The Blog

Attention All Liberals and Scaremongers: The Human Rights Act is a Piece of Parchment

I'm pretty sure that a piece of parchment in the HOC library wasn't much of a deterrent anyway. Please learn the difference between your human rights, and the Human Rights Act. Or I will take them from you. Kidding.

Thank god I was born in 1997. I only had to endure 10 months of the primitive, barbaric, medieval world that existed before the messiah (Tony Blair) came to us and graced us with the Human Rights Act. Don't know what I'm on about? Haven't your parents ever told you the terrifying tales of our one party state? How they were exiled for thought crimes on a routine basis? And how they were denied their fundamental right to a family life? Still lost... Probably because those days didn't exist, contrary to the scaremongering propaganda spewed out by the left wing media and the Lib Dem press office.

New Labour's dodgy, poorly drafted and politically motivated manifesto promise - you heard me Peter Mandelson - should not be interpreted as a turning point in the progression of our society. We Brits developed our widely admired and revered qualities of tolerance and compassion all on our own, no thanks to any one superficial act of Parliament.

Contrary to the common misconception, Labour's Human Rights Act is not 'the same thing' as the 1952 European Convention on Human Rights, of which I am by no means undermining the significance. Whilst the ECHR was conjured up after the most catastrophic misuse of state power in history, the HRA was created to get Tony Blair votes and to help him salvage the decayed remains of New Labour's socialist support base. Interestingly, the European Convention was in fact initiated by Churchill, so tough cheese for all those who think that the abolishment of human rights has always been top of the Conservative party shopping list - second only to privatising everything that moves and eating impoverished children.

In my opinion the ECHR was, and still is, a brilliant and pivotal piece of legislation, which serves as a landmark in the development of global democracy. By no means would I ever advocate the abolishment of this, nor do I support calls from the far right to terminate our membership of the convention completely.

However, the unnecessary shackles the 1998 Human Rights Act impose on the British justice system have signed away our judiciary's sovereignty, and infringe the courts ability to be flexible and consider cases on a individual basis. Of course our judges must, as they do already, make human rights a priority when making judgements, which was proven recently in NI's infamous 'gay cake' row; but in cases where our country and the safety of our peoples are put at risk, a panel of middle aged men in Strasbourg should not have the final say.

Take the case of R v Secretary of State for the Home Department 2004 (yes it does involve a terrorist who couldn't be deported, no I am not a member of UKIP). A man proven to have been plotting and encouraging acts of terrorism could not be deported as he was wanted for even graver crimes in his native country, for which he would have been subjected to 'inhumane and degrading' treatment had he returned. The defendant subsequently stayed in the UK, fell of GCHQ's radar, and got up to god knows what with god knows who. But hey, at least the guy with no respect for British people's humans rights was able to escape, and probably commit if not encourage further acts of terrorism, with all his rights still intact. If you listen closely, you can just about hear the distant sound of Winston Churchill turning in his grave.

This post may sound entirely ambivalent - and if you haven't trailed off having wrongly concluded that I'm a mad right-wing racist then thank you, but I do have a point (promise). Though the annunciation of a 'British Bill of Rights' was undoubtedly a coup to snatch back the super patriotic Tory-UKIP defectors, the Human Rights Act does need reform - if not replacement.

I don't mean reform in terms of its content, the articles should principally remain as they are, but it needs amending in terms of procedure. The devil in specs Michael Gove needs to kiss and make up with Theresa May and create a bill that both protects our human rights- though, may I reiterate that they weren't ever actually under threat - whilst speaking sense; and preventing the decisions of British judges becoming subordinate to those of their remote counterparts in the ECJ.

Had the 2015 Tory manifesto simply entitled the HRA replacement 'the British Bill of Human Rights' I doubt all this unnecessary and disproportionate fuss would have erupted, though the Gastapo-style enforcers of political correctness would undoubtedly have still taken some offence to the term 'British'. The omission of a single word has been completely taken out of context and exploited by centre left parties and the likes of the New Statesman. In the run up to the election I honestly lost count of the number of Liberal minded cyber militants on my Twitter TL claiming that 'there's only X days left to save your human rights'. This type of scaremongering nonsense is almost laughable - and ineffective apparently, if the Lib Dem's electoral record is anything to go by.

The suggestion that taking the content of one piece of legalisation, and putting it into a new act, would eradicate and delegitimise it's content is absurd. When the Education Act, which consolidated the existing plethora of acts, by laws and regulations into a new statute, was created in 1996; did all schools, colleges and universities momentarily come to a standstill? No.

Reforming the HRA - whether by amending the existing 1998 act or creating a new statute altogether as the Tories have proposed - will not make any fundamental differences to our human rights. And those who claim that DC had no mandate to praise the Magna Carta on its 800 year anniversary are quite frankly insane, rude and worthy of being King John's groom of the stool (google it). Yes it was a little ironic timing wise, but do you really think the leader of a centre right, traditionally libertarian party (or a member of any 21st century party - minus the Communists - for that matter) aims to limit free speech, freedom of the press, and impose other extreme left, Stalinist style sanctions?

As a consequence of the ridiculous and deliberately misleading attacks from the media, the justice department must now delay and tread carefully in the largely administrative matter of improving a statutes efficiency; something that happens routinely in the judiciary without the public batting an eyelid.

So to those in denial, those who worship Shami Chakrabarti, or those who are just plain ignorant, Michael Gove (no matter what your mum says) does not want to take your human rights. You definitely will not be sold into slavery, you definitely won't now be imprisoned. And, on a far more positive note, if anyone wanted to do either of the above, I'm pretty sure that a piece of parchment in the HOC library wasn't much of a deterrent anyway. Please learn the difference between your human rights, and the Human Rights Act. Or I will take them from you. Kidding.