This is what happens when you have a Prime Minister advised by a ‘Lord Chancellor’ – now downgraded to ‘Justice Secretary’ – who isn’t a lawyer.
UKIP are campaigning to see Britain withdrawing from the European Union – and the Prime Minister responds by saying he will repeal the Human Rights Act; this appears to have confused the Conservative Party who thinks that Human Rights Law has something – anything – to do with the European Union. It doesn’t.
The EU isn’t even a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). True, they are ‘committed’ to signing by the Lisbon Treaty, but 5 years later – their pen is still hovering over the dotted line, and they have yet to make a decision! Mustn’t rush them.
You would think that Chris Grayling, if not a lawyer, but at least a history graduate, might have pointed out to the Prime Minister, that it was David Maxwell-Fyfe, a British lawyer and one of the Prosecutors at the Nuremberg trials, who oversaw the drafting of the ECHR.
The UKs Human Rights Act, which Cameron now wants to repeal, was drafted with the intention of avoiding British citizens having to traipse to Strasbourg to take advantage of the protections offered by the ECHR. Repealing it won’t have any effect whatsoever on the rights enjoyed by British citizens – beyond making them return to the long traipse to Strasbourg.
The only thing that would lessen British rights to the ECHR would be withdrawing from the Council of Europe. Not even UKIP is suggesting that we withdraw from an International Law Treaty signed by 47 countries. Even Russia is a signatory.
Our very own History Graduate, Chris Grayling has said: “repealing the Act will ensure that Parliament is the ultimate source of legal authority” possibly a worthy contender for the non sequitur of the year award – will nobody point out to him that if Parliament wasn’t already the ‘ultimate source’ of legal authority – they wouldn’t be able to repeal the Act?
He also complains that British judges have their ‘hands tied’ by the Strasbourg court. How exactly? Sure, the Strasbourg court can criticise Britain and say that decisions do not accord with their thinking – but then what? Empty criticism. France has been ‘ruled against’ by the ECtHR in 849 cases – it blithely ignores the result – and what has happened to France? Nothing, that is what has happened. Precisely nothing. Strasbourg doesn’t have any enforcement agents, it doesn’t send in the fighter jets, it just criticises. As a matter of interest, Britain has one of the lowest number of decisions against it of all 47 countries.
Cameron is pandering to the same forces that he railed against during the Scottish referendum. The idea that if there is anything wrong in your life it must be the fault of those damn foreigners. In this case it is against the chocolate soldiers of the European Court of Human Rights. In trying to appease potential UKIP voters, he is subtly being more racist than they would ever be allowed to get away with being. He’s also making himself look a complete plonker to even first year law students.
Sadly, to a populace that has largely been educated on European Law by the Daily Mail and it’s endless stories of how the ‘European Union’ is stopping you having tomato sauce on your bangers and mash or buying eggs in packs of six, he is getting away with it.
Meanwhile Cameron lauds upholds ‘Human Rights’ as a reason for bombing ISIS. You couldn’t make it up.