Posts Tagged 'Rights'

Establishment on the attack – it’s not about saving the climate, it’s about profitable domination of the people

So another week has passed with yet more plans unveiled for progressing the insipid ‘sustainability’ agenda, based upon the anti democratic implementation of Agenda 21, which is used as cover for something altogether more sinister.  There is no other way to put this.  The UK is at war.  What is at stake is our liberty, our privacy and personal freedoms, in fact our very way of life.

If you’re saying to yourself that this is overblown, hyperbolic, conspiratorial nonsense then pause and take some time to think in depth about why we are seeing the events that are currently unfolding, quietly and virtually unnoticed, in the UK today – a UK that is a modern, industrialised society.

Think about the impact on this country’s increasing population, that shows no sign of slowing its growth, of the political decisions that have been taken to prevent the construction of reservoirs that would increase our water capacity, the purpose of which is to force our growing number to use less water than is currently used by the smaller number of us today.

Think about the impact on this country’s increasing population, that shows no sign of slowing its growth, of plans being hatched right now, the purpose of which is to force the larger population in the future to use 27% less energy than is currently used by the smaller number of us today.

Think about the impact on this country’s increasing population, that shows no sign of slowing its growth, of regulations put in place the purpose of which is to prevent the larger population in the future disposing of waste efficiently, by reducing landfill capacity and so far quadrupling the amount we are charged for getting rid of our refuse.

These are just three examples of the assault on the British people by conducting a controlled reduction in the capacity and provision of the essentials for life itself, essentials for the way of life that has developed and sustains us, and essentials for effective sanitation to maintain a healthy life.  And in each of these examples not only is capacity and provision being reduced dramatically per capita, but the corporate monopolies that have been granted control over these essentials are being permitted and/or compelled to drive up the charges for them – not only stripping away from us more of our disposable income and securing huge profits for themselves, but also reversing decades of effort and action to ensure the poorest and most vulnerable in our society have affordable provision.

One would typically expect a tipping point to be reached where the population draws a line and challenges the establishment that, rather than implementing common sense and affordable solutions to maintain standards and quality of living, is instead so committed to adversely affecting people’s lives.

With that in mind, now think about why government seizes every opportunity to control and restrict the right of people to assemble in protest, monitor who communicates with whom, carpets our towns and cities with CCTV cameras that have ever increasing capability, seeks to harvest our DNA and centralise our health records, furthers the proliferation of court hearings held in secret and imposes harsher sentences on people who reveal the details of secret cases than on those who commit violent offences.  Could it be anything to do with keeping the people in check, so protest against the damaging and oppressive actions can be prevented and the agenda can be pursued to the advantage and benefit of the elite few?

There is more besides, but these examples illustrate the point clearly enough.  At the end of the line of the erosion of our liberties and privacy is the establishment’s desire to control and dominate the people, treating all of us as suspects to be monitored and controlled and trotting out the cant that if we’ve nothing to hide we’ve nothing to fear – and of course there is the corporates’ desire to cash in by providing the ‘solutions’ at our expense.

Reprehensible, abhorrent, dispicable… criminal?

After being convicted and imprisoned for four months at Minshull Street Crown Court, what he daubed on his T-shirt was described by police as ‘morally reprehensible‘.  No one denies what Barry Thew wrote and then paraded around Radcliffe was grossly offensive.  Many people will agree his actions were appalling, odious even.

This follows on from the jailing for three months of Matthew Woods for ‘abhorrent’ and ‘dispicable‘ comments made about missing children Madeleine McCann and April Jones, after he pleaded guilty in court.

But in jailing Thew for ‘a public order offence’ and Woods for ‘sending a message or other matter that is grossly offensive by means of a public electronic communications network’, the powers that be have gone too in criminalising expressions and viewpoints that, while disgusting and probably demonstrating severely warped minds, incite neither violence nor any other crime.

Quietly over the years the constraints on speech that were designed to prevent incitement to engage in criminal actions have been altered to fold in words that offend.  No matter how much outrage and upset we feel about the views and comments people like Thew and Woods decide to spew forth, what we are seeing is increasing restriction and a disturbing erosion of an individual’s freedom of expression.

While in itself this erosion may seem like no bad thing in the case of Thew and Woods, we should be feeling real concern about how further restrictions and erosions may be applied in order to criminalise normal and necessary dissent against the authorities, or even a supposed consensus view on an issue.

These two episodes show we do not have a free society where no one has the right to not be offended, but an increasingly authoritarian and paternalist society where periodical fits of morality – that phrase to beautifully turned by Thomas Macauley to describe the ridiculousness of the public getting on its high horse to exhibit virtue – among members of the public are seized upon by ‘the powers that be’ to further curtail essential rights and freedoms.

Sending these grotesque specimens to prison for what they have thought and said, when people convicted of offences against the person such as assault, or who kill people through poor or dangerous driving, are allowed to retain their liberty should be sounding warning bells.  The State is more concerned about going after people for their thoughts than going after those who commit harmful and criminal acts.  It’s an injustice.  But it is also a very real danger.

It belongs to us

There have been many stories this week, but there are two that have dragged me to my keyboard at a time when I really haven’t felt like writing.

This post concerns the first one, the news on Thursday that the government is planning to introduce charges for FOI requests, perhaps involving a “range of tariffs”.  As our blogging friends at Save FOI explain:

Charging for FOI requests would drastically curtail the ability of ordinary people as well as charities, journalists, businesses and others to hold public bodies to account.

Save FOI goes on to say that this seems a particularly strange move for a Government whose Prime Minister has said “We want to be the most open and transparent government in the world.”  But of course, as readers of this blog have long known – and an increasing number of people up and down the country are at last starting to realise – it is impossible to trust anything most politicians say, and when it comes to David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband in particular our default position must be the justifiable assumption that they are lying through their teeth.

But there is a more fundamental point to be made here that even Save FOI appear to have missed, namely that we are required to request information to be made public in the first place.

While there are obvious exceptions where some information has to be kept out of the public domain lest it aids a potential enemy to do harm to this nation, the fact remains this is information that should be released and made public proactively.  The information is the public’s.  It is produced and exists supposedly to serve the public.  We pay for it.  Therefore it belongs to us.

That we are forced to go in search of it (and all too frequently encounter significant obstruction in getting it) is a scandal.  That we may also now be compelled to pay for that which is ours is an outrage.  This reinforces the reality of a them and us society, where on one side we have a self selecting elite operating in its own interest at our expense and on the other side we have the general public, abused and treated with contempt.

If we had genuine people power in this country via system like Referism the inverted master and servant relationship would be corrected.  Power is exercised through the  control of funds.  Under Referism the people would decide regularly where our money is spent.  Representatives would be forced to abide by the public will instead of acting as our masters.  And one outcome would be the end of the pantomime that sees us forced to crawl and beg for titbits of information from those who pretend they are a class apart.

Sign the petition opposing this move to charge for FOI by all means.  But don’t lose sight of the fact that this is our information that should be made public, without delay or hindrance, by default.  That is what we should be demanding, not going cap in hand to the likes of Cameron – whose two faced party (if you can believe the irony / hypocrisy / self delusion *del as appropriate) produced the t-shirt on the right – hoping we can cling on to scraps of information, sometimes supplied when it suits the political class, on request and under sufferance.

We should not be addressing the symptom, we should be fighting the problem.  That is why it is time for disparate voices to combine and declare our demands.  I will be there at the Old Swan in Harrogate with the other people who will be working to frame those demands and pursue them.

With that event in mind, two of my favourite bloggers make essential points that all need to burned into our collective memory.  Firstly, Raedwald who reminds us that we don’t request, rather we demand our freedom, because it’s our freedom and not for others to grant us.  Secondly, Witterings From Witney who reminds us that that the politicians are always the servants and never the masters of the people, irrespective of the fact they behave otherwise.  It is time to make both a reality.

Countries praised Libya’s human rights spin in UN report

Only the United Nations…

From UN Watch we learn that despite having just voted to suspend Libya from its ranks, the UN Human Rights Council (according to the agenda of its current session) is planning to ‘consider and adopt the final outcome of the review of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’.  This concerns a lengthy report which hails Libya’s human rights record which is still due to be presented on March 18.

The report features comments from various countries and include the assessments and observations below about human rights in Libya – the same country that is currently machine gunning and hanging democracy protesters who are trying to end the Gaddafi regime.

Iran noted that the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya had implemented a number of international human rights instruments and had cooperated with relevant treaty bodies. It noted with appreciation the establishment of the National Human Rights Committee as an independent national human rights institution, and the provision of an enabling environment for non-governmental organizations.

Algeria noted the efforts of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to promote human rights, which reflected the country’s commitment to complying with Human Rights Council resolutions and cooperating with the international community. Algeria welcomed the national institutional framework that had been set up, in particular the National Human Rights Committee. It noted that the country had made some progress in the area of education, as well as social and economic progress since the lifting of economic sanctions.

Qatar praised the legal framework for the protection of human rights and freedoms, including, inter alia, its criminal code and criminal procedure law, which provided legal guarantees for the implementation of those rights. Qatar expressed appreciation for the improvements made in the areas of education and health care, the rights of women, children and the elderly, and the situation of people with special needs.

Sudan noted the country’s positive experience in achieving a high school enrolment rate and improvements in the education of women.

The Syrian Arab Republic praised the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its serious commitment to and interaction with the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms. It commended the country for its democratic regime based on promoting the people’s authority through the holding of public conferences, which enhanced development and respect for human rights, while respecting cultural and religions traditions.

North Korea praised the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its achievements in the protection of human rights, especially in the field of economic and social rights, including income augmentation, social care, a free education system, increased delivery of health-care services, care for people with disabilities, and efforts to empower women. It noted the functioning of the constitutional and legislative framework and national entities.

Bahrain noted that the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya had adopted various policies aimed at improving human rights, in particular the right to education and the rights of persons with disabilities. Bahrain commended the free education system and praised programmes such as electronic examinations and teacher training. It commended the country for its efforts regarding persons with disabilities, particularly all the services and rehabilitation programmes provided.

Palestine commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for the consultations held with civil society in the preparation of the national report, which demonstrated its commitment to the improved enjoyment of human rights. Palestine praised the country for the Great Green Document on Human Rights. It noted the establishment of the national independent institution entrusted with promoting and protecting human rights, which had many of the competencies set out in the Paris Principles. It also noted the interaction of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya with human rights mechanisms.

Iraq commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for being a party to most international and regional human rights instruments, which took precedence over its national legislation. It welcomed the efforts to present a comprehensive overview of the human rights situation in the country based on the unity among democracy, development and human rights. It also commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its cooperation with the international community.

Saudi Arabia commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s achievements in its constitutional, legislative and institutional frameworks, which showed the importance that the country attached to human rights, and for the fact that international treaties took precedence over its national legislation. It noted that the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya had become party to many human rights conventions and had equipped itself with a number of institutions, national, governmental and non-governmental, tasked with promoting and protecting human rights.

Tunisia welcomed [Libya’s] national report, as well as the efforts of the National Committee, such as the website created to gather contributions. Tunisia noted progress made by the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, such as the adoption of the Great Green Charter, which was very comprehensive and enshrined fundamental freedoms and rights as enshrined in international human rights instruments.

Venezuela acknowledged the efforts of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to promote economic, social and cultural rights, especially those of children. It highlighted progress achieved in ensuring free and compulsory education.

Jordan welcomed the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s achievements in the promotion and protection of human rights, including the establishment of institutions, particularly in the judiciary system. Jordan praised progress in the fields of health, education and labour, as well as the increased attention to the rights of women. Jordan noted the participation of women in public life, including decision-making, and emphasized the fact that women held one third of all judicial posts.

Cuba commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for the progress made in the achievement of one of the Millennium Development Goals, namely, universal primary education. It noted that the country had also made a firm commitment to providing health care.

Oman commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its diligent efforts in the field of human rights and for making them its priority. It referred to the legal framework for the protection of human rights, and its clear commitment in that regard, which was reflected in the ratification of most human rights instruments, and its cooperation with United Nations mechanisms. The country’s report focused on both achievements and challenges, which demonstrated its sincerity in addressing human rights issues.

Egypt commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for progress in building a comprehensive national human rights framework of institutions and in drafting legislation and supporting its human resources in that area. It commended the separation of the Ministries of Justice and the Interior and the development of a new criminal code, and it praised the cooperation with international organizations in combating human trafficking and corruption, and the improvement made in the conditions related to illegal migration.

Malta fully recognized the difficulties faced by the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and welcomed the action taken at the national, bilateral and regional levels to suppress the illegal activities that gave rise to migration. Malta welcomed the cooperation of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya with the International Organization for Migration.

Bangladesh referred to the progress made in the enjoyment of economic and social rights, including in the areas of education, health care, poverty reduction and social welfare. Bangladesh noted with appreciation the measures taken to promote transparency.

Malaysia commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for being party to a significant number of international and regional human rights instruments.

Morocco welcomed the achievements in promoting social protection, especially for women, children and persons with special needs. It welcomed the efforts to protect the rights of children. It welcomed the establishment of a national committee for the protection of persons with special needs. Morocco also praised the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its promotion of human rights education, particularly for security personnel.

Pakistan praised the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for measures taken both in terms of legislation and in practice, noting with appreciation that it was a party to most of the core human rights treaties. Pakistan praised the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s commitment to human rights, in particular the right to health, education and food, even when the country had faced sanctions in the 1990s. Pakistan was encouraged by efforts to address the root causes of illegal migration, and noted the good practice of settling political disputes and developing infrastructure in source countries.

Mexico thanked the delegation for the presentation of the national report and the answers that it had provided. It expressed appreciation for the political will of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to address the human rights challenges facing it. Mexico hoped that the universal periodic review of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya would make a positive contribution to national efforts to overcome challenges to guaranteeing the full enjoyment of human rights.

Myanmar commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its economic and social progress, and recognized efforts in domestic legislation aimed at guaranteeing equal rights. Myanmar noted that the country had acceded to many international human rights instruments and established a national Human Rights Committee. Myanmar praised efforts to realize basic education for all and a free health-care system.

Viet Nam congratulated the delegation on the quality of the national report. It noted with satisfaction the commitment of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to the protection and promotion of the human rights of its people, particularly the country’s accession to the main international human rights conventions. It welcomed achievements made in the exercise of human rights.

Thailand welcomed the national report, which presented both progress and challenges. Thailand highlighted efforts made with regard to education, persons with special needs and vulnerable groups.

Brazil noted the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s economic and social progress and acknowledged the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities, the free health care and the high enrolment in primary education. Brazil noted the successful cooperation with international organizations in areas such as migrant rights, judicial reform and the fight against corruption.

Kuwait expressed appreciation for the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s initiative to improve per capita income and to ensure social justice and the fair distribution of wealth. It praised the measures taken with regard to low-income families. Kuwait called upon the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to continue its efforts to integrate people with disabilities into society while recognizing their positive role.

Reading these submissions one wonders why anyone would want to foment a revolution in such a utopian paradise… What a misunderstood and benevolent man that Gaddafi is.

Silencing Gilfoyle is an outrageous injustice

After 18 years behind bars, found guilty of a murder he has always maintained he did not commit, Eddie Gilfoyle has been allowed out of prison on parole. However, he has only been allowed out on condition that he does not comment on the case.

Last year, police investigation notes that the Merseyside force had always maintained did not exist, were uncovered. They showed that the doctor who declared Mrs Gilfoyle dead told police that she had died six hours earlier – when her hospital porter husband was at work. Paula Gilfoyle had been discovered dead by hanging and there was a suicide note. The police detectives working on the case argued that Gilfoyle had tricked his wife into writing the suicide note, convinced her to put a noose around her neck and climb a step ladder, and then pushed her to her death.

The information that the time of death coincided with Eddie Gilfoyle being at work was withheld from the jury and never mentioned during his trial. Clearly they would have cast reasonable doubt on his guilt. So they were conveniently left out, which is a travesty of justice.

But the injustice continues with this news that the Parole Board made it a condition of Gilfoyle’s parole licence that he must not comment to the media, either himself or via a third party. Who the hell do these people think they are? Presumably they will argue this is for Gilfoyle’s own good, but you can be certain their motives will be entirely selfish. No one must have their freedom of speech curtailed in this way.

There are safeguards under the law to deal with incitement to violence or slander. It is perfectly proper that there should be. But there is absolutely no justification to silence a man, whose conviction was demonstrably unsafe, from speaking about it. It is an outrageous injustice, a wrongful infrigement of liberty and an example of the censorious nature of bureaucrats in this supposed democracy.

Justice must be done but it must also be seen to be done. But increasingly we are seeing people prevented to telling their story in order to protect the establishment from scrutiny and embarrassment. There is this current instance and there are many instances, as Christopher Booker keeps highlighting, such as families that have been ripped apart as their children have been taken from them in kangaroo court hearings who are similarly gagged from speaking about their cases to suit the interests of the authorities.

This enforced silence is utterly wrong. The right of free people to speak to whomsoever they wish must be protected under the law. But instead the law is being used as a cudgel against the people rather than a protection for them. There is something rotten about a country whose officials abuse the law in order to withdraw the rights of others to suit their own ends or hide their failings. The self serving parasites who seek to operate with impuntiy in this way must be stopped if the people of this country are to be genuinely free.

The sick spectacle that is John Hirst

The only word to describe it is ‘sick’.

The Daily Politics gave airtime to the BBC’s latest curiosity, John Hirst. The so called Jailhouse Lawyer, who was nothing more than a prison plaintiff, listened to Andrew Neil describe the manner in which Hirst took an axe, put the kettle on, killed a defenceless woman with the axe, then made himself a cup of tea. Hirst then grinned broadly, laughed and thanked Neil for the graphic account.

He laughed.

The family of Hirst’s victim, Bronia Burton, should not be subjected to the sick spectacle of the mentally unstable, aggressive killer of their relative being paraded across television and radio to bask in the limelight of a stomach churning celebratory tour. Hirst’s behaviour demonstrated what a grotesque and unpleasant person he is. Nothing has changed since this profile of him published in the Guardian in 2006.

Despite 25 years in prison (after being sentenced to 15) for submitting a plea of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, there is no indication that John Hirst has been in any way been rehabilitated. He denies committing violent offences in prison that saw his sentence steadily increase, claiming he only served 10 additional years because he challenged their authority and demanded his ‘rights’.  The sick irony of Hirst demanding the entitlements that progressive idiots have taken upon themselves to redefine as rights – after Hirst denied Bronia Burton to a genuine human right, the right to life – should not be lost on anyone. The hypocrisy is staggering.

Hirst considers himself intelligent and learned after completing a degree while in prison and challenging the ban on prison inmates having the vote. But he was pathetically incapable of answering why prisoners such as him should be entitled to participate in the democratic process. He simply repeated over and over that prisoners should vote because it is their human right, before throwing personal insults at Andrew Neil for having the temerity to ask perfectly reasonable questions. If anything, the thoroughly revolting Hirst actually demonstrated there are people who plainly unfit to be allowed to vote and should be barred from participating in the electoral process.

The European Court of Human Rights agreed with Hirst back in 2005. But then, it would given it is largely comprised of socialist progressive placemen whose legal experience does not include training as counsel, practicing in courts and subsequently becoming judges. Many of the members of the ECHR bench are nothing more than academics who studied or taught law and have perpetuated the liberal agenda of upholding ‘rights’ for offenders while thumbing their noses at the law abiding in society who are trampled on by the bureaucracy that infests our lives. Such people should have no place handing down rulings to anyone.

The ECHR should not have legitimacy, but it has because the political classes who make up the Council of Europe signed up to be bound by its rulings in a fit of bien pensant idiocy. The ECHR should not have the competence to effectively create law. But it does because the political class did not challenge the ECHR awarding itself the ability to do so. Not for the first time the chickens are coming home to roost, but yet again the political class is sticking its head in the sand to avoid having to admit they got something wrong.

Against such a backdrop it is no surprise Hirst’s unworthy challenge successed and that he has subsequently been given a platform for his obnoxious grandstanding. After all this is declining Britain in the 21st Century, where common sense and decency are sneered at and the honest and law abiding are under continuous attack. However, at some point the people will hit back. Hard.

Only in Britain

What never ceases to amaze is just how idiotic people described as learned can be.  The Home Office policy which allows for foreign nationals who have been refused permission to remain in Britain to be deported quickly after the decision, has been struck down by another activist judge, Mr Justice Silber.

So what we have in Britain now is a constraint that makes it illegal to quickly deport people who are have been deemed to be present in this country illegally.

Despite having gone through the immigration process and legal system and having been refused permission to stay, the judiciary is preventing people with no right to remain here from being sent home – in order to provide them with the opportunity to continue fighting against the decision at taxpayer expense, until some other judge decides to give them indefinite leave to remain in this country.

The lawyers make a nice pile of cash, the legal aid budget is stretched to breaking point and someone without grounds to come here as an asylum seeker is allowed to stay regardless.  Just to ensure the game continues to be played in the same way, any discussion about immigration is shut down by a political class that is incapable of anything beyond affording itself more control over our lives and engaging in gesture politics.

Abid Naseer case highlights broken Tory pledge on Bill of Rights

The Abid Naseer case, where an al-Qaeda member who came to Britain posing as a student but intent on blowing up British citizens, was notable for one important reaction to the ruling of the special immigration tribunal.  That was the reaction of the new Home Secretary, Theresa May.  She quite incredibly said the government would not be appealing against the ruling, handed down by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission:

“We are disappointed that the court has ruled that Abid Naseer and Ahmad Faraz Khan should not be deported to Pakistan, which we were seeking on national security grounds.

“As the court agreed, they are a security risk to the UK. We are now taking all possible measures to ensure they do not engage in terrorist activity.”

Many people were extremely critical of this decision, rightly so because it again made crystal clear that the interests of people considered to be engaged in serious wrongdoing have been promoted above those of the law abiding majority.  The pathetic response from Theresa May doesn’t tell us what the government intends to do about it.  The reason for that pathetic response is that the Con-Lib government isn’t going to do a thing about it.  Despite the fine words and pledges of action, this is another of those areas where David Cameron has executed one of his now infamous U-turns – over five months ago, barely noticed by the media.

It was in January that this blog highlighted a story demonstrating a shift in Conservative thinking, a shift that would see it kick into the long grass its plan to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA) and create a British Bill of Rights.  The UK Human Rights Act, uniquely among EU member states, incorporates all the case law not just of this country, but of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.  With a significant number of contradictory and perverse judgments coming from that Court, the Act is a confusing dog’s breakfast that does more to protect the interests of people seeking to avoid the consequences for their actions than the law abiding majority.  But in any case, Cameron’s Bill of Rights, wouldn’t make any real difference because the Tories want to remain within the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.

Theresa May’s running up of the white flag is evidence of the Conservative sham when it comes to dealing with the HRA.  There was nothing else she could say because the Tories have run away from their own commitment.  There was no information about what she intends to do about this idiocy because the Tories are now resolved to ‘letting matters rest there’.  Does that sound familiar?  It should because that those where the words used by David Cameron when promising to deal with the Lisbon Treaty if he came to power after it was ratified.  Lo and behold, the U-turn on the HRA is another climb down designed to suit the interests of European harmonisation.

What is so profoundly dishonest is that it now seems the Conservatives are giving the impression that their backing away from the replacement of the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights is the fault of the Liberal Democrats.  The Telegraph, five months behind the curve on things that matter, plays the Conservatives’ useful idiot yet again as it furthers the Tory spin operation. Deputy Political Editor, Robert Winnett, chunters on about the Tory manifesto pledge on a Bill of Rights and Cameron’s quote that the protection the law (HRA) offered to criminals was a “glaring example of what is going wrong in our country”, before spinning the line that the plans may have been delayed following the coalition agreement with the Liberal Democrats.  He goes on to say that:

There was confusion yesterday over the introduction of the new Bill of Rights after a senior Cabinet minister indicated that plans to repatriate powers from Brussels had been abandoned. Asked on the BBC Radio Four World at One programme if the Government would consider repealing relevant “major European law”, Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, said: “I can’t comment on that, we’re not planning that.”

It’s only confusing if you’ve not been paying attention to the signals coming out of Millbank over the last five months.  The decision has nothing to do with the useless Lib Dims, they are just being made a convenient patsy for a decision taken months ago.  We can expect the Lib Dims to be used to provide Cameron with the cover he has long sought to indulge his personal Europhile desires by backing away from promised negotiations to repatriate other powers from the EU.

We have been spun a tale of a new politics being created, one that serves the people rather than the political class.  The reality is we are seeing the political class perpetrate a fraud against the public, using the challenges of working in coalition as an excuse for following an agenda that abandons pledges offered to appease the public, while tightening the politicians’ grip on the levers of power.

Update: EU Referendum doesn’t beat around the bush, fearlessly telling it the way it is.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Abid Naseer deportation case is utter insanity

Are you an Islamist terrorist?  Do you want to wage violent jihad against the decadent infidel in the west?  Would you like the security of knowing that if you’re from a country that has the death penalty – and you are caught by the security services of your target nation – they will allow you to stay, at the cost of and under the protection of the people you had set out to murder and maim?  If your answer to these questions is ‘Yes’ then you should be trying to attack the United Kingdom!

A special immigration court, hearing an appeal against deportation, has ruled that Abid Naseer was an al-Qaeda operative – but could not be deported because he faced torture or death back home in Pakistan.  This is the man identified as the leader of an al-Qaeda cell that, MI5 and the police say, intended to bomb shoppers in Manchester.  Despite his intentions, this Pakistani national is being allowed to stay in this country.

Only a country run by craven bureaucrats could construct a process that enables a foreign national accused of planning terrorist atrocities against civilians to remain in that country for his own protection, at the cost of the people he was planning to kill.  Not only is our judicial system incapable of dealing with fanatics who wish to murder us, it is determined to put their ‘rights’ before our ‘interests’ and force us to cohabit with them on these islands. It is a perversion of common sense and an example of the warped moral relativism that is undermining this country.

I wonder how many Britons like the idea of a special immigration court blocking the deportation of a member of a terrorist organisation who allegedly sought to bring death and destruction to these shores. Why should the political class and their judicial activist friends be allowed to undermine the interests of the United Kingdom because a sovereign country has the death penalty and the terrorist who is a citizen of that country might lawfully be subjected to it as a consequence for his actions?

Does anyone believe the new politics address this insanity?  Don’t count on it, the politicians don’t care what we think.  A point made all to clear by our new Home Secretary, Theresa May, who while ‘disappointed’ is stating she doesn’t intend to appeal the decision.  Don’t like it, ordinary citizen?  Tough.  Our political class has spoken.  Enjoy the new politics – it’s not much different to the old.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Voting entitlement for prison inmates

Following recent focus on the ban on prisoners being allowed to vote, which has been covered here before, the government sneaked out a written answer to a question from Don Touhig MP on Thursday.

He asked if the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) plans to bring forward legislation to change the law which prevents prisoners from voting in general elections.  Michael Wills MP, a Minister of State at the MoJ, wrote:

The Government have recently undertaken the second stage consultation on this issue. We are currently considering the responses. The Government will then consider the next steps towards implementing the judgment in legislation.

Given that a significant majority of people in this country oppose the notion of prison inmates participating in the democratic process after offending against society, it will be interesting to see the consultation responses and the government’s next move.

In all probabaility the government will cave in to the European Court of Human Rights rather than represent the wishes of the voters who sent the MPs to Parliament.  That would show the real nature of what is supposed to be representative democracy in this country.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Orlando Zapata Tamayo dies in Cuba and BBC shames us

Orlando Zapata Tamayo was arrested in Cuba in 2003.  His crime?  He dissented from the party line of Cuba’s political elite, led by Fidel and Raul Castro, and was imprisoned after being found guilty of disrespecting authority.  He was sentenced to three years in prison.  However, because Tamayo continued in his attempts at political activism, his sentence was increased to 25 years (some reports say 36 years).  He suffered appalling conditions and repeated beatings which led him to begin a hunger strike lasting 85 days and ending with his death.

Not only does Cuba reject democracy, it denies people such as Orlando Zapata Tamayo the basic human right of freedom of speech.  Political opponents and trade unionists who dare to oppose the proscribed communist dictatorship have their liberty taken from them and while in prison they are subjected to torture and inhumane treatment by the authorities.  The Cuban Human Rights Commission says there are about 200 political prisoners in Cuba, people who just want to be able to have a say in who governs them and how.

Despite these facts there are some people who lionise Cuba’s dynastic leadership because it thumbs its nose at the United States.  They see Cuba as a plucky underdog fighting against the Americans, who maintain a trade embargo against the island nation because of the nature of the dictatorship.  They push from their minds the human rights abuses that prevail in Cuba in order to statisfy their anti Americanism.  It is easy to point to individuals like Ken Livingstone and deride them for their myopic stance.

But when the taxpayer funded state broadcaster, the BBC, engages in this kind of behaviour it is an altogether more serious matter.  It is not just bad taste to witness the BBC to use the death of a political dissident such as Tamayo as an opportunity to air a video report by Matt Frei, one that displays barely hidden admiration for Cuba masqerading as wonderment at the ‘initiative’ shown by Cubans affected by the US trade embargo.  It is stomach churning listening to Frei, in the final seconds of the clip, when he talks about a 1950’s Buick car that continues to run only because it now contains parts gathered from around the world, opine:

‘Call it the triumph of persistence over adversity. A bit like Cuba itself, some might say.’

What kind of warped editorial meeting determined this clip, with that line, should be linked to the news of Orlando Zapata Tamayo’s death?  Matt Frei’s comment offers encouragement and succour to a regime that allows and facilitates the brutalisation of people who just want freedom, yet the BBC choose to equate those sentiments with today’s news.  Sadly such a mindset is all too common at the BBC and it represents the triumph of moral relativism over what is decent and just.  For me such a crass display of naked BBC politicking shames this country.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Prisoner vote ban is not a human rights issue

The UK is coming under pressure to allow prison inmates to vote in elections, because according to campaign groups and the European Court of Human Rights, the human rights of prisoners denied a vote are being infringed.  Lord Ramsbotham, a former Chief Inspector of prisons is leading the charge, along with the activists from the Prison Reform Trust, Unlock and Barred from Voting.

Ramsbotham is lockstep with bureaucrats and those who are opposed to the concept of prison generally in believing it is a great injustice that the government has not allowed prisoners to vote, especially after the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights decided it was unlawful to deny all sentenced prisoners voting rights in UK elections.  Today he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

‘The Grand Chamber of the European Court, in rejecting the government’s appeal against its ruling, said that there is no place under the convention system for automatic disfranchisement based purely on what might offend public opinion.’

Ramsbotham and the European Court are wrong.  This is another example of entitlements being wrongly defined as human rights.  Voting is not a human right, it is an entitlement granted to those in society who respect its laws.  People are not born with the right to vote, otherwise we would be carted off the polling station straight from the maternity wing.  So this should not be a matter for the European Court in the first place.  But as is the way with supranational bureacuracy, mission creep is seeing an increasing labelling of entitlements as rights, bringing control of certain matters under legal jurisdiction and the result is a perverse undermining the rule of law and ability of the state to impose appropriate sanctions on offenders.

Men and women who have been handed custodial sentences are not in prision because they have ‘offended public opinion’ as Ramsbotham ludicrously stated on the Today programme.  Such an assertion is idiotic in the extreme.  They are there because they have broken the law of the land by committing criminal offences that have caused harm or loss to other members of society.  After trial by a jury of their peers and being found guilty of a crime, inmates have been subsequently denied their liberty and ability to participate in society in order to protect the public, punish them for their offence and, if prison actually worked properly, rehabilitate them so they do not offend again.

Why should people who have broken the law and are serving a custodial sentence be allowed to vote for those representatives who we ask in principle to make that law?  The removal of voting entitlements from offenders whose crimes were so serious it warranted imprisonment is proportional and entirely appropriate.  Many people rightly argue that rights should never be separated from responsibilities and that society has to be able to impose consequences on those whose actions harm society.  But that argument confuses the matter at hand because as I said above this issue of votes for prisoners is not one of human rights, it is about the removal of an entitlement granted by the law of the land.  Remember, the state cannot grant us rights, they are ours by default.  Don’t be confused by it.  Prisoners should not be entitled to vote.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Communications Capabilities Directorate aka Snooper Squad

It might seem unfair of me to criticise the media (with the notable exceptions of The Register and ZDNet) for not reporting about the government’s new snooper squad, the Communications Capabilities Directorate (CCD), given I am only turning my attention to it four days later.  But the journalists are paid to investigate and report this kind of stuff as their day job, whereas I’m not.  But for many journalists such as enviropropagandist Louise Gray, unless ‘news’ is fed to them by way of press releases to cut, paste and publish, nothing is happening in the world that’s worth covering and they are content to sit around with their thumbs up their bums and their brains in neutral.

As The Register explains, the Communications Capabilities Directorate comprises the same civil servants who have been working on the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) since 2007, but now the group has a defined structure even though it has not been added to the Home Office’s list of directorates.  One for our honourable MPs to get their teeth into, methinks.  The sole aim of the CCD is online surveillance of us, namely the interception and retrieval of all our internet activity, giving the government and law enforcement access to the details of who contacts whom, when, where and how via the internet.

Despite substantial disquiet about this huge invasion of our privacy, the cost to internet service providers (ISP) of maintaining database archives of everything their customers do online; including sending and receiving emails, use of social networking sites, web browsing history, financial transactions and making voice calls through computers, the Home Office is pressing ahead with the scheme at a cost of at least £2bn to taxpayers, plus the costs that ISPs will pass on to customers.  Many people believed the plans were on hold until after the general election after the Home Office’s consultation saw ISPs strongly criticise the plans.  But the Home Office has been quietly pressing ahead with its scheme to turn all web users into criminal suspects and harvest our data.

It might have been nice if the media had, you know, taken notice and reminded people what is being done to us ‘for our own good’ by our noble public servants.  After all, with so much pressure on the government to reduce spending on non essential, non front line services, one would think cancelling this voyeuristic, £2bn socialist wet dream snooper squad dedicated to exerting control over the population would be far more beneficial for the general public than keeping it going.  It’s nice to know what Labour’s priorities are.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Cameron’s tough line on rights is just spin

According to a post on ConservativeHome David Cameron is to say, in an interview on the Politics Show today, this about householder’s rights:

‘The moment a burglar steps over your threshold, and invades your property, with all the threat that gives to you, your family and your livelihood, I think they leave their human rights outside.’

It’s a very interesting position for Cameron to take as many people have argued that the Human Rights Act appears to offer more protection to the perpetrators of crime than their victims. At first viewing it looks like Cameron is being remarkably consistent on the subject. In 2007, when it became known that Learco Chindamo, the killer of London head teacher Philip Lawrence, could not be deported after serving his sentence because under the terms of the Act it would deny him his right to a family life in the UK, Cameron blasted:

‘It has to go. Abolish the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights, which sets out rights and responsibilities. The fact that the murderer of Philip Lawrence cannot be deported flies in the face of common sense. [...]‘

Cameron stayed firm on this into 2009 when in a written statement for today’s Convention on Modern Liberty he promised that a Conservative government would replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights to:

‘better tailor, but also strengthen, the protection of our core rights.’

(Incidentally if anyone knows where I can find a copy of Cameron’s written statement online, please let me know in the comments). But despite Cameron’s pledge, he has made it clear he has no intention of withdrawing from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights, making his proposed British Bill of Rights worthless. All we have is an illusion of action whilst Cameron not only leaves the substance unchanged, but actually downgrades the priority of introducing his Bill of Rights.

So although Cameron is talking tough and sending signals to the public that they would be able to act as they saw fit in dealing with intruders, nothing he says he would do will change the law that would be applied if householders ended up in court for assaulting those intruders. Some people ask why I, a conservative, have said I won’t vote for the party while Cameron remains leader. Cameron’s talk-tough-but-actually-do-nothing approach goes some way to explaining it.  I really wish I could vote for the party and get rid of this insipid, divisive and incompetent Labour administration.  But how can I vote Tory in good conscience when this is the way its leader spins a yarn to the public.  Small wonder the opinion polls show the Conservative lead weakening.

Cameron’s pledges are worthless unless he is prepared to address the root cause of the problems we face. But in his desperation to remain at the heart of the EU – putting his personal wishes before those of the British people and denying them a say in who we believe should govern this country, our Parliament or the EU – he will not take the steps needed to rectify problems that legislation originating from Brussels causes. The perverse outcomes caused by the Human Rights Act will continue under Cameron despite his populist utterances.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Conservatives cooling on Bill of Rights

When it comes to restoring democracy, accountability and the rights of individuals in this country, just where is David Cameron’s head at?  An editorial by Patrick O’Flynn in the Daily Express has given wider publicity to a shift in priority of the Conservative pledge to scrap the Human Rights Act and implement a British Bill of Rights in its place.

O’Flynn points out that such is the shift in priority of this essential piece of work, it may now not even get on the Conservatives’ radar for the entire first term of any Cameron administration.  The winners from such a position are the EU and the pro-EU front benchers in the Conservative party.  The losers will be the British people and sovereignty of our nation state, which remains in terminal decline.

In May 2009 Cameron gave a speech on Fixing Broken Politics.  It is worth reading the following segment of Cameron’s speech in its entirety because it sets out the justification for a British Bill of Rights and Cameron pledges a clear course of action:

THE EU AND THE HRA

But the tragic truth today is that no matter how much we strengthen Parliament or hold government to account…

…there will still be forces at work in our country that are completely unaccountable to the people of Britain.

People and organisations that have huge power and control over our daily lives and yet which no citizen can actually get at.

Almost half of all the regulations affecting our businesses come from the EU.

And since the advent of the Human Rights Act, judges are increasingly making our laws.

The EU and the judges – neither of them accountable to British citizens – have taken too much power over issues that are contested aspects of public policy…

…and which should therefore be settled in the realm of democratic politics.

It’s no wonder people feel so disillusioned with politics and Parliament when they see so many big decisions that affect their lives being made somewhere else.

So a progressive reform agenda demands that we redistribute power from the EU to Britain and from judges to the people.

We will therefore hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, pass a law requiring a referendum to approve any further transfers of power to the EU, negotiate the return of powers, and require far more detailed scrutiny in Parliament of EU legislation, regulation and spending.

And we will introduce a British Bill of Rights to strengthen our liberties, spell out the extent and limit of rights more clearly, and ensure proper democratic accountability over the creation of any new rights.

Those last two paragraphs are telling.  In the penultimate paragraph Cameron gave his much vaunted, and since then much re-spun and caveat laden, pledge of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.  No mention there of his pledge only applying if the Treaty had not been ratified by all member states.  Position reversed.  Then in the last paragraph he pledges to introduce a British Bill of Rights, which he has said elsewhere would replace the Human Rights Act.  But just like ‘Dave’ in his election poster, it seems the pledge is being given the airbrush treatment.

Given the importance of this subject, demonstrated and explained in the lengthy preamble to his commitments above, there is no justification for pushing the Bill of Rights issue further down the Conservatives’ legislative agenda.  This is exactly how Cameron started to abandon his pledge on a referendum about Lisbon.  By sidelining the introduction of a British Bill of Rights, Cameron is accepting the status quo and existing legislation, which he went to great lengths to explain was damaging and unacceptable.

This change in approach will be seen by many people of further evidence of a continuing thaw in Cameron’s supposedly frosty approach to the EU’s political control of this country.  Not only does Cameron want to keep Britain in the EU, not only does he want to remain signatory to the fundamentally flawed European Convention on Human Rights that has done so much to cause the damage he bemoaned, he is now quietly ditching policies that would have directly challenged the EU stranglehold and asserted British sovereignty over domestic matters.

Tory flip flops are not Dave-approved footwear, they are the increasing number of U-turns just keep on coming.  So far none of them serve the interests of the British people, or the long suffering members of the Conservative party, just Cameron and his own selfish motives.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Stop and search powers ruled illegal

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that sweeping powers allowing police to stop and search people without having grounds of suspecting their involvement in terrorism are illegal, reports The Times.  The paper goes on to explain that Judges at the court in Strasbourg made their unanimous decision in a case involving two people stopped near an arms fair in east London in 2003.

While this is a small victory for individual freedom from the state, this case should never have needed to go before a foreign court.  This country should have its own written constitution and convention of rights.  The domestic justice system in the UK should be sovereign and it should be sufficiently robust to strike down legislation such as Section 44 of the Terrorism 2000 Act, elements of which infringe our civil rights and do not provide adequate safeguards from abuse.

The Labour government, in its hyperactive determination to create laws so as to appear to be ‘doing something’ about terrorist threats and criminality, has been guilty of drafting appalling legislation.  Many of the Bills it has enacted are unnecessarily intrusive and have conferred excessive powers on the police and civil servants that are open to a wide range of interpretations.  So it is no surprise that some officials take advantage of this and wield their power in an inappropriate manner.

In matters of law and order, people should be free to do anything that is not illegal.  But this government is trying to reverse that state of affairs by steadily making illegal actions for which people have not been granted express permission.  It is unacceptable and people need to oppose such draconian and repressive measures.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine


Enter your email address below

The Harrogate Agenda Explained

Email AM

Bloggers for an Independent UK

AM on Twitter

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

STOR Scandal

Autonomous Mind Archive