When Human Rights Goes Too Far

The European Court of Human Rights has lost its legitimacy in the UK by doing things that frankly the people of this country and their elected representatives do not want.

“This is not an issue that unites the Coalition. The Conservative Party’s intention is to go into the next election with an absolutely clear plan for change.

“And it is absolutely clear Parliament has the sovereign right to implement that change.

“We have been looking at a number of options, of which leaving the Convention is one.

“It’s not the only option we are considering and we will be bringing forward plans in the next few weeks.

“Later next year we will publish a draft Bill which will set out precisely how that legal change will take place.

“We will have a clear plan for reform which we will implement in government if we are successful at the ­election.”

– Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary of the UK

There are no words to how disappointing and how dangerous this idea is.

To state that too much human rights is a “madness” that has to be stopped is not a good thing. And the Lib-Dems and Labour would do well to capitalise on a Tory party that has effectively stated they hate any overarching human rights and wish to rewrite the law to give the government inordinate power over people.

Let’s face it the two major sticking points are the vote for prisoners and the non-deportation of foreign criminals if they have family resident in the UK.

Let’s not allow prisoners to vote.

Okay, the vast majority of us would never ever have the law apply to us, however it can be used to disenfranchise large sections of the UK that are poor and to whom crime is a temptation to survive. In addition if we adopt laws like the USA we must remember that vast numbers of young men will be disenfranchised from a government that is already extremely alien to the public. In effect. No, I am afraid that even if you are in gaol you are still a citizen and due to vote. Now you may think this would encourage politicians to pander to the gaols but frankly you are wrong. There are roughly 90,000 Prisoners in our gaols and frankly if you are going to assume prisoners vote in lock-step then you are clearly out of the loop. Prisoners have their own wishes and dreams and requirements.

Prisoner rights are another issue. It’s nice to look like you are throwing the book at those heartless monsters. But I must ask….

Why are we treating casual crime like career crime and career crime like the sort of crime that requires you to don tights and a cape. We like to think that criminals should be locked into deep holes and fed bread and water till scurvy takes them but frankly that’s just a fantasy. It turns out that in order to make real progress with criminals the best option is running prisons to re-educate them into productive members of society. Hang em all does not work.

I do think that gaol terms need to be analysed and changed to fit a profile of rehabilitation rather than pure punishment. Because the current system does nothing to deter crime.

Giving criminal asylum seekers asylum? Question? They cannot hold down jobs and are on the poverty line, what do you expect them to do. You want to drop their crime? Put them to work. Make work schemes easily available for extra money. Not “low” extra money but at least minimum wage guaranteed. This has two benefits. Firstly you drop the illegal hiring of Asylum Seekers, Secondly you stop Asylum Seekers turning to crime. It also has one additional benefit in that you can detect skilled asylum seekers for the fast track asylum scheme. Make it voluntary, not compulsory. You now how a labour force for government expansion schemes that you can pool and let out to projects that require subsidy such as the roads and farming while creating an ethos of work and getting these people on the rungs to a career. And it’s not just brute labour that it provides, there are skilled professionals in the Asylum Seekers and they can be used to drive the workforce. In addition it frees up the direct to Asylum Seeker Jobs such as cleaning for locals who have repeatedly assured me they would do those jobs if not for the Asylum Seeker du Jour.

I understand Asylum needs to be dealt with as a whole across Europe which is why I think a universal Asylum law is required. This means the EU as a whole deals with asylum rather than just individual countries. Because the burden is higher on the UK and frankly spreading the load would help the big countries. This includes criminal asylum seekers.

The fixes for the “breaks” our Human Rights laws are not the abolishment but the universalisation of the law. Of course the politicians think human rights go too far. They are the government, the man, the people in power and frankly human rights make their lives miserable. It makes their lives harder. I genuinely do not think governments start off being totalitarians but a right once lost is infinitely hard to regain. The EU’s human rights rulings may be unpopular but think of what distancing ourself from an over-arching court would do. Do you think we would exceed the EU and put it to shame or regress?

No. I think the conservative plan is not just a bad one but a dangerous one that will reduce the rights available to the common man under the guise of liberty from the EU.


  1. AndrewD says

    No. I think the conservative plan is not just a bad one but a dangerous one that will reduce the rights available to the common man under the guise of liberty from the EU

    This, from the conservative position, is of course a positive not a negative outcome. The conservative position is that “Human Rights” should be replaced with “Human privileges” granted to a docile public but taken from anyone who objects.

  2. bruce says

    “You now how a labour force for government expansion schemes…”

    Is this sentence supposed to start with “You now have …”?

    This post is a bit hard to read for an American, as it refers to some UK-specific terms. But I think it makes a number of good points, and I agree. Thanks.

  3. AsqJames says

    Couple of small things…


    The EU’s human rights rulings may be unpopular but think of what distancing ourself from an over-arching court would do. Do you think we would exceed the EU and put it to shame or regress?

    They are not “the EU’s human rights rulings”. The ECHR is not a part of the EU or run by the EU, it was set up by a treaty of the Council of Europe (47 members vs. the EU’s 27). However membership of the CoE (and signing and ratifying the treaty) is a condition of membership of the EU. As such it is unclear how the UK would be able to withdraw from the treaty while remaining a member of the EU.

    Here’s a venn diagram of the various supranational European institutions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Supranational_European_Bodies-en.svg

    Without doing anything other than trash-talk the ECHR, the UK government and media are having negative effects elsewhere. Already other countries have used UK rhetoric against the ECHR to deflect criticisms of their own human rights abuses – e.g. Ukraine deflecting criticism of its reaction to the latest mass protests there.

    Basically this attitude of our government is bolstering authoritarian regimes elsewhere in Europe.

    Second, the ruling on prisoners’ suffrage was very narrow. The ECHR did not say you could not deprive convicted criminals of their right to vote, just that it could not be a blanket, additional punishment for all prisoners simply because they are imprisoned. In essence they’ve said the punishment defined in law is loss of freedom (imprisonment), not disenfranchisement. There’s nothing to say you can’t disenfranchise criminals if you define that as part of the punishment for those convicted of some or all crimes, but you have to make that definition in law (make it a punishment option available to judges).

    The UK could comply with the ruling simply by allowing judges to decide, upon conviction, whether to remove the vote for a set period (which may be the same as any custodial sentence imposed). In fact, were the option available independent of imprisonment, it may be more appropriate for some crimes (e.g. election fraud), just as fines, community orders and other punishments are available as punishments alongside imprisonment.

  4. angharad says

    Eurgh, we get a lot of that kind of rhetoric here too, often in relation to refugees. We do deport non-citizens who have committed crimes and it has led to some travesties, including sending a mentally ill man to a country whose language he did not speak and in which he had not lived since he was a toddler.

  5. says

    Many “crimes” asylum seeker commit are things that are perfectly legal for citizens, like working. Or going from one place to another.
    Many years ago my mum worked in a children’s hospital. One of the best in the area, close to the “state border” (Germany). In a nearby town, the child of asylum seekers fell critically ill. The medical personel did not think or know or care about asylum seeker regulations and brought the child and their parents to said hospital where the child could receive the best medical care. The next morning the police arrested the parents at the bedside of their still critically ill child. In bringing their child to the hospital and staying with their child they had commited a crime.

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