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Human rights: what a mess they're in

Richard North, 13/11/2012  


Telegraph 056-ete.jpg

One cannot help but indulge in a wry smile as we observe the complete mess our government has got itself in.

On the one hand, we have the Arthur Redfearn case, where one can only applaud the Human Rights Convention for the addition protection it gives. And then there is Abu Qatada, where British judges, calling in aid the Convention, are saying the Jordanian Government's word is not worth the paper it's written on and the man can't be deported to Jordan to face charges for terrorism.

The deeper problem, though, arises from the tendency of successive governments to offshore their legislative responsibilities and their collective consciences, which means they have surrendered their freedom to make the rules – and have largely lost the capability so to do.

And while the Convention on Human Rights is not an EU instrument, it has been strongly argued that membership of the EU requires conformity with the Convention. That undoubtedly influences Mr Cameron to delay repealing the Human Rights Act, which called for when in opposition.

The answer, therefore, is simple. If Mr Cameron, Mrs May and Government ministers generally want to sleep at nights, they are going to have to relearn the capacity to govern. As long as they accept the domination of a foreign power, as in Brussels, and foreign judges – whether in Strasborg or Luxemborg – they are going to have problems.

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