As you’ve probably heard by now, David Cameron – the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – has now openly said that he wants to “look at scrapping the Human Rights Act“.
But it’s the first time it’s been suggested quite so baldly – that it’s been talked about as if they really want it to become policy.
Do I need to enumerate all the reasons why repealing the Human Rights Act would be a heinous, abhorrent, mistake?
I hope I don’t – if do you need it spelling out, Mike Sivier has done a good job here - but I hope that nobody reading this really needs me to explain why the abolition of an act that protects and enshrines our rights as human beings should not be repealed.
And why are the Tories suggesting this? What’s their real reason? It’s not because the Human Rights Act gets in the way – because most of the time, it doesn’t.
(and when it does, it’s typically because our government is busy trampling all over the human rights of our citizens – behaviour the act exists to get in the way of…)
No, it’s because the all the Human Rights Act (1998) does is empower the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law.
There’s a suggestion from many in the Tory government – particularly in the backbenches – that this is foreign legislation being foisted on us by the dastardly European Union.
This same suggestion matches – of course – that being bellowed by UKIP; the people that Cameron is most afraid of. The people stealing his votes whenever his party isn’t nasty or right-wing enough.
But doing all of this because you’re anti-EU?
That’s not just abhorrent; it’s utterly brainless.
Anyone even slightly aware of the origins of the European Convention on Human Rights is aware that it was primarily drafted by Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, 1st Earl of Kilmuir.
If the name isn’t enough of a clue – he was Scottish. To be exact, he was a British lawyer and Tory peer.
Sir David represented the UK as our Solicitor General at Nuremberg following World War II. Later in his career he would be Lord High Chancellor for Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan
I think it’s safe to say that he’s not only one of our finest lawyers, but also one of the most respected members of the Conservative Party.
This, then, is the man most responsible for the Human Rights Act. This is the man whose work Cameron and our modern Tories are trying to tear down.
And what did he base it on? The English Bill of Rights 1689. The Magna Carta.
British laws. Laws we should be proud of.
The European Convention on Human Rights isn’t some arcane bit of EU legislation, devised in Brussels and foisted on us because of a treaty agreement that few Brits have heard of.
It’s a piece of legislation written by a British lawyer, by a Tory peer, based on laws that form the bedrock of our Constitution.
If anything, it’s British laws being foisted on the rest of Europe.
For Cameron and his party – or anyone else – to glibly suggest repealing our obligation to this act shows a deep lack of respect for the things that make our country great; this on top of a truly appalling lack of respect for human life and basic human dignity.
Mr Cameron, you should be deeply ashamed.
Just as I am ashamed to know that you represent my nation as Prime Minister.