Monday, June 26, 2006

Cameron Media Coverage on HRA

David Cameron is getting excellent coverage this morning for his Human Rights Act policy. I just heard Baroness Helena Kennedy saying positive things, which is deeply ironic considering she was one of the prime movers behind the original legislation.

Adam Boulton has an excellent post HERE on the whole issue. Here's an excerpt...

So why is 'Dave' bothering at all. Well in politics timing matters an awful not. The Labour Attorney General may describe Cameron's ideas as "muddled, misconceived and dangerous" but the fact of the matter is that Cameron is coming forward with his own relatively clear proposal at a timed when his opponents in the government are in a muddle of their own over the criminal justice system. (A predicament which will only be worsened this week as the bitter, sacked, ex Home Secretary, Charles Clarke launches his campaign of self-justification.) It was this government which put the Human Rights Act on the statute book, yet it is the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary who have railed against the way it has been interpreted - in the case, for example, of the courts ruling against the deportation of nine Afghan Hi-jackers. And it is Tony Blair who only last week was calling for a "re-balancing of the criminal justice system" - the British Bill of Rights is Cameron's response to this. Cameron wants his bill to deal with the failings of the HRA. On crime he points to how it resulted in the early release from Prison of Anthony Rice who went on to murder again and how organised crime has employed it to prevent assets being confiscated. On terror, his main concern is the employment of the HRA to prevent or delay deportation. In fact we don't know what the Bill of Rights would look like, and we won't until and unless 'the panel of distinguished jurists', Cameron is proposing reports back. Yet another example of Cameron putting his policy out to consultation. Traditionally Bills of Rights assert the fundamental rights of the individual over the political power structures of the time. This is one reason why some Libertarians have cautiously welcomed Cameron's idea while more traditional Conservatives have expressed their doubts. (The Liberal Democrat's are in favour of Cameron's suggestion provided it is part of a "comprehensive package of constitutional reform" - do we see there the first hint of a deal under which the Lib Dems would support a minority Tory Government in a hung parliament after the next election?). Progressives point out that the Bill could enshrine the right to trial by jury and forbid the government from using the Parliament Act to override it. This would strengthen the power of the Courts and lawyers at the very time when Tony Blair is claiming politicians and not the legal establishment are more in touch with public opinion. As Cameron himself put it today striking the right balance between civil liberties and public security is never easy. Tony Blair thought his Labour government was getting it right with the HRA. Now even Mr Blair is admitting his disappointment and the leader of the opposition is coming up with his proposals. In doing so he's using the word "British" a rallying call for Euro-sceptics and a word Mr Cameron is clearly not going to leave for Gordon Brown to make his own.

24 comments:

Dr.Doom said...

The Conservative Party are excelling themselves.

Never thought that they would return to 'the good old days'.

The removal of rights upon the weak and subdued English.

Excellent.

Highly reccommended.

Doom.

Anonymous said...

I particulary enjoy Tebbit getting involved...

Dave said...

Credit where it's due; Ming did very well today on WATO - not a fan of his but he made the whole proposal seem a bit naive.

Davide Simonetti said...

I don't think its that ironic. I saw David Cameron speak at the Power Inquiry conference last month which was hosted by Baroness Kennedy. Cameron went down quite well. He said ‘…the Power Inquiry is one of the most important initiatives we’ve seen in British politics in years.’ I posted a report on it which you can read here.

RedEye said...

With regard to Baroness Kennedy, 'Greater joy in heaven over one sinner who repenteth'. You could call it deeply ironic - or you could call the sight of a member of the legislature admitting they were wrong very refreshing.

Another argument, incidentally, against an elected second chamber - once the likes of Baroness Kennedy (and Lord Winston) have got a peerage, they can give the leadership of their party the finger. An elected second chamber would just mean another lot of (largely professional) politicians in thrall to the whips and leadership (particularly if a closed list system of PR - like the one used in Euro-elections - is used for an elected second chamber).

The current system doesn't work in theory (and probably wasn't meant to be such an effective revising chamber when the government introduced it), but it works very well.

Should the Tories win the next election, I think the prospect of dealing with a second chamber elected while a Cameron government has a dose of mid-term blues may just cool the ardour of those who want a 100% elected chamber. Portillo and Forsyth may yet be listened to on this one. I hope they are.

james said...

Why on Earth are they talking about 'introducing' a Bill of Rights when clearly, we already have one!

Shouldn't it be an appendage bill of some sort, extending the rights of the existing Bill (which clearly isn't adhered to at all)?

It makes me very uncomfortable to see the Conservatives discard any acknowledgement of the existing Bill of Rights and the Claim of Right in Scotland.

This just sounds like NuLabour modernism all over again.

Anoneumouse said...

Yes I listened to his speech, however, it did seem a bit half baked, he made reference to Human Rights Act not protecting us from the abolition of Trial by Jury and Habeas Corpus

So when he says he wants a home grown hard-nosed defence of our security and freedom, does this mean, that when he is in power, he will repeal the European Communities Act 1972

For was it not the European Union's Amsterdam Treaty and not the ECHR that paved the way to abolish Trial by Jury and Habeas Corpus.

Michael Oakeshott said...

At risk of sounding moderate...yeh I know ha ha! I would abolish the Human Rights Act. No qualms. But I am VERY right wing. Having read the Act, it seems like fairly moderate stuff. I can't really see how politicians of the ilk of Blair or Cameron could oppose any of it. So before we get into this debate, and get conned out of our votes by tough talk and no ultimate delivery, does anybody want to say what is actually wrong with this Act? Anything? A single part of it. And does Dave think this? In which case have we discovered a policy?

Ornette said...

So which rights are going? And what new rights will there be? Answer - 'err, haven't thought it through'.

Tabman said...

Ornette - exactly the line that Humphreys took this morning. Cue much harumphing and bluster from DC.

jimthechimp said...

Sensible policies like this hopefully will make up for how awful he was on Jonathan Ross on Saturday. Which PR flunky advised him to go on that?

Verity said...

The elephant in the living room is the EU. Without leaving this Gaullist mirage, Britain cannot regain any of its rights or its own laws.

Gary Elsby said...

Michael is asking what is wrong with the HRA.
Simple. It looks after the intrests of the British people and that's a no no to the Tories.

Whenever the day comes that I fall foul of some law somewhere and 'Dave's law' seeks precedence over me, I shall as always, over-ride his wishes and seek the true meaning of the law within the EU.

Be warned Dave, you are on a mission from nowhere,going nowhere.

Gary

Michael Oakeshott said...

Well Gary you don't really make your point. The truth is that if Dave does get elected and repeals the Act, then you won't be able to appeal to this court, whether you want to or not. You make the same mistake as the others, you don't actually say what this Act does(be it good or bad), and you don't say why we are not capable of having such a law in British law, without resort to Europe.

Is there anybody who even knows what is in this Act?

bt said...

God help us!
Talk about getting it wrong, this takes the biscuit.
First a bunch of vote-chasing politicos, urged on by money-grubbing lawyers, ride rough-shod over hard-won rights, liberties and freedoms, then a politician claims it can all be put right - by consulting lawyers!

You want to make this a civilised country again?

First thing we do is kill all the lawyers - that precept hasn't changed since Willie Shakepeare's times.
Then - every politician gets served with a super-ASBO. Permanently tagged, all movements monitored, all bank account transactions open to public scrutiny, all communications (phone, email, letter, conversation, pigeon-post or smoke-signal) placed in the public domain, plus an implant that once every 30 seconds broadcasts in their ear "Remember - you serve, not rule!"

Throw in a limitation of no more than say, 6 pieces of legislation per year (including the Finance Bill) with omnibus bills and enabling acts forbidden, and nearly all 'social' problems will miraculously vanish.

Bet the quality of politicians would improve miraculously, too. 'Cos frankly I wouldn't trust any of the present lot to find their backside in the dark using both hands, a torch and ground-approach radar.

skipper said...

Problemette is though, as has been pointed out, we can't really have anothercode of rights when we already have the ECHR codifed in the HRA and to withdraw from that would require us to withdraw from the EU: not a viable policy even for the most Eurosceptic Tory.

The Remittance Man said...

Er BP said everything I could think of and more. He's got a better imagination than I have too. But expanding on his implant idea: I'd make it deliver an electric shock every time a million quid was "invested" by the government.

RM

Verity said...

skipper- Why not? Would the world end?

Ornette said...

I think that skipper, and possibly some other posters believe that the ECHR derives from the EU. Not so.

Anonymous said...

Skipper is correct up to a point as is the main thrust of the Telegraph's leader this morning.
Dave doesnt seem to have worked out that abolishing the HRA (welcome as that is) will only achieve so much. Again, there is some deceit here and a pretence to boldness whereas in fact his proposal is not that radical at all. To really change the culture of rights and to shift it back towards one grounded in liberties and responsibilities requires the UK's withdrawal from the ECHR. Until and unless he promises and delivers this, this half-baked idea will change very little.

Rick said...

Cannot withdraw from ECHR without withdrawing from Article 6 (1) of the Treaty of Nice.

Why don't the Tories go the whole hog and write into their Manifesto:

a) withdrawal from the EU

b) withdrawal from the ECHR

c) Referendum to reverse 1975 Result

Onan said...

This is typical cynical "dave" bullshit. Talk it up then walk away.

A Bill of Rights fucks up Parliamentary sovereignty and is, as the Lib's have pointed out, only really worth having as part of a broader package of constitutional reform designed to reassert the primacy of the legislature. This is a ploy to keep pulling voters back from the right of the LDs.

And Davide, I heard him at the POWER conference. After claiming he agreed with the spirit and much of the report (and who wouldn't agree that political disengagement on the current scale is a looming problem) he then went on to describe how he wouldn't implement the central reforms (i.e. PR/devolution of power etc). "I agree (vote for me!) then watch me do fuck all". The guy has 3-4 before the election he can say whatever he wants, cos no one will remember.

I swear next week he'll unveil a "policy" to outlaw political correctness (plays well wit' voters oop north y'know) - just give him 3 years to write his list of what constitutes "political correctness".

Cynical, lying, deceitful bastard. Truly the heir to Blair.

Michael Oakeshott said...

Thought as much. No one actually has a clue what is in this Act. Dave and Blair are treating the public as fools, but at least they are behaving as expected. I won't take this issue seriously until someone actually start talking about WHY this Act is bad. I know. I want them to say it and mean it. So far it is just posturing.

Dr.Doom said...

It does not matter that an act cannot be acted upon.The mere presence of a superior force acting against the interest of common people is enough to subdue the threat of power loss.

Mr. Cameron is acting in accordance with the rule of superior knowledge. There is nothing that must be allowed to stand in the way of the superior force and we must commend such an open act of hostility towards those that seek delusion of grandeur.

Doom.