John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Sunday, June 25, 2006
  More vacuous nonsense from David Cameron
In the simplistic world of PR the "Human Rights Act" works to undermine all the actions of the government in taking "action" to deal with security.

The first point is that you cannot have security without justice and to simply revert to a form of society without the "rule of law" where people are guilty because Tony says so is not a more secure society.

The second point is that before the 1998 Act there were similar rights in English common law that could quite easily be enforced.

The third point is that many of the cases cited arguing for the repeal of the act are actually not based upon the act.

What the act does is to codify the situation and give a much clearer position than the previous situation. The European Convention itself was based upon the UN Declaration and involved Britons in its writing and relates not to the European Union, but instead the Council of Europe.

The tories seem to want a "British Bill of Rights". Well, there is one of those which was passed in 1688 (or 1689 if you prefer). The fact is that the ECHR is actually British and codifies much of the traditional British Common Law rights.

David Cameron's quotation:
Why not try and write our own British bill of rights and responsibilities, clearly and precisely into law.
Shows that not only his gramatical ability is constrained, but also his logic is constrained.

Still the one thing I have learnt from being elected to parliament is that the debates are generally quite badly informed. The power of the whips means that generally MPs don't try to really understand and consider issues being debated. Most information is sourced second or third hand rather than going back to the original sources. This means that major debates (such as the recent one on 90 day incarceration without charge) actually end up missing the point to a great extent.

The Hansard Society are discussing the failure of scrutiny in the House of Commons. To me it is very clear why scrutiny substantially fails. That is because the government don't answer questions properly.
 
Comments:
Interestingly, one of the draftsmen for the ECHR went on to become a Conservative Lord Chancellor (Lord Kilmuir)
 
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