Saturday, 2 November 2013

Kicking The Arse Out Of Deja Vu...

The running sore that is the Human Rights Act and the European Court of Human Rights means there is more faux outrage from the Tories, and the Telegraph about it:
Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, slams 'unacceptable' interference by Strasbourg judges as one of Britain's most dangerous terrorists claims his rights were infringed
The inteference?
One of Britain’s most dangerous al-Qaeda terrorists is seeking to have his conviction overturned on human rights grounds, The Telegraph can disclose.

[Abdulla Ahmed Ali] alleges the jury would have been prejudiced by media coverage of a previous trial. 
And of course it's "unacceptable" - it goes to the heart of our country's sovereignty and democracy.

In response Mr Grayling goes on to say that the Conservatives will go into the next election promising abolition of the Human Rights Act (HRA). But one asks how abolition of the HRA will defend ourselves against the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) especially taking into account that the Act was passed to help give UK courts a mechanism to remedy breaches of a Convention right, without having to go straight to the Strasbourg court.

So are the Tories proposing scrapping the HRA but staying in the ECHR?  If so this would still leave the Home Secretary powerless to deport individuals in the interest of national security.  Or do they want to pull out of the ECHR altogether? Leaving the Strasbourg court would mean not only the UK is out of step with its international obligations but would also mean having to leave the EU altogether. A condition of EU membership is to be a member of the Council of Europe - thus the ECHR. Leaving the EU is a course of action the Tories will not contemplate.

Naturally we've been here before with Tory rhetoric on ECHR rulings, many times:
Britain may have to pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights entirely in order to extradite foreign criminals, David Cameron says.
And here in (2006):
Mr Cameron claimed existing human rights legislation was hindering the fight against crime and terrorism, at the same time as failing to protect people's civil liberties. 
And here (2011):
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, risks an explosive rift inside the Coalition with an explicit call for the scrapping of the Human Rights Act.
And here (2013):
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said that "by 2015, we'll need a plan for dealing with the European Court of Human Rights". "And yes, I want to be clear that all options - including leaving the convention altogether - should be on the table."
And here (2010), "it makes me physically ill to even contemplate to give anyone in prison the right to vote" says Cameron.

Not forgetting that "abolition of the Human Rights Act (HRA)" was exactly the promise they went into the last election, then...look what happened in 2010...
The Daily Mail revealed yesterday that the flagship Tory commitment to scrapping the Human Rights Act and replacing it with a British Bill of Rights is to be put on the back burner.
Then we're reminded that Cameron is not opposed to another coalition in 2015...
 Clegg and Cameron 'in secret talks on setting up a second Coalition' despite backbench opposition
So what is it? Repeal the HRA, but remain in the ECHR, leave things the same, or leave the HRA and the ECHR but try to remain in the EU or just leave everything. Who knows? The Tories don't. This is what happens when you first set out to deceive...


  1. "So what is it? Repeal the HRA, but remain in the ECHR, leave things the same, or leave the HRA and the ECHR but try to remain in the EU or just leave everything. Who knows? The Tories don't. This is what happens when you first set out to deceive... ".

    They are going to reform it all in some ill-defined way and by mysterious means. This despite the fact that it doesn't want to be reformed and the Tories can't say what these reforms would be, or, importantly, what the time limits would be and what they would do if reform didn't happen.

    I can never decide whether they really don't understand the ECHR and the EU, or understand it perfectly well and are coming out with lines which sound pretty good to a lot of their supporters and enable them to put off actually doing anything for as long as is needed.

    1. I can never properly decide either.

      On one hand I come to the conclusion the upper echelons of the Tories are aware and are trying to deceive the rest of the party/country. But on the other hand I also come to the conclusion that given Cameron's naiveté - shall we say on the “veto that never was” and promoting a repatriation of powers that simply can’t happen – they are just plain stupid.

      Personally on balance I think they are aware, but cannot admit to themselves the nature of the project we have joined up to, particularly as it was their party that did the honours. In short it’s a classic case of self-denial.

    2. I'd say there are several threads of thought in the Conservative Party, typified by:

      1. Ken Clarke etc, who are completely committed but who seem in a minority and keep a low profile these days,

      2. Hague, originator of "In Europe but not ruled by Europe". He's no fool and I have no doubt he is fully clued up on the EU and the way it works. He deals in carefully drafted deceit.

      3. Cameron. Intellectually lazy and given to pipe dreams such as "a bonfire of the QUANGOs". Promises things he can't deliver and hasn't thought through. Shallow sums him up.

      4. The various tribal time servers. Think the EU is getting a bit big for its boots, but would generally rather not think about it all. The renegotiation line sounds pretty good and there may be something to it, anyway the main thing is to get the Conservatives re-elected.

      The net result is a party with altogether the most dishonest policy on the EU.

      Actually, apart from the fact that corporates are in favour of the EU, I'd say the main reason the Conservatives support it is that it would be so much work to get out of it.

  2. The Concervatives are taking advantage of the ignorance of the voters. While we remain inside the EU rabbit-cage, we cannot escape the ECHR and its gruesome obsession with the "rights" of criminals. But the Conservatives want to sound as if they are taking effective steps to solve the problem. Of course they're not - and they never will.

    1. Taking advantage of the ignorance of the voters can be a double edged sword though, for example the voters' don't care where the judgement about prisoners' right to vote came from all they know it's "Europe". Two can play at that game :-)