David Cameron, Human Rights Act and Freedom Speech

In my last post I talked a bit about ‘humanitarian war’ . In this post I want to make a few points how this foreign policy often goes hand-in-hand with policy changes at home. One obvious example of this was the Reichstag Fire in Germany in 19331. Perceived, real threats or even, in the case of the Reichstag Fire possible ‘false flags’ can be used to create a crisis where civil liberties are curtailed.

UK Prime Minister, David Cameron recently said that he would like to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA) and leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). However, the convention was brought in just to avoid the unsavoury consequences of the curtailment of civil liberties mentioned above.

It is important to correct the common misconception that the ECHR was something that was imposed on the UK by the European Union(EU). The convention is totally separate from the EU and was entered by the UK quite willingly. One of the reasons for the convention was to have basic human rights principles that were outside the control of any single state.

A lot of what has been said about the ECHR and HRA is misleading if not totally untrue. I will not go into this here since it has been covered well elsewhere2.

It is interesting that one of the main criticisms from David Cameron etc is that it limits what he can do. That is the purpose of the convention and it would be completely futile if it did not sometimes conflict with the wishes of the Executive. There must be a legal limit to avoid absolute power.

There may be cases in which application of the Human Rights Act seems to lead to what some may see as perverse rulings. This is not peculiar to the HRA but part of the legal system. The legal system is not perfect and is sometimes incoherent.

More worrying is that David Cameron has spoken about clamping down on ‘non-violent’ protesters and limiting freedom of speech:


 

1 Reichstag fire, Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_fire)

2 Human Rights Act myths, Liberty (https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/human-rights/what-are-human-rights/human-rights-act/human-rights-act-myths)

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