Hardline Tory headbanger Dominic Raab has revived their plan to repeal the law that enshrines your human rights – using the same tired old arguments they always wheel out.
He said it allows dangerous criminals to escape justice. One of the examples he quoted was of an illegal immigrant claiming the right to family life to avoid deportation, having fathered children in the UK but played no active part in their upbringing.
Hang on a moment! This Writer reported on the Tories’ use of that excuse to support their plan to replace the Human Rights Act with a ‘Bill of Rights’ – on which they would decide what rights you would be allowed to have – back in 2014!
He came thoroughly unstuck when he tried to use a new example of criminality that should deprive a person of the right to family life. Back in 2014 the example was of a foreign criminal who had caused death by dangerous driving then using that right to avoid deportation.
This time, showing the usual Tory tin ear for current affairs, Raab suggested that a good example would be of a domestic abuser claiming the right to family life – “a drug dealer convicted of beating his ex-partner”.
Gracie Bradley, director of human rights campaign group Liberty, pointed out that this is
“a time when we’re having a really painful conversation about these abuses of power, including in respect of violence against women”.
“It’s really quite cynical of Dominic Raab to be using that example of violence against women, domestic abuse, as justification for overhauling the Human Rights Act, when it has been instrumental in ensuring women’s rights.”
“This is the government using extreme cases to take actions that will undermine the ability of all of us to hold the government to account and ensure our rights are respected.
“We have to remember that the Human Rights Act is a tool that all of us can use. It helped the families of people who died in the Hillsborough disaster to secure justice for their loved ones.”
Raab’s speech gives us a very good idea of what his planned “overhaul” of our human rights will entail. Here’s a preview – that I’m pasting in (almost) unedited from my article of 2014 [comments from today’s perspective in square brackets]:
The new [ha ha!] measure will:
- Repeal Labour’s 1998 Human Rights Act.
- Break the formal link between British courts and the European Court of Human Rights. In future Britain’s courts will no longer be required to take into account rulings from the Court in Strasbourg. This will make our Supreme Court the ultimate arbiter of human rights matters in the UK.
- End the ability of the European Court to require the UK to change British laws. Every judgement against the UK will be treated as advisory and will have to be approved by Parliament if it is to lead to a change in our laws.
- Define much more clearly when and how Human Rights laws in the UK are to be applied. This will end the ability of the Courts to decide unilaterally to apply Human Rights laws to whole new areas of public life.
- Limit the use of Human Rights laws to the most serious cases. They will no longer apply in trivial cases.
- Balance rights and responsibilities. People who do not fulfil their responsibilities in society should not be able to claim so-called “qualified rights” in their defence in a court of law.
- Ensure that those who pose a national security risk to this country or have entered it illegally cannot rely on questionable human rights claims to prevent their deportation.
Examples of how the new law will be different include:
- Terrorists and serious criminals who pose a significant threat to the security and safety of UK citizens would lose their right to stay here under Human Rights Laws.
- People who commit serious crimes in the UK, and in doing so infringe upon the basic rights of others, should lose their right to claim the right to stay here under the right to family life. So for example, a foreign criminal, guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and so taking away the rights of another citizen, would not be able to claim family rights to stay in the UK.
- No one would be able to claim human rights to allow them to step outside the law that applies to all other citizens, for example a group of travellers claiming the right to family life to breach planning laws.
- The right to family life would be much more limited in scope. For example an illegal immigrant would not be able to claim the right to family life to stay in the UK because he had fathered children here when he is playing no active part in the upbringing of those children.
- Limit the reach of human rights cases to the UK, so that British Armed forces overseas are not subject to persistent human rights claims that undermine their ability to do their job and keep us safe.
Basic rights, like the right to a fair trial and the right to life which are an essential part of a modern democratic society will be protected, we are told.
But there is much more to the European Convention on Human Rights – which the Human Rights Act enshrines in UK law – than that.
What about nation states’ primary duty, to “refrain from unlawful killing”, to “investigate suspicious deaths” and to “prevent foreseeable loss of life”?
What about the prohibition on slavery or forced labour?
What about the prohibition of the retroactive criminalisation of acts and omissions?
What about the right to privacy?
What about the right to freedom of expression? If … the Human Rights Act [is replaced], will Vox Political be banned and Yr Obdt Srvt arrested for Thought Crime?
What about the right to freedom of assembly and association? Will this mean the end of trade unions? Will it mean the end of legal political protest [in fact, Priti Patel is already busy banning it]?
What about the prohibition of discrimination? What about the right to effective remedy for violations of these rights?
Tories – especially the real hardliners like Raab – have a habit of saying they’ll make one change and then change a dozen others because they can.
He’s already pretending his plans will protect you – and we’ve already seen that this is another Tory lie.
But the Tories have an unassailable Parliamentary majority – for the first time since I started writing about this plan, all those years ago.
They can literally do whatever they want – and they are planning on doing it to you.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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