So, the Tories are still on this kick about abolishing the Human Rights Act (story).
The thing is, that the 1998 Act is not so easily taken out of existing UK Law. I know that DC claims to have a load of experts ready to dissect and remove this ‘foreign’ legislation, but they can’t. If they can, they’ll undo a lot more than just the last 8 years’ worth.
Why? Well, the 1998 Act incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into Law. However, it had already been heavily influencing our law, as since its inception in 1950, the Council of Europe (not the same thing as the EU) has been the main body looking after Rights law. And several times the UK Government was taken to the European Court of Human Rights – and it lost.
Not only is it logistically difficult, not only is it nothing to do with the EU, but it’s actually a betrayal of Tory values.
Why? Well, who was the man who made the call for the Council of Europe? Why it was that great 20th Century hero of Conservatism, Winston Churchill.
As it is, the ECHR is more lenient than the UN Human Rights aims, and we can hardly condemn countries like Cuba and Zimbabwe for their abuses of human rights if we are rolling back our own.
The main issue that DC is addressing is the idea that the ‘victims’ of the rights culture are ordinary people, and that criminals etc are using the Human Rights Act to gain things they shouldn’t have. Now, instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, what is wrong with actually using the Act to push the balance back? Already the family of a murder victim are trying to sue under the Act because the killer was released early. If they succeed, then surely the HRA has actually done what the Tories claim it does not – recognise everybody’s rights.
Anyway, I’d love to see what the Tories proposed ‘British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities’ would contain if it can’t ever be used by people who the majority of people in the UK don’t really like (travellers, immigrants, petty criminals). Will it be like the Magna Carta, which was great for establishing the rights of people who already had them (the gentry), but did little for those who needed them (the peasantry)?
Like a lot of current stuff from DC, is this posturing to try and build support, or is it a real policy – and which is the more worrying?