Sunday, 18 October 2015

'The Gove Effect'on 'Human Rights'


Of course we already have a Bill Of Rights dating from 1688/9 (depending on how you calculate the passage of the Act) As far as I am aware, even with the introduction of the Human Rights Act in 1998 which incorporated the European Convention and made British law subservient to it, the original was not repealed. After more than three centuries it still shapes and determines how we in Britain (and large part Commonwealth) do things. So if anything, the proposed legislation should in fact be in the terms of an Amendment Act. The real test to be applied, is how it sets out to alter or add to already enshrined 'rights', in this and other constitutional documents, and how they are proposed to be enforced. The original legislation was against a prevailing divide between Protestant and Roman Catholic, and between the powers of Monarch and Parliament both of which have become either settled or less pressing matters. More important now, is whether existing suffrage actually reflects the will of the people and whether the individual citizen is adequately protected against the overwhelming power of the state. It cannot be denied that developments over, shall we say, the last half century have significantly undermined the sovereignty of the 'Queen in Parliament', by virtue of EU membership, the 1998 Act referred to, devolution, five year parliaments, increased secrecy in court proceedings, international trade deals (the so-called TTIP being perhaps the most notable) and the increased power of the multinationals and money lenders. Getting out of international conventions once agreed to, is highly problematic, and this could be the only consequence of our own independent system. However we shall have to reserve judgement, until we see Gove's proposals. As long as it is not only a camouflaged attempt to water down existing protections, it might not be altogether a bad thing.

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