A short while ago Sue had a piece at her place about the human rights act, a judge’s decision to avoid deportation of an illegal immigrant, which set me to looking at it. Like most people, and as Cameron wants us to believe, I simply assumed it was some sort of left wing authoritarian charter to enshrine the most absurd legacy of political correctness and daft behaviour that penalised the majority.
But actually it isn’t. If anything it could go further, the right to public protest for example, and while I’m not sure about the absolute ban on the death penalty there is little in it that forces anyone to do anything they are unhappy about doing or that should stir up anyone’s ire.
For example: There is nothing there about having to supply illegal immigrants with multi million pound houses in London because of their right to family life. There is a simple requirement to respect and allow family life. I can’t argue with that, we should respect other peoples’ lives and families, and most of us naturally do so with no urging. But allowing or respecting it does not mean an obligation to create it, organise it and pay for it to happen in the most expensive borough of the country, or indeed in any particular country. There is a whole world of difference between respecting something and accepting full responsibility for it whatever the behaviour of the beneficiary. Almost everyone (politicians and the ultra rich excepted) is constrained by financial circumstances and work obligations as to how and where they can live.
There is nothing about votes for prisoners, justice and security are situations where some rights are suspended.
There is nothing about forcing people to have their religious views made subservient to other rights, for example a minister who opposes officiating at gay marriage. Just the opposite in fact, freedom of religious practice, its belief and practice is an expressly granted right and one right cannot be used to suppress another. On the face of it this makes UK anti-discrimination legislation to be in breach of EU justice law which upholds religious rights. One person refusing to carry out a particular activity does not prohibit the activity, as long as someone else will supply the service there is no blocking of rights.
It seems to me the entire system has been turned on its head by the interpretations handed down by the European Court of Justice and also by our own courts. The rights act should be providing positive rights and freedoms for people to prevent state control and oppression, but instead the freedoms have been turned inside out, to create personal restrictions and obligations which are then used against individuals to repress freedoms and install conformity.
In which case there is no point in throwing it away and having a new one as Cameron keeps wittering on and on about, or keeping it sacrosanct as Clegg insists, or even reverting to Magna Carta, because any replacement would be useless if applied in an equally skewed manner. It’s all pointless hot air if the agenda of the Powers That Be will be applied regardless of the wording of any law, which will be twisted to fit their agenda.