The UK Human Rights Act, enacted during the Blair government, was hailed as having brought ‘human rights home’. Today it remains a sacred piece of legislation. Any slight suggestion that the Human Rights Act is anything but good is seen as a modern form of blasphemy. Those who dare to utter such sacrilege will be metaphorically hung, drawn and quartered in the gallows of the liberal Twitter-courts.
The reason given at the time was that human rights claims had to go to the Strasbourg court, so the British government produced the Human Rights Act 1998 with a view to claims being brought before British courts; shortening the process and lowering the overall individual cost. A few terrorist deportation appeals and millions of pounds later and the Human Rights Act has certainly attained the unattainable. That is to be useless at protecting rights, yet untouchable.
We all know human rights were already well safeguarded in the United Kingdom long before 1998. Since December 16th 1689 to be precise, when England passed an Act of Parliament known as ‘the Bill of Rights’. This was well ahead of its time, since no other country, especially on the continent, had any such concept. It was England that pioneered habeas corpus, the right to remain silent, the presumption of innocence, the rule of law, and much more. The concept of being ‘Freeborn’ rose out of England, a concept based on the idea of negative liberties. On the continent, there was no understanding of this.
The Bill is still in force in most of the Commonwealth; countries that enjoy similar, if not a better quality of individual liberty and freedom than most European nations. It was even invoked in New Zealand in the 1976 case of Fitzgerald v Muldoon and Others.
The Conservative Party neglected to mention the Human Rights Act in their recent Conference, having previously sounded the bells for reform and making replacing it with a ‘Bill of Rights’ a flagship policy. It has now emerged that after a long, stony silence on the issue of a Bill of Rights, the government has decided that they will fast track a Bill of Rights through Parliament.
Good news? Well, yes in one sense. In another sense, it demonstrates a common trend in successive government policies in the United Kingdom. That trend is one of ‘redefinition’; ultimately, this is not about rights or liberties, it is about redefining those eternal freedoms to suit the policies of the day.
The real question is why?
Why do the Conservatives engage in this pseudo-patriotic posturing, trying to give the impression they are all for a British Bill of Rights, when they would solve the issue by repealing the Human Rights Act and instead talking about the Bill of Rights we already have in place in English law? Is it that the Conservative Party are patriotic? Eurosceptic? Or, is it really, about doing whatever possible to distract us from the fact we already have a perfectly good, legally valid Bill of Rights, by presenting us with a cheap, trumped up version of the Human Rights Act which has served no real purpose in protecting anyone but criminals?
Is it about saying; “Look, we have a patriotic Bill of Rights, inspired by those wonderful ‘European’ values!” When in reality, it’s about whitewashing the fact these freedoms descend from England, and are still there for us to use. I suspect the ‘new’ Bill will adopt an entirely foreign concept of liberty, inspired by the continental socialist republics and recovering communist or fascist states. After all, big ‘C’ in Number 10 will need a job after office. Why else would they have conveniently neglected to mention we already had a Bill of Rights, enforceable (and having been used recently) in law. It’s as if the government intend to create the illusion no such Bill ever existed.
The Human Rights Act did not bring rights home, but rather sent them abroad. This legislation enshrined the European Convention of Human Rights into domestic law so the centrepiece of human rights would become not the British constitution; the greatest and most fluid in the world, but the Court at Strasbourg. In essence, it was to contribute to the gradual change in allegiance, it was to make you forget that you had an even better set of rights, it was to serve as a means of making you all European so that you would see liberties as a European thing, not a British thing.
Britain had decided that despite being the pioneer of liberties, and drafting the European Convention, her better-qualified and more experienced judges were nonetheless not best placed to rule on such matters. Instead, a less qualified judge in a foreign court, on a continent that never understood nor recognised the idea of liberty, was more suitable. The EU’s attitude towards individual liberties means that the set up was akin to the clueless patient diagnosing the doctor, which explains the absurdities we often see.
If we want to ‘bring Human Rights home’, we would abolish the Human Rights Act and rather than replacing it with a ‘modern’ Bill, we would revert back to our original, timeless Bill of Rights. Sadly, many Britons have absolutely no idea about the existence of the Bill, or that action could already have been brought under it in court.
Understandable, since letting people know they already had these rights would undermine the rewriting of history.
If you despise healthy patriotism, and prefer Euro-nationalism, or if you are easily bought by Tory posturing, then it is only sensible that you would attribute the Bill of Rights’ achievements to the Human Rights Act or Tory Party. The liberal-elite doesn’t want to protect freedoms, which is why it doesn’t. Instead, they want an act that will divert your allegiance and appreciation away from your own national history, and misplace it onto a vacuous piece of statute. It is not a question of rights; it is a question of misplaced patriotism; of loyalty and allegiance.
It is a question of revising history and the very fundamentals of civilisation with it. Imagine if the EU or modern Tories could take the pride that Britons should have in creating the foundations of modern civilisation and the rule of law, and attribute that achievement to itself. This is literally, in the UK’s case, the only purpose that the Human Rights Act, or any similar invention created by a Europhile party serves.
The government will do all it can not to discuss out Constitution and the ancient Bill. Why? Because this timeless treasure would genuinely protect our liberties, and our freedoms. All of this would represent a real threat to greater integration into the EU and the slow deletion of our national history under the banner of ‘modernisation’ which serves to increase the size and power of the state.
In short, properly protecting your liberties, as Britain once did, is incompatible with the European Union and modern politics, this is evident by the leftist ideology that seeks to infringe on personal freedoms, freedom of conscience, speech and enjoyment of property. The Human Rights Act is a cheap knock-off of what the British once had, and it must be replaced.
However, why would we allow the very Europhiles who have spent years giving away our rights, to write up a new bill that will surely only be designed to distract us with a token gesture, from the much more valuable, real thing; the Bill of 1689. One problem however, is that even with the new Bill of Rights, Britain must remain signed up the European Convention as long as she is a member.
So which set of rights will trump which? I’m sure you can guess.