The Sun has been ecstatic in its editorial today: it calls Michael “Oiky” Gove “a shrewd choice to be in charge of abolishing the Human Rights Act … This bonkers law puts the rights of terrorists, foreign lags and illegal immigrants on a pedestal ahead of the rights of the British people … It has to go”. But there was, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, only one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks.
But then Theresa May, who has been confirmed as continuing in her previous role as Home Secretary, is going to re-introduce her “Snoopers’ Charter”. And this is important: while the Sun, and many other Tory cheerleaders, want to crow about how wonderful this move is, the reality is that everyone has rights, and for a very good reason. Once again, I turn to Lord Bingham’s explanation, and its concluding question.
The right not to be tortured or subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The right not to be enslaved.
The right to liberty and security of the person.
The right to a fair trial.
The right not to be retrospectively penalised.
The right to respect for private and family life.
Freedom of thought,conscience and religion. Freedom of expression.
Freedom of assembly and association.
The right to marry.
The right not to be discriminated against in the enjoyment of those rights.
The right not to have our property taken away except in the public interest and with compensation.
The right of fair access to the country’s educational system.
The right to free elections.
Human rights are not, however, protected for the likes of people like me – or most of you. They are protected for the benefit above all of society’s outcasts, those who need legal protection because they have no other voice – the prisoners, the mentally ill, the gipsies, the homosexuals, the immigrants, the asylum-seekers, those who are at any time the subject of public obloquy”.