Politics, human rights, popular culture: in all these aspects of life in the UK, we seem to be at odds with our relationship with our continental friends.
Having barely scraped back into Downing Street after fighting one of the dirtiest election campaigns in British political history, the Cameron cabinet is now putting the final touches on a Queen's speech that is likely to unveil one of the most radical - and dangerous - agendas that any government has sought to push through in decades. Now that the Tories are off the leash, the rights we take for granted every day - rights to privacy and free speech included - are under threat. Repealing the Human Rights Act and threatening to withdraw from the ECHR could well be nothing more than a warm-up act.
With the election of a fresh Conservative government what better time to re-write, what those on the continent call, the 'Human Rights Act'. I don't know about you, but there is no one I trust more than the party that has, in the past 5 years, marched over 900,000 adults and children to food banks, to create an independent 'British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities'. I mean, nothing says 'dignity for all' like relying on the generosity of others to feed your children.
David Cameron, Chris Grayling and apparently now Michael Gove feel we'd be better off if we axed an act that's held the powerful to account over and over again, and instead allowed those with a vested interest in keeping their power unchecked to limit when and to whom human rights apply. Funny that... If you've been paying attention to party spin recently, you'll have seen our HRA suddenly rechristened "Labour's" Human Rights Act. So it's worth clearing up at the start that it was passed in 1998 with overwhelming cross-party support and Tory leadership endorsement. It was a long-held ambition of the Society of Conservative Lawyers.
Labour will defend the public's right to stand up to the powerful. We'll protect our human rights legislation. We'll restore judicial review to its rightful constitutional position. Charities will be released from the undemocratic shackles of the Lobbying Act. And we'll widen access to justice, to ensure that everyone has access to legal representation regardless of personal wealth.
The Conservatives have so far refrained from fully 'weaponizing' the Human Rights Act in the election and the prospect of repeal in the next Parliament is scant. But it is still vital to speak out about the role of the Act in protecting vulnerable people including torture survivors seeking sanctuary in this country.
When you've worked more or less full time as a barrister specialising in human rights law, it's often rather puzzling to hear that the HRA seems to cause so much anger. It's not unlike the puzzlement I feel when I hear some Americans ranting against the idea of free healthcare for all.
Police must protect people's right not to suffer from inhuman or degrading treatment and serious crimes inflict just that. This rule will be there to help children in Rotherham to make the police investigate abuse and not neglect it as they did in the past.
Politicians in the UK are gearing up for next year's general election. Certain issues are already dividing the battleground, with one issue being proposed as a vote winner by the party in power, the Conservatives. That issue is the scrapping of the loved and loathed Human Rights Act (HRA)...
It should be a source of pride, not rage, that we, as a nation, hold ourselves to the highest standards when it comes to respecting the inherent value of the human. The idea of human rights embodies the principal that people are more important than ideologies. If he hopes history to remember him with any fondness, David Cameron would do well to remember that maxim.
With the next UK general election now a mere eight months away, the stakes could not be higher. The prospect of another five years of the Tories in power, and worse a Tory majority government, is a chilling one. The time has come to consign not only this government of the rich, and by the rich to history, but also the ideology of greed, selfishness, and avarice that underpins it.
The 1980s was a watershed decade. From the perspective of human rights, it was the decade when the United Kingdom (UK) began the process towards the successful shift from a system of government premised principally on civil liberties to one that recognised that the human rights of all within the jurisdiction also needed to be promoted and protected.
As the former attorney general, Dominic Grieve, has said, this would be an utterly puerile way for the United Kingdom to conduct itself on the international stage... David Cameron and his fellow Tories often like to pay homage to Winston Churchill and the war-time generation, yet in their deeds they seem determined to take an axe to the treaties, the courts and institutions that were their legacy. Any party that believes that trading in not just our fundamental rights but our place in the post-1945 international order just to hoover up a few votes off Ukip in the Clacton by-election is not fit for office.
Human rights exist for all human beings. It should not be in the gift of government to decide whether to apply them to person A or person B. These proposals set Britain back on a path to the first half of the 20th Century...
At a fundamental level, human rights are an assertion of protection from the government and a claim for the protection of the government. Power has the potential for good and ill, which is why power must be regulated and laden with responsibility.
Across the UK, children have been the biggest winners, their lives having been transformed on every level by the HRA. Victims of crime and sex offences in particular have also been significant beneficiaries of the HRA. And the other identifiable group whose lives have been altered beyond recognition has been the gay and lesbian community.