Friday 24 June 2022

The Court Shoe On The Other Foot

The Government that enacted the Human Rights Act waged a sustained campaign against civil liberties. Both that Act and the European Convention on Human Rights were powerless against that assault, as they have been against most of the austerity programme, against the wars, in the cause of Julian Assange, and so on.

I myself was convicted after a judge had specifically instructed a jury to "disregard" the concept of conviction beyond reasonable doubt, and then imprisoned because my enemies had been politically well enough connected to have me charged with an offence to which there was no defence, so that all that mattered was to be well enough in with the highly politicised Crown Prosecution Service. All in all, much as with the EU and workers' rights, or the monarchy and whatever it is that that is supposed to be for, it is impossible to see what the fuss is about.

Little involving Winston Churchill and almost nothing involving David Maxwell Fyfe ought to endear itself to us. The lately revived suggestion that they never intended the Convention to apply to Britain serves only to illustrate its roots in the "Wogs Begin At Calais" mentality of the old Imperial elite, which never quite gave up on the idea of extending the Empire deep into Europe, all the way down to daft 1980s stories that the Queen was going to become "Queen of Europe", and to no more sensible suggestions that Tony Blair was going to become its President.

But in fact Churchill and Maxwell Fyfe were even more concerned to check social democracy and the advancement of the lower orders in Britain than anywhere else. Notably, they made no attempt to patriate the interpretation of the Convention. For that, it took Blair. Still, when both the High Court and the Supreme Court declined to injunct the Rwanda flight, then they knew that Strasbourg would do so, and the Supreme Court would not otherwise have granted leave to appeal. If the option of kicking things upstairs had been removed, then our own judges would just do what the ones across the Channel would otherwise have done. Nothing would change.


  1. Absolutely right, the Blair Government's attacks on civil liberties showed the uselessness of the HRA and the ECHR.

    1. As do the latest such assaults, while those are still in force, or at least in place.