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.

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6 Responses to “Cameron’s tough line on rights is just spin”


  1. 1 WitteringsfromWitney 31/01/2010 at 12:38 pm

    Could not agree more AM. As someone (Essex Boy) posted on ConHome: “What is the point of the Conservative Party”.

    If the Tories lose the election, or end up with a hung parliament, Cameron will be solely to blame.

    Also Cameron cannot withdraw from jurisdiction of the ECHR not whilst he remains a member of the EU!

  2. 2 JohnRS 31/01/2010 at 2:21 pm

    When I heard CallMeDave’s speech at the last Conservative Party conference I was quite enthused. It seemed to say a lot of the things I want to hear on crime and punishment, the economy, benefits system, familes etc. It was a pretty conservative speech.

    Since then, though, he has disappointed me time after time. I’ve herad speeches on many of the topis he covered earlier and they are woeful. The ideas he covered originally seem to have gone or been dramatically reduced in scope and scale. Some policy areas are totally confused as he gives different speeches to different audiences (checkout the two speeches onthe economy he’s just given in Davos). I’m not sure now if he’s a conservative or not.

    I agree with WitteringsfromWitney, if the Conservatives don’t win a clear majority in the election the blame will lie fairly and squarely with CallMeDave and his recent track record.

  3. 3 Rob 31/01/2010 at 4:30 pm

    Explain something to me. If scrapping the Human Rights Act but staying in the ECHR wouldn’t make a difference, then surely introduing the Human Rights Acts – hailed as a landmark by left-wing human rights laywers – didn’t actually do anything at all.

    Because the whole problem lies with the European Convention on Human Rights – which Churchill, Eden, MacMillan, Home, Heath, Thatcher and Major, all managed to remain within without it derailing their government?

  4. 4 Dave 31/01/2010 at 6:48 pm

    There’s a big difference now because we’re no longer in control of our own judicial matters. You can scrap the Human Rights Act but the European law now prime in Britain means it won’t make any difference. A litigant can still go to ECHR regardless of what our own courts say or do. Cameron’s bill of rights will only work if Britain takes sovereignty back over legal affairs. That’s the point.

  5. 5 Kenomeat 31/01/2010 at 9:51 pm

    The problem with Cameron is that he became leader at a time when Labour was stil ahead in the polls and so thought that he had to change the Tory party, including some core principles, to make it electable again. He now thinks the Tories are ahead because of his changes when it is despite them. Now is the time to revert to true conservatism. We need a leader with the courage to take Britain out of the EU (through a manifesto promise), bring an end to mass immigration, restore the grammar schools and bring decency back into our culture instead of the slurry of obscenities we are exposed to evey day. As this is not going to happen its UKIP for me and for many like me.

  6. 6 JohnRS 01/02/2010 at 12:41 pm

    I heard yesterday that CallMeDave has a) weakened on the need to start cutting the horrendous public debt quickly and b) said he’ll protect local government spending.

    These ideas are not what the public wants to hear.
    They are not what the markets what to hear.
    Expect another fall in poll ratings.

    The country is crying out for conservative policies to reduce debt; manage the public purse better; get rid of the spies and snoopers Labour has licensed to control us; get out of the EU – but not Europe; lock criminals up; support the Armed Forces.

    In other words good old conservative policies.

    When will he get the message?

    We can’t go on like this.


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