It is a matter of historical fact that politicians only ever ask for major legislation to be scrapped in order to give themselves more power.
The Home secretary, Theresa may who has revealed herself to be both anti-Europe and anti-civil liberties, has said in the Sunday Telegraph that she wants to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA). The HRA incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law and is there to protect individuals and minorities from the excess power of the state.
Her statement comes just two weeks after Nick Clegg confirmed that the HRA “is here to stay” and is indicative of the friction between herself and the Liberal Democrats. It also indicates just how power-hungry she really is. It has already been suggested by insiders that May is looking to become Conservative leader and is prepared to give in totally to the right-wing of the party in order to achieve her aims.
Theresa May has complained that the Human Rights Act prevents the Home Office from doing everything it wants to, particularly when dealing with criminals, terrorists and those individuals who are often vilified by the tabloid press, protection charities, right-wing ‘think tanks’ and powerful lobby groups. What Theresa May does not seem to realise is that the HRA is doing precisely what it should: preventing politically ambitious people like her from persecuting others who may be unpopular with the public in order to gain more power for herself and the government.
Although she claims that hers is a “personal” view, she is known to be a keen supporter of Conservative right-wing policies and is seen as a voice for disgruntled Tory back benchers who want to keep the rest of us in our place. Theresa May was against the creation of the UK Supreme Court, hates all things European, is totally against the criminal justice reforms put forward by the Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke and like her predecessors, wants more direct power given to the Home Office and a limit to what she sees as ‘interference’ by the courts.
She has no time for the Coalition, disagrees on just about everything with the Liberal Democrats, feels that prison sentences should be much longer and that many more people should be locked up rather than serve non-custodial sentences. She loathes Kenneth Clarke and the moderate, sensible view he represents. She is a firm believer in the policies of the former Home Secretary, Michael Howard, wants nothing to do with reform and wants to put an end to the appeals process designed to prevent unjust sentences from being passed for political reasons.
The hypocrisy of Theresa May is astonishing. On the one hand, she promotes the need for human rights in the Middle East whist on the other, she wants to scrap those protections here in Britain. She wants equality for women yet wants to jail more men. She stresses her hatred of rights for prisoners while simultaneously condemning other countries for their mistreatment of some other British prisoners.
As Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights organisation Liberty said: “Modern Conservatives should think again about human rights values that were truly Churchill’s legacy.
“Only a pretty ‘nasty party’ would promote human rights in the Middle East whilst scrapping them at home.”
When human rights were removed from German legislation in 1938 the world saw the result with terrifying clarity. Without protection from people like Theresa May, a police state is inevitable. The top 1% of the population who make and influence our law making process will ensure that they get everything and that the rest of the people are suppressed.
Those often uninformed and ignorant people who succumb to the rubbish printed in the Daily Mail and the Sun fail to recognise the obvious fact that if the protections provided by the Human Rights Act are removed from some people, they are removed from all of us.
The many MPs who are screaming for the removal of the HRA are afraid to admit what they really are as individuals – racist, selfish, greedy and totally uncaring about anyone other than themselves. They would have everyone that they do not see as part of ‘normal’ society or as being productive in a way acceptable to them, removed from sight. Minority groups would have no voice, those who are gay or lesbian or who simply choose not to conform with the Conservative view of life that so favours the wealthy and the ‘normal’ would simply be outlawed and locked up.
Remember, there is a very thin line between right-wing Conservatism and fascism. Any erosion of civil protections is always a bad thing in society for it makes the weak weaker and defines those who choose to live outside of the norm as being undesirable. The UK’s already over-powerful police forces would become agents of state control – though some would say they are already – and the march of tyranny seen in other countries would start its relentless advance here.
Theresa May is also forgetting one other very important point; that if the HRA were scrapped, Britain would still be subject to the European Convention on Human Rights which, as TheOpinionSite.org has pointed out on numerous occasions, is a product of the Council of Europe and has nothing to do with the EU that the Tories so love to hate.
Yes. it would take people longer to invoke the rights given by the Convention because they would have to go to Europe and that would give the politicians like May the crucial delay necessary to break the Law, gain popularity and get re-elected but, in the end, the same decisions that she complains about now would still be issued by the European Court. The HRA was introduced precisely for that reason and to allow British citizens to rely on Convention rights in British courts rather than have to go to Europe.
Theresa May – and David Cameron – both publicly stated that they were “appalled” by the decision of the UK Supreme Court (NOT the European Court you will notice) that Sex Offenders must be allowed to appeal against life-long registration. Both Cameron and May were blatantly playing to the tabloids by making such statements. They said much the same regarding the voting rights of prisoners and the decision by the British courts not to allow the deportation of those suspected but not convicted of or charged with terrorist offences.
The Conservative party hate change, think that Britain still has an empire, believes that Britain is still a world influence (which it clearly is not because every other country ignores it) and believes that the ruling class should rule and the rest of us do as we are told. If someone does not fit into the Conservative way of life, they are regarded as anti-social or simply not ‘normal’
Here is a classic example of how the Tories find change to be both unacceptable and undesirable:
Until 1968, to be gay was illegal in this country and was an imprisonable offence. The UK is still essentially homophobic, hence the frequent attacks outside gay clubs and pubs. After homosexuality was decriminalised (rather than being lawful) in 1968, the age of consent for gays was 21. After many years that age was reduced to 18. It took until the year 2000 to bring the age for gay sex down to the same as that for heterosexuals, 16.
The very Convention (ECHR) that had been drawn up by British lawyers and forced upon others across Europe was ignored by successive British governments for all the years in between for purely political reasons. Attempts by the Labour party to redress the imbalance in the 1970s were voted down by Conservative peers. It was only when a suitable case was bravely brought before the European Court of Human Rights by two young gay men in love with each other that the government had to obey the law which it itself had helped to create.
Even then, the Conservatives tried to block the move with one Conservative MP claiming that the legislation was “a licence to bugger young boys”. Eventually, the legislation was, with great difficulty, passed but not without strings and limitations which are still being fought against. In the end though, the government had to use the seldom used Parliament Act in order to force the law onto the statute book in order to comply with the ruling of the European Court.
Another more recent example concerns Terrorist Control Orders which seek to impose house arrest on individuals suspected of but not charged with involvement in terrorist offences. The HRA means such orders are unlawful and for very good reason. If someone is suspected of an offence, authorities must produce the evidence to prove it. That is all the Act requires. Nevertheless, the Tories have tried to reintroduce such orders ‘by the back door’ through emergency legislation, though they are sure to be challenged if the law is ever used
If it were not for the HRA, sexual discrimination, racism, discrimination in the workplace, discrimination by age, non-protection of workers, inequality in schools, the lack of a minimum wage and worker exploitation, unequal holidays for part-time and full-time workers, lack of protection from harm in custody, the absence of a right to privacy, the right to a fair trial and many, many other things that are so alien to us now would still exist. The Human Rights Act enables all of us to rely on the protections that we now have from all the above.
Take the HRA away and what is left is a recipe for dictatorship, precisely what the Conservative party really want and why the party was founded hundreds of years ago, though it went under a different name. The modern Conservative Party of the United Kingdom, also known as the Unionist Party in the early 20th century, traces its origins back to the “Tory” supporters of Duke of York, later King James VII&II, during the 1678-1681 exclusion.
The term ‘Conservative’ in political terminology means ‘little or no change’. Given that it was the ‘Tories’ who exploited the slave trade with enthusiasm and introduced legislation to ensure that the poor remained poor and that the rich became richer, given that like Cameron, more Conservative prime ministers have been educated at Eton than at any other school – and nearly all were at fee-paying public schools – it is hardly surprising that the Conservative party are against the Human Rights Act which effectively protects ordinary, sometimes ‘different’ people from being persecuted by those who would still have the slave ships, work houses and deportation to the colonies available to them if such things were still possible in modern politics.
The Human Rights Act is the only protection from exploitation by the ruling classes – and make no mistake, there still is a ruling class and Theresa May sees herself as part of it.
If the government do introduce a Bill of Rights it will not protect people. In 1689 a Bill of Rights was put on the statute book. It did not prevent slavery, persecution of the poor or minorities and gave the politicians more power than they had before. It didn’t work then and it wouldn’t work now. Any legislation drawn up by a Conservative led government is sure to take power and freedom away from those who choose not to go along with Tory doctrine and ideology. That is not just the view of TheOpinionSite.org, it is the proof of history.
The Conservatives are the ultimate ‘little Englanders’ who wish to favour the rich at the expense of the poor and, if that offends you, look to the US where that philosophy reigns supreme. The US have more prisoners, more under-privileged, more poor and uneducated than any other western country.
The United States has a ruling elite that controls the other 98% of the population (hence the demonstrations currently proceeding in New York). One principal reason for this is that they do not have an equivalent of the Human Rights Act. They have a written constitution (which Britain does not) but that does not protect those listed above.
Theresa may will not get her way, not in this Parliament at least, but it is tragic that once again we see a powerful politician seeking nothing but more power and glory for herself. If she wants to be the head of a dictatorship, let her go do it somewhere else. She is the second woman Home Secretary who has tried to use others for her own progression. She forgets, as Jacqui Smith did, that her job is to protect the country – not rule it. She works for us, not the other way around.
If the Human Rights Act is ever scrapped, it will be the end of the Coalition and that may appeal to some. It will however also be the end of freedom in Britain and that is the very reason that many on the right want to see the HRA axed.
Just like their historical ancestors, today’s Tories want more and more power over the poor and less fortunate that are seen by right-wing Conservatives as a drain on society; if the Human Rights Act disappears they will get that power – and the rest of us, including those who read only the Sun and the Daily mail and do not truly understand what the HRA really does – will pay the price. TheOpinionSite.org has a warning for those people, some of whom may even be subscribers to this site:
Be careful what you wish for.