I've been watching the recent attacks on the Human Rights Legislation with bemusement.
Surely people can see that one hard case isn't enough to overturn such legislation? The history of the bill is that following WW2, Winston Churchill promoted it for Europe, and it was only recently adopted in the UK. Laws should be made coolly, in rational times - tough cases like the Afghan Hijackers rarely make for good laws.
Yes, hijacking planes is not a good thing, and should not be encouraged - but the decisions on individual cases is best left up to individual judges - the media and much less the general public, know all the pertinant facts.
According to a 'leaked' (yeah, right) letter to the latest Home Office bruiser-in-chief, Mr. Blair is apparently urging a watering down of his own Human Rights Act:
That could involve new legislation to overrule human rights judgments by the courts. Mr Blair has asked the Home Secretary, John Reid, to "ensure that the law-abiding majority can live without fear".
I for one would be fearful of an executive that could arbitrarily overturn judicial decisions which in turn are based upon the law of the land.
This is wrong on so many counts - quite apart from anything else it's in response to pressure from, primarily, the Sun. Murdoch's finest tabloid rag is swinging slowly behind the Dave Cameron bandwagon, and the chubby-cheeked chameleon duly obliged them with, effectively, a restatement of the Tory position from the last election (well he wrote it) that the Act would be reformed or scrapped. The Sun's position is rather less subtle:
THOUSANDS of Sun readers have voted to scrap the Human Rights Act...Last night the Government was trying to wriggle out of the shambles. PM Tony Blair and Home Secretary John Reid raised the prospect the law may have to be tightened. But the rattled pair tried to blame judges for Labour's bungle in introducing the 1998 Act.
Thousands of Sun Readers have a keen interest in Big Brother.....
The Sun is also insinuating that the ECHR is the fault of the European Union (it's not, it's the fault of Sir Winston Churchill), that it came in in 1998 (no, 1953) and that the non-deportation of foreigners is due to the Act (it isn't, it's either due to a ruling of the European Court of Human Rights or, of course, Home Office incompetence).
That, indeed, is the nub here. When the Home Office breaks its own laws, or fails to run itself competently, or fails to provide sufficient resources to educate its staff or track terrorist suspects that's not the fault of judges, Liberty, the EU or for that matter the late Sir Winston and the solution can only come from internal reform of the department. For that matter, reform of the UK's foreign policy would help us live free from fear, but I bet Dr. Reid won't be recommending that.
That last point was my issue with the Clarke fiasco, with the cartoon demonstrations, with so many other issues - this government does not need more powers, it never has. It needs to use the powers it had.
A commenter points out that News International (owners of 'The Sun' who are sabre rattling about removing Human Rights) have themselves benefited from the Human Rights Act
Another commenter also refers to Tony Blair signing an anti-animal rights extremist petition. This raises the same thought I had... who's the petition going to? The same commenter says: Secondly, blaming the ECHR is a complete cop out. If the Blair government keeps breaking it with ill considered laws, they should take responsibility.