Monday, May 23, 2022
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Is this the reform of our human rights that we really need?


FOR the past few months emails expressing concern about the government’s proposed ‘UK Bill of Rights’ to update and replace the Human Rights Act have been mounting in my inbox. The plan has red flags all over it. To my shame, with vaccine wars and insanity wars to fight daily, I have been kicking this particular can, if not down the road but to the next day, for too long. 

I have been comforted by the fact that other groups have been campaigning, foremost amongst which is Save Our Rights, the grass roots liberty charity campaigning for a real democracy. They have been encouraging people to respond the Human Rights Act Reform Consultation via a Twitter campaign.

They have devoted the main pages of their site to explaining all that is wrong with the proposals: that far from strengthening our basic rights the new Act will weaken and dilute them. You can find their detailed explanation and guidance on how to make submission to the consultation, which is open for another two days, here. I know we ask readers to do a lot but please check it out. You still have time to make your protest.

At a time when coercive and mandatory vaccine has already proved discriminatory and so wrong it’s not surprising that many TCW readers have expressed their very real worries to me that the proposals could open the door to an even worse scenario: to ‘legal’ compulsory vaccines. 

Superficially the assertion that ‘Our reforms will be a check on the expansion and inflation of rights without democratic oversight and consent, and will provide greater legal certainty’ might look fine – even attractive – in the context of the increasingly ludicrous ‘intersectional’ identity rights that companies, universities, schools, sports organisations are now compelled to observe or suffer the consequences of not doing so.

Chapter Three, headed The Case for Reforming UK Human Rights Law, likewise sounds rather attractive; and who wouldn’t be sympathetic to the idea that ‘the growth of a “rights culture” that has displaced due focus on personal responsibility and the public interest . . . public protection [is] put at risk by the exponential expansion of rights’.

But if concern about the ‘inflation’ of rights is really what it looks to be on the surface, surely that would be better dealt with by dealing directly with the root cause of the identity rights culture and repealing the 2010 Equality Act – or at least sections of it? But that I fear that something they have no intention of doing.  

In fact the document reeks of mendacity. The sheer number of mentions of ‘duty or ‘responsibility’ or ‘the wider society’ is what rings authoritarian alarm bells in my head.

It was readers who first alerted me to the specific text of the section titled A ‘rights culture’ that displaces personal responsibility and the public interest.  Why so much emphasis on ‘personal responsibility’ and ‘duties’ to society they asked.

Here is more on the same theme (my bold):

‘The international human rights framework recognises that not all rights are absolute and that an individual’s rights may need to be balanced, either against the rights of others or against the wider public interest. Many of the rights in the Convention are “qualified”, recognising explicitly the need to respect the rights of others and the broader needs of society . . . The idea that rights come alongside duties and responsibilities is steeped in the UK tradition of liberty. . .’

What a cunning gloss to put on it!

Do not be deceived into believing that this use of language is anything to do with that moral principle of duty that David Selbourne wrote about years ago in his essay on the foundation of civil order. His idea was the old-fashioned one that ethics are founded not upon rights but upon duties: like the duty of a father and mother to child as well as the duties of the citizen to society and of society to the citizen, but not however upon what someone – whether Johnson or Putin – might perceive to be our public duty towards the State. His criticism was of the corrupted liberal order, of its rights, privileges, demands and aspirations, an order that is even more corrupted now it is determined and decreed by the State and supra-national elites. His criticism was not of citizens’ lack of compliance or refusal to conform to State dictats, which I fear is the case here. 

In fact the proposed legislation seems to me to be not just a perversion of the traditional notions of rights and duties, but a mendacious and threatening one.

The question is who is it that will decide what those broader interests of society may be. It could be the government or the WHO or any other international public health body with undue influence over the Government.

Worrying statements succeed each other: 

‘The Bill of Rights [will] provide greater clarity regarding the interpretation of certain rights, such as the right to respect for private and family life, by guiding the UK courts in interpreting the rights and balancing them with the interests of our society as a whole . . . The Bill of Rights will provide more certainty for public authorities to discharge the functions Parliament has given them, without the fear that this will expose them to costly human rights litigation.’

Including perhaps the fear of costly vaccine damage claims?

In the foreword Justice Secretary Dominic Raab who commissioned the consultation, writes: ‘Our system must strike the proper balance of rights and responsibilities, individual liberty and the public interest’, a sentiment reiterated in the Executive Summary: ‘The Bill of Rights will make sure a proper balance is struck between individuals’ rights, personal responsibility, and the wider public interest.’   

Later he said in an interview on LBC: ‘Our plans for a Bill of Rights will strengthen typically British rights like freedom of speech and trial by jury, while preventing abuses of the system and adding a healthy dose of common sense.’

I have no doubt he is well meaning but he is also naive. Every minister in this government should be able to realise that what counts as common sense for them will not for their millions of critics – not least those who have quite rationally (and ethically) refused to be injected with an inadequately trialled and tested experimental gene therapy now provenly risky and damaging, as well as lacking efficacy. I know who has the most common sense and it is not Mr Raab.

This UK government consultation remains open till 11.59pm, Tuesday 8 March 2022

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Kathy Gyngell
Kathy Gyngell
Kathy is Editor of The Conservative Woman. She is @KathyConWom on Twitter.

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