Daniel Hannan is a Conservative MEP at the European Parliament; he has done an article on Human Rights for the CAPX website.
So, let’s crack on regarding his pro scrapping of the Human Rights Act 1998 article and make some observations on his comments.
“What specific benefits accrue to the
as a result of our adherence to the European Convention on Human Rights? That
question ought to be our starting point, but it is almost never asked”.
Why should a Convention of Human Rights designed for the ‘benefit’ of citizens have included provisions to ‘buy off’ the member state?
I am asking him that question because I think that is important, does he think justice should be bought?
Daniel also writes:
“Were there habitual violations of civil freedoms before 1953 when the Convention entered into force? Were we deporting whole populations, expropriating our citizens without due process, throwing dissidents into internment camps? No? Then what is it we’re supposed to have gained?”
To the first part,
seems to be a good example of habitual violations of civil freedoms before
1953, other areas of British controlled jurisdiction like South Africa had concentration camps and then
there was India.
So domestically as well as internationally there is a history to be accounted
I am sure there is a Monty Python sketch in there somewhere along the lines of Life of Brian, ‘whose had their rights violated’, followed by many people reeling off names.
I am a big fan of the Human Rights Act 1998, and also the European Convention on Human Rights. The Conservatives wish to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights.
So, does the British Bill of Rights give us more rights, less rights or no change?
If the Bill gives us more rights, then surely the current Act could simply be amended, if it gives less rights or protection, why would anyone support it, or if it makes no difference who would support that either.
I think that many people must be of the conclusion that the British Bill of Rights gives people less protection. The Human Rights Act has a problem, that problem is some of the judgments have been perverse.
Incidentally Daniel isn’t calling for the removal of bad Judges because as part of the ‘establishment’, you don’t attack other members of the establishment. But removing poor people’s rights is another matter, that’s fair game.
And it is especially funny to couch it in terms of ‘standing up for Britain’.
I would say that in his argument Daniel has been quite clever, he invites people early on to believe that things were ‘okay’ in the past, so effectively take his word for it and continue reading, gloss over doing any research and buy into the concept, bad Human Rights Act.
Recently Conservative MP Charles Walker said something in the House of Commons:
“I would rather be an honourable fool, than a clever man”.
This is because William Hague, a former UK Government Minister tried to introduce measures behind Mr. Walker’s back to oust the current Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow.
It was a nasty shoddy trick unworthy of William Hague and certainly of a Government Minister because we expect better.
The footage is available online for those who wish to view it.
Bearing this in mind, Daniel Hannan stated:
“A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article in the Spectator backing the government’s policy of ensuring that, in the event of a conflict of jurisdiction, Parliament, rather than the Strasbourg Court, would have the final word”.
This is the nub of the matter; would you rather trust a Judge or an MP to uphold your rights?
I would say that most people would lean towards a Judge.
At present Amnesty International is campaigning against the scrapping of the Human Rights Act. They effectively seen as the establishment’s opposition but the reality, Amnesty International isn’t really for the people. The ones that run it are all connected to the same social circles as the people in power.
A conversation is ‘taking place’ but the public are excluded except of course when invited to agree with a ‘done deal’.
I have no respect for Amnesty International.
Daniel does point out that “a government cannot give human rights or take them away”, however, he then later goes onto talk about prisoner voting rights. A government cannot give human rights or take them away but they can ignore them for political purposes. Prisoners don’t get the vote, not for a legal reason but for political reasons of attempting to hold onto power.
If you can’t trust the government to uphold the law who can you trust?
is a law-based liberal democracy”.
In fact we are so ‘liberal’ we break the law, but that’s okay, also to cast back into history, why in a law-based liberal democracy did torture take place on
During the IRA bomb campaign on mainland
innocent people were convicted, and tortured to confess. In any organisation
there are bad people, but as people fought for the truth on behalf of the
innocent, the establishment closed ranks to cover that up.
is a law-based liberal democracy”.
The Shirley Mackie case in
Scotland, it took 9 years for
Shirley Mackie to get justice, again, another cover up by the establishment.
Individual cases which Daniel Hannan would simply dismiss and probably write
off as ‘one offs’, but everyone who is abused and mistreated is an individual
In Human Rights, a single person in the right has more credibility than 50, 100, 200, a million in the wrong.
When Daniel says:
“in the event of a conflict of jurisdiction, Parliament, rather than the
would have the final word”.
During the Westminster expenses scandal which hit the public domain circa 2008, a few MPs and Peers were tossed to the wolves to ‘buy off’ the public that something had been done, how many people not just lost faith but trust entirely in politicians?
I would venture a lot.
Politics is still in disrepute, the SNP has 56 MPs at
Westminster, not the
greatest thinkers, not fountains of knowledge or wisdom.
Does Daniel Hannan trust their judgment?
I have to say, he later on added a bit of comedy when he wrote:
“As I expected, the most common response to my column was the babyish one which even a surprising number of barristers adopt on this subject: “Why do you Tories have a problem with basic human rights?”
Not all Tories do have a problem with human rights, but I would imagine the obvious answer is two fold, firstly they are the power elite who work hand in glove with big business, and secondly they are rich. They can easily go to Court if their rights are abused because they can afford it; it is an entirely different matter for poor people who have seen access to justice restricted.
In the main, the real problem with the Human Rights Act 1998 is that politicians who Daniel Hannan seems to rely on to provide ‘best judgment’ allowed the Act to be vague and rather loose. Incidentally, there are many lawyers who have become MPs, and given the loopholes in tax avoidance etc exploited by other lawyers, maybe parties should ban lawyer MPs having any input in drafting legislation.
This won’t happen.
“All rights by definition apply to humans, since – unlike oysters or grasshoppers – we are legal persons, able to enter into relations with other persons mediated by the law”.
If you take that at face value then:
“What specific benefits accrue to the
as a result of our adherence to the European Convention on Human Rights?”
Isn’t a serious question!
The Campaign for Human Rights at