The government yesterday published a document entitled “Rights and Responsibilities: developing our constitutional framework”. Only seven backbench Labour MPs stayed to hear about that. Those absent made a wise call, as the Statement was beyond parody.
I give you a flavour from the supporting document:
” A declaration or charter of rights and responsibllities expressed as common beliefs might build on the precedent provided by the French Declaration of the Rights of Man or the Universal Declaraiton of Human Rights, both of which make reference to responsibilities as well as rights. Such a declaration would be intended to have no legal effect in the courts. It would enable Parliament to set out a comnmon and explicit understanding of the values underpinning reciprocal rights and responsibilities, including the rights of individuals, the responsibilities of public authorities to respect rights and the mutual responsibilities we owe each other as members of society. It could reflect the consensus which emerges …..”
When I asked Mr Sraw if we could have the referendum they promised on Lisbon as one of our rights, the answer seemed to be No. Apparently there is no responsibility on governments to do what they promise. Nor did Mr Straw rule out every citizen being sent a copy of Gordon’s little red book of citizens responsibilities (Number One the Citizen must pay all requests to keep the government in the style to which it is accustomed)