will appreciate. Consider a State that recognises human rights. Criminals who break its laws don’t stop being human, so they still have human rights. But punishment for doing evil involves violating their human rights. By that State’s own ideology it is therefore wrong for it to punish criminals. That’s crazy; sanctions against criminals are necessary. (Prisoners cannot sue such States for loss of freedom, but that is just power being wielded and there is no consistency in the prohibition.) So the very idea of human rights is incoherent. The concept cannot be rescued by speaking
    of ‘conditional human rights’, for that phrase is a contradiction in terms. Human rights are conditional only on being human. There is no such incoherency with civil rights: a State grants them, and it can take them away from any individual who transgresses its laws.

    God gave Moses a code of law for the Israelites, and the laws governing relations between persons were based on respect for the image of God in every person. But there is no covenant in the Bible in which God granted every man and woman ‘rights.’ In 18th century Europe the French Revolutionaries and writers such as Tom Paine proclaimed the inherent ‘rights of man’, but (as Burke recognised) they did not find any logical basis for the idea. When secular people are asked where human rights come from, they say that people have them because they are human. If you ask them to fill out the word ‘because,’ they say that it is self-evident. But it is not self-evident to people from cultures that have had no exposure to the Bible – who regard it as self-evident that the wealthy and powerful should have more civil rights than others. The Quran and Hadith assert that Muslims should have more rights. What, according to scripture, does every human being have simply by being human? The answer is the image of God. Obviously the idea of human rights is an incoherent carry-over of the notion of the image of God. (The mediaeval Catholic notion of ‘natural rights’ is subject to the same criticism as human rights.)

    There are also specifically Christian arguments against human rights. Bad things happen to people even though God is all-powerful and good because God gives people choices between good and evil, and we habitually choose evil. If God has given us human rights then, because he is all-seeing and all-powerful, he is able to safeguard those rights moment-by-moment, unlike the State which can only punish violators retrospectively. Since God clearly does not safeguard them, he shares responsibility for their violation. So any Christian who believes in human rights should condemn God as a gross human rights violator. Good luck with that. Moreover, as well as the image of God every human being has sin today. For people who deserve hell to talk about their intrinsic rights is hubris; to talk to God about them is gross impertinence.

    Which rights trump which when they clash cannot be resolved by logic, because human rights are by definition absolute. Such clashes again show the incoherence of the concept. Human rights get ranked in practice by the power politics of competing interest groups. It is right for people to treat each other well, but human rights are not the reason why and the idea is not leading to a contented society.

    When a State declares certain things to be human rights then it has a duty to recognise them. Arguably it also gains a responsibility to provide them, which is partly why government is becoming intrusive and why houses and food are chucked at people who show no inclination to work. In handing out tax revenues the government desperately needs to distinguish between the deserving poor and the undeserving poor.

    • Orwell Ian

      Your penultimate paragraph rightly highlights the competition that exists in the arena of Human Rights and neatly exposes that the whole concept is far from what it purports to be. Greater rights for some are invariably achieved at the expense of reduced protection for others. It is not impossible that a successful campaign for the “right to die” could tragically result in the obligation of a “duty to die” for those that are a burden to their families and the State.

    • dannybhoy

      Very well put Anton.
      “So the very idea of human rights is incoherent.”
      In the first place the idea of human rights presupposes that all peoples of earth hold the same beliefs about humanity – manifestly untrue.
      The incoherence is caused by applying a set of laws/principles based on humanistic notions of the rights of the individual, without reference to their responsibilities or obligations.
      In fact it is a manifestation of the rebellious spirit of man; who would be his own god with his own laws and his right to excuse himself for breaking them.

    • grutchyngfysch

      Christian morality doesn’t long survive the absence of Christian metaphysics. There’s virtually none of the latter left at the level of the state, and even (and increasingly) in mainstream churches. Absolute human rights are simply the Imago Dei perverted to the Imago Hominis.

  • Malcolm Smith

    What does he mean, “replace it with a British Bill of Rights”? There has been a British Bill of Rights since 1689.

    • Anton

      Surely an English Bill of Rights only at that date?

      Incidentally I’ve just seen it as part of the exhibition at the British Library to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Magna Carta. This exhibition is superb and remains open until the beginning of September.

  • Old Blowers

    This post by HG is probably now no longer topical as Davey boy has announced delaying getting rid of the human rights act!

    “The Government will instead announce a consultation, which is unlikely to begin until September. ”

    Well, you can hardly abolish them if you are secretly trying your damnedest to stay in the EU, despite stating the obvious to the electorate, can you. You cannot get rid of the Human Right Act if you are not leaving…

    Get a load of this old tosh gushed by Mr Slither but first have the slow movement of Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 (Hovis advert) playing in the background, for that big society atmosphere ”

    “Behind this Queen’s Speech is a clear vision for what our country can be,” Mr Cameron said. “A country of security and opportunity for everyone, at every stage of life.

    “That is our ambition. To build a country where whoever you are and wherever you live you can have the chance of a good education, a decent job, a home of
    your own and the peace of mind that comes from being able to raise a
    family and enjoy a secure retirement.

    “A country that backs those who work hard and do the right thing.”

    What a pretentious plonker!!!

    • IanCad

      “You cannot get rid of the Human Right Act if you are not leaving…”

      Exactly the case. The chains forged by Heath will be welded by Cameron if this idiotic referendum goes ahead.

    • Anton

      Steady on Blowers; it could be a consultation over the details of how to junk the HRA rather than a consultation on whether to junk it. Do read the small print before Blowing off. But if it proves to be the latter then you are, if anything, understating it. Mr Cameron broke his promise about immigration during his previous 5 years as PM, because to keep it would have meant breaking his word to the EU – a fact he never publicly admitted but which Nigel Farage continually highlighted. It is still the case that his promises about immigration are empty for that reason. We can turn back EU would-be migrants only by either abrogating the terms of our EU member ship or by ceasing to be a member State. (Of course we could always reduce our benefits, to reduce incentive to come here and save a few bob at the same time, and we don’t need Brussels’ permission to reduce Commonwealth immigration, but will David Cameron prove he is something more than Blair Lite now that he is shot of the LibDems?)

      If anybody is wondering, by the way, why Tony Blair shifted the highest judicial authority from the House of Lords to a Supreme Court, it was to further the separation between legislature and judiciary as according to the continental model and make eventual integration easier into an EU superstate.

  • Martin

    Shouldn’t that read “a ‘Christian’ social-media detachment” or even drop the word Christian altogether?

  • Hi

    They should amend the bits which cause outage (e.g. the pampering of terrorists and the prisoners being able to vote) . In any good society, we don’t just have rights but responsibilities, so the title should be amended as such. As to what these rights and responsibilities should be, this should be the subject of nation debate. But they shouldn’t be imposed or imported by foreign legislation and foreign courts. Britain’s tradition is the rule of law, not rule by law.

  • Richard Watson

    I love the way everyone calls it “Labour’s Human Rights Act”, not the UK’s implementation of the (then, at least) Conservative-backed ECHR.

  • Richard Watson

    Some odd things being said by folks here. Like:

    “If we don’t like the outcome of a court case, we should just fire the judges”.

    or

    “We should be able to send people away to be tortured, because we disagree with them”.

    or

    “Our Judaeo-Christian culture is more important than people being treated fairly and equally”.

    Rather than have some kind of semantic discussion about whether these are Human or Civil rights or British or European or which judges should be involved, we should be having a conversation about what we actually want from the European courts and our own government, and seeing what can be made to “work”.

    The ECHR was a response to the atrocities committed in WWII and thereabouts. It makes for some hard cases, but on the whole I’d rather have someone above our government looking out for us.

    If Mr Cameron comes up with a stonking British Bill of Rights then I will be the first to back it, but it doesn’t need to be at the expense of what we currently have.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Are you a lawyer? You have totally ignored the criticisms of the Act. You are obviously very concerned with the “rights” of rapists, murderers and other criminals and don’t give a damn about their victims. I suppose it’s fine if the victims are members of other people’s families and not your own.

      We have fewer rights under now than we did before. The Human Rights Act does not stop bakers from being forced to bake cakes with slogans supporting causes they strongly object to (that will probably change after someone asks a Muslim baker to make a cake with a cartoon depicting Mohammed). It does not stop British citizens from being extradited abroad for things that would not be an offence in this country.

      • Richard Watson

        No, I’m (thankfully) not a lawyer.

        Please substantiate your accusation that I “don’t give a damn” about victims of crime.

        The criticisms of the Act are generally based on specific outcomes that people don’t like. What’s not considered is the broader application of the law and not having to go to the actual European Court to have your case considered under ECHR.

        Your main point seems to be that there are issues that should be covered. There’s nothing like a populist case such as a baker forced to make a cake that makes people rally around a cause. I would say to you, read the actual details of the case. The judgement was, I believe (and as I’ve pointed out, I’m not a lawyer) incorrect, and should be appealed against. There’s quite a good analysis here: http://www.psephizo.com/sexuality-2/the-gay-cake-ruling/ . The judgement rests on the idea that all homosexual people would be pro same-sex marriage. As we know that’s a flawed assumption. So, regardless of the HRA, this was a bad decision.

        I’m completely with you on issues around extradition. I would support further legislation to stop those extraditions. The HRA doesn’t stop that, but it least it stops us from being extradited to countries where we might face torture or execution.

  • CliveM

    One of the most risible tactics of those opposed to the repealing of the HR Act will be the attempt to some how equate Hitlers rise to the absence of such an act in 1930’s Germany. The implication being that by abandoning the act we will risk descending into genocidal fascism!!!

    Who is stupid enough to believe that Hitler would have been halted by such an act? That the camps would have been shut, or the Zyclon B production halted?

    Surely the lesson to be learnt by the rise of Hitler are the dangers of a ruling elite (like our judiciary) contemptuous of the populous and arrogant enough to believe it can be ignored? Such a situation leads to just the alienation that Hitler was to feed upon.

  • grutchyngfysch

    You know what’s going to happen if this passes. The same thing that happened when Gove brought “back” British values in Education. There will be a six-week period where the Daily Mail, Spectator and the Telegraph gush over how incredible he is, and then it will swiftly become apparent that the agents of the state are enforcing the new powers, except in a rather different direction.

    Or it will be like the “tackling fundamentalism” legislation that Theresa May periodically throws about like confetti. Is it used to tackle Islamic fundamentalism? Is it heck. It’s used to permanently no-platform and excise those “dangerous” fundamentalists who hate the gays or oppose “reproductive rights”.

    It’ll be the same with this. The level of scrutiny will ensure that the powers enshrined in the law are sufficiently similar to the existing legislation so as to make the exercise pointless, except in one regard: it will ultimately prove to be yet more fodder to the Neo-Orthodoxy. At this point, if it passes, I’ll be counting down the days until I end up being arrested under the “British Bill of Rights”.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      I do, wonder though, what Gove was thinking when he said he would rather his children were reading Middlemarch than something popular and modern.

      Wasn’t George Eliot one of those who started the trend for thinking that the forces of conservatism are all hypocritical?

      • grutchyngfysch

        Gove, fundamentally, is more New Labour than he is conservative – although, to be fair, it’s always been difficult to tell New Labour and the Conservatives apart on many issues.

  • I wonder if I’m the only one who’s eyes glaze over before reading about the subject.

    I say this, because I already know that it’s a fake row.

    A real row about human rights would begin with the right to not have your life ended in the womb. The right to actually be alive.

    But, the modern Conservative Party doesn’t care about this. It’s adopted the left’s outlook on social issues, in detail, line by line, on all things of this kind. Their “human rights” include the rights for the strong to end the lives of the weak, as long as the weak are so weak that they can’t protest at all.

    To be sure, perhaps its position on some of the more minor issues is better than others. Perhaps. But if we really care about human rights, then there’s little hope to be had from the modern Conservative Party. They’re re-arranging the deck-chairs so that people can enjoy the view better as the ship goes down.

  • avi barzel

    Bravo, Your Grace!