From a New Statesman review by Sophie McBain of Shami Chakrabarti’s book On Liberty last December:
This book is above all a treatise against David Cameron’s pledge that a future Conservative government would create a British bill of rights to replace its international commitments – a dangerous attempt to “redefine our fundamental rights as citizens’ privileges”, in Chakrabarti’s view.
Speaking in October 2013, Cameron promised that this British bill would be “rooted in our values” and he singled out a European ruling that prisoners should have the vote: “I’m sorry, I just don’t agree. Our parliament – the British parliament – decided they shouldn’t have that right,” he said. The problem is that human rights are too precious to entrust to party politics and external institutions – such as the European Court of Human Rights – act as an important safeguard to keep democracies liberal.
Human rights shouldn’t be national, because they shouldn’t be particular – they should be universal. If they’re particular rights they’re no longer human rights, they’re just whatever the local particular is – British rights, Muslim rights, capitalist rights, Hindu rights. That’s no good. They have to be universal to do the job they’re meant to do.