The European Court of Human rights


              The UK enjoys six months chairing the European Council which supervises the Human Rights Court and Convention.

              The UK is seeking amendment to the current system, to try to return it to the original intentions when it was set up after the Second World War.

              The idea was the member states which signed the Convention  would police it to ensure no signatory state violated crucial principles like the right to a fair trial and the need for a state to refrain from torture.

               In more recent years the ECHR has accepted a wide range of cases against member states from individual litigants seeking to change policy or push the boundaries of law in their respective countries. The UK thinks these cases should be settled under national law in national coruts, without an appeal against the domestic legal system to the European level. If, for example, the UK Parliament does not wish prisoners  to have the vote, there should be no right for the ECHR to overturn that judgement. Nor should the Court be able to decide individual migration cases against the determination of UK courts under UK law.

                The UK’s aim is to disallow individual appeals. The UK would remain a signatory of the Convention, subject to the judgement  and disapproval of the other member states should any future UK government violate the major principles of justice included in the Convention.

                This was an idea proposed in the “Future of Conservatism ” book recently published, in a chapter written by Geoffrey Cox QC MP.

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  1. lifelogic
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Given that Cameron lost the last, sitting duck, election due to a total lack of conservative vision and his silly green agenda we are stuck with the Libdems. I suppose therefore this would be a sensible compromise.

    The Libdems seem to think that British people are incapable of making their own laws to protect individuals and are as hooked on the ICHR as they are on “renewable, clean, sustainable and four times over priced energy” whatever that means – freezing cold pensioners I assume.

    • Disaffected
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      There is an easier solution to preserving our sovereignty and the right to govern ourselves: to leave the EU now.

      Cameron will try to produce a fig leaf to hide his embarrassing negotiating skills or lack of them that he will return some WTD regulation back to the UK in exchange for minor treaty change in the EU and no referenda on the EU. He will possibly sell this to his rebel MPs at his lasagne dinners in the coming weeks. The public of the UK wants out of the EU now and wants its referendum on it.

      What did Cameron negotiate from the EU or Ireland for the £7 billion bail out of Ireland?
      What did Cameron negotiate from the EU or Greece for the £9 billion IMF it has lost for bailing out Greece. The money will never be returned Greece is broke. He is about to give more money to Greece via the IMF, what will he negotiate for the taxpayers money? I will provide the answer- nothing.

      He is weak and is in a weak Coalition giving in to the Lib Dems. You might start to see a continuing theme from the previous 18 months in government giving in on countless occasions to the Lib Dems. There are more rebel Tory MPs than lIbe Dems, but this seems to have escaped Cameron’s logic or bargaining powers.

      Reply: As always the quesiton is how are you planning for this to happen? Only 111 MP wanted a referendum.

      • alan jutson
        Posted November 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        John completely understand your point, but public pressure is now growing on our MP’s with regard to the EU, those who do not see it may pay for it come the next general election, so perhaps they need to get their act together and support a referendum.

        I forecast the next European elections will produce a result that will certainly make them sit up and listen, and smell the coffee..

      • Disaffected
        Posted November 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        I rely on your wit and intelligence to persuade your colleagues. You have previously said on this blog that there were more than the counted rebels. Boris has started to speak out, others will follow.

        I suggest a few MPs start reading and understanding what is happening in world economics. Hedge fund managers and the like are profiting from their knowledge while MPs try to use staged lines to the appearance they know what they are talking about. Start listening to Kyle Bass and others who have a good grip on what is unfolding.

      • forthurst
        Posted November 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        How can you be so certain that only 111 MPs believed in the right of the people to have a say in their own futures? What effect did the three line whips have? does anyone have any idea?

        Reply: There were many Conservative MPs who would have voted for a referendum without a 3 line whip against – maybe another 60.

        • Paul
          Posted November 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

          So around 60 Tory MPs put their career before their constituents and country? Sounds about right from the completely out of touch political class. It’s not good enough to blame the three line whip. At least Labour and the Lib Dems genuinely believe in their delusion. Does anyone else think if a proper Conservative MP challenged our useless liberal Prime Minister for the leadership they would easily win? Or is that just me and Patrick Mercer? After all, the majority of the Conservative MPs apparently want a referendum and certainly a majority of its members.

          • A different Simon
            Posted November 22, 2011 at 12:40 am | Permalink

            Paul ,

            Whilst I agree with most of what you are saying it’s not always as black and white .

            Iain Duncan Smith is genuinely interested in finding and implementing proper solutions and serving his country and concluded that he would be able to do more good in office than out .

            Frank Field on the other hand defied the whip and did not stood against the party leaders on this one .

            The proposers of the motion made a number of mistakes which they must acknowledge and learn from as this issue will not go away .

            Farage summed it up nicely to the effect that ; Euroscepticism IS the middle-ground and it’s the Europhiles who are the extremists .

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      I have made much the same argument myself about missing an opportunity at the last election. We needed clear blue water, yet paid the price for not giving adequate leadership, but therein lies the clue to Cameron’s true political identity.

      It seems to me, there’s something of a parallel between the position taken by the Europhiles on the EU, and successive Conservative party leaders and true-blue policies.

      In the case of the former, their way to solve the failed EU project, is to have more of it! Most recent Conservative party leaders seem either scared, or reluctant to get back to core values, as if to do so, is to align themselves with a tainted brand. They can’t see the wood for the trees, and if they are so misinformed, they shouldn’t really be in such a lofty position in the first place! All the time, it is the drift by the Conservative party towards liberalism that is truly tainted.

      Scratch the surface of the man in the street, and one quickly finds that most espouse those same values as true-blue Conservatives, that the liberal wing of the Conservative party have drifted away from. Note the substantial increase in support of a certain minor party that consistently makes all the right noises about being out of Europe – and it soon becomes clear, that it sure as hell ain’t the Lib Dems! They might pick up the disaffected Labour vote at election time, but as soon as people learn what they really stand for, they’re just as quickly denounced as being ‘lunatic-fringe’ and dumped at the earliest opportunity.

      I’m heartily sick of these pale-pinkies masquerading as true-blue Conservatives. They are largely responsible for giving us the plethora of looney liberal legislation that has failed so comprehensively, and delivered such a mess, at such an unaffordable price. To paraphrase, we can’t keep on like this. Something has to give, and politics in general, needs to get back to common sense and sound reason. That means losing the one-size-fits-all EU, and the nonsense that the Human Rights Act has become.

      Tad Davison


      • Disaffected
        Posted November 22, 2011 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        John Major seems to have lost his memory when he was in office as PM and how he drove the UK further into the EU. He is now reported by the papers to have a different line altogether. Lord Tebbit sums Major up quite well in his DT column yesterday.

        In my view it is time for John, Boris, David Davis and others to stand up and make themselves heard. People are listening. Lib Dems will have to follow or face total electoral defeat.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted November 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

          Absolutely! And Ashdown has made our point rather well, that we ought to have joined the Euro ages ago. How far from reality and the real world can these people possibly get?

          Tad Davison


    • lifelogic
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Even more offensive than the European Court of Human Rights is the European (and US extradition) agreements with the lack of any need to provide actual evidence before extraditing and locking people up for months and even years. Why does the ECHR not stop this.

      • uanime5
        Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        The ECHR hasn’t said anything about this because no case has yet been appealed to it. Currently these cases are being dealt with in the UK courts.

      • stred
        Posted November 21, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

        My wife and brother in law face ridiculous financial legal cases from ex communists in eastern Europe. They are worried that these have to be faced and so far the proceedings are a farce.- Not totally different from the UK. But they can be summons to appear before the ex communist court officials.

        • A different Simon
          Posted November 22, 2011 at 12:45 am | Permalink

          It’s a disgrace that the extradition order does not have to be signed by a UK court and indeed cannot be blocked by a UK court .

          Do they have habeous corpus laws or could they just be kept on remand indefinitely ?

          So much for the European interpretation of human rights .

          Uanime5 , isn’t that right that there is nothing the accused can do in the UK to prevent extradition ?

          • uanime5
            Posted November 22, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

            The extradition order is based on EU law so a UK court cannot block it.

            Julian Assange is currently resisting extradition by claiming that this order will breach his human rights. At present the European Court of Human Rights hasn’t ruled under which circumstances these orders can be stopped.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Well before the Human Rights Act was introduced we did have the second highest number of cases appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (the most appeals came from Turkey). So it seems that Parliament was rather inept when it came to making laws that complied with Human Rights.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    “Taxpayer to take on mortgage risks of first-time buyers” reported in the Telegraph today. Have they learned nothing. If they want to help housing then get the banks to lend development capital again, reduce stamp duty, relax building regulations, tax people less, relax planning and get rid of the absurd energy performance certificates – a total waste of money time and energy for all concerned.

    • stred
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      As part of the deal for affordable housing, the plan is not only for the taxpayer to guarantee the mortgages of a lucky few but to sell the few remaining council houses and flats at a 50% discount. These lucky owners, as before will then be able to sell on or rent these properties at increased values, having enjoyed large rental subsidies before. Then, there will be less social housing available for those who genuinely need this type of accommodation. One wonders whether Cameron understands housing any better than he does wind farms.

      • Mazz
        Posted November 21, 2011 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        … These lucky owners, as before will then be able to sell on or rent these properties at increased values …

        Yes, the price of Council houses from Maggie’s sell-off, in some places, have now gone through the roof. I couldn’t afford to buy one in the area that I’m in and as you say, there will be less social housing available for those who genuinely need this type of accommodation.

        • Bazman
          Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          You forget often what dumps the council estates where before the Tories sold them off. “Its the councils fault mate!” attitude was rife. The scumbags often now live on the new estates built by private developers with part of the estate being made to be rental housing ran by housing associations. The old council estates being the more respectable areas. What state they would be in today had they not been sold off is any ones guess. Not good for sure. The crime was to pass laws preventing the money raised to be spent on more housing. Obviously a form of legal gerrymandering on the basis of thinking that house owners are more likely to vote Tory. Got your own house and car? You’ve’ made it!

          • alan jutson
            Posted November 22, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink


            Whilst I agree with your post, surely it was the Councils responsibility to make sure they looked after (maintained) there own property, and made sure that the people who rented such properties abided by the rules set out, under threat of eviction.

            Traditional Council houses were usually built to a higher spec than private housing.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted November 21, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        Anyone who has experience of London’s council estates will know there is widespread fraud in the allocation and tennanting of properties. Corrupt networks and communities will take advantage of these huge discounts.

        • lifelogic
          Posted November 21, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

          I agree there is widespread fraud and rigging of the system to state sector workers. The solution is to charge the market rent then people would leave them sometimes and pay the going rate. Anyone with a low income gets rent help anyway. Why should two people earning the same paying the same in tax have one getting perhaps an extra £600 PM in disposable income just because he has a subsidised house? It is mad and they will thus never vacate. Just sublet to friends or similar.

          • Bazman
            Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

            Many people could not pay the going rate in areas of London despite them both working. They would not get help to pay for the rent from the government.

          • lifelogic
            Posted November 22, 2011 at 8:29 am | Permalink

            The do get help unless they either live in an expensive mansion (in which case they should move) or they earn too much – in which case they should pay themselves the true rent rather than getting other to pay it for them.

        • stred
          Posted November 21, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

          Exactly, and the saving from proper administration of these sub let council properties would save enough to provide more subsidised housing for key workers and others who need it.

          On the other hand, some unsuspecting council tenants who buy in blocks of flats can find themselves lumbered with huge maintainance charges, run by the Council at far higher cost than a private lease agent.

        • lifelogic
          Posted November 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

          I assume like the happiness index, wind turbines at schools, green house bling, the green deal, the business loan guarantee scheme, the apprenticeships the housing plan will just be tokenism just so they can say they are doing something on the news and get the few photo ops in.

          • stred
            Posted November 21, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

            Hope so.

      • Acorn
        Posted November 21, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        The coalition may be new but its economic thinking is two decades old. Resurrecting the Right-to-Buy policy is the wrong way to go. Owner occupation has peaked, renting will become the norm in future with a much more socially and economically mobile populace. If you want to buy property you will do it via property funds; pension or real estate investment trusts etc. The future is Buy/Build-to-Rent be you a local authority; a housing association or a private / corporate investor.

        The economics of selling council houses at a fraction of there worth to build another council house is nonsense. I have “done the math” as a Councillor and the inheritor of a two bedroom council flat, that now makes more gross rent in a year than it cost to buy from the council two decades back.

        PS. If you are only interested in buying votes, just like last time, then delete the above.

        • Liz
          Posted November 21, 2011 at 11:36 am | Permalink

          Renting is only a short term solution to the massive housing crisis we have due to a net inflow of immigrants every year of over half a million. Most renting is on a short term basis – 6 months or so and often comes with onorous rules that no one wants to spend their lives living with – people cannot put down roots in such a regime. The conundrum for the government is that providing the numbers of houses now required will mean that existing house prices fall drastically from the unaffordable levels they are at the moment so throwing many owners into negative equity and also bulding on a scale and in places in Southern England that cause an outcry from the indigenous population as seen in the reaction to the proposal to relax planning controls. Similar radical solutions to those used after World War 2 are probably needed but would they be politically acceptable? Will we get shanty towns developing outside towns? At the moment the problem worsens by the day.

          Reply: The net flow of migrants was under half the figure you state, and should now fall given the changes of policy

        • Bazman
          Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          The Tories passed laws specifically preventing the money raised from the council house sell off to be used for the building of more council houses. Wonder why?

        • A different Simon
          Posted November 22, 2011 at 12:53 am | Permalink

          Housing being used as an investment to enrich the few at the cost of the many may have become accepted as the norm but it’s not any future I want to take part in .

          The bounties of the land need to accrue to everyone .

          Championing the right of conquest at the cost of disenfranchising the young is not right .

          How you achieve it I’m not sure about yet but it certainly requires more houses to be built and immigration to be controlled .

      • brian
        Posted November 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        The proceeds from the sales of the council houses will go into a fund to build more social housing.

        • Bazman
          Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          They will not.

        • stred
          Posted November 21, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

          It costs far more to build and get through planning/building regs than it does to provide an EQUIVALENT property.

    • zorro
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Ah Lifelogic, this is Dave and Nick’s growth strategy. Pumping up the paper assets of overvalued properties resulting from the credit boom, and dragging more people into debt, with precarious employment prospects, with a subtle sauce of taxpayer underwriting……bliss…..What could possibly go wrong?……This policy typifies how the Coalition has not the slightest clue how to get out of this economic torpor.

      Same old house prices, consumption based economy.


      • norman
        Posted November 21, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        I’m sure the political class have studied the Freddie Mac and Fannie May fiasco and learnt the appropriate lessons.

        Having studied and digested this it is surprising that they would choose to go down such a road but, in the age old refrain of failing political ideologies, ‘this time it will be different’.

        On the bright side when it does all go pear shaped we can simply print off a bunch of new cash and ‘monetise the (toxic) debt’.


    • alan jutson
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 8:09 am | Permalink


      Agreed, rather than underwrite mortgages so that people can get on the ladder with lower deposits (which will raise prices) why not simply reduce the Stamp duty tax to sensible levels, and if you still want different rates, then scale them like the income tax system instead of charging the highest rate on the complete purchase price.

      Also reported that discounts to purchase Council houses is to be doubled. How exactly does this increase the housing stock, it does not, as these houses are already occupied, all it does is give a windfall profit to the sons and daughters of the present tennants.

      If the problem is a lack of housing being built, then encourage builders to build with a more flexible planning system, and let the purchasers decide if they want to buy such properties.

      Why is it that all Governments want to spend taxpayers money on silly schemes which distort the market.

      • A different Simon
        Posted November 21, 2011 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        Alan ,

        Could it be as simple as MP’s having invested heavily in property themselves and putting their own interests before those of the country ?

        Remember when Northern Rock hit the wall Darling’s reported reaction was “Ooh , I’ve got a mortgage with them” .

        I read a blog on the Guardian site claiming that 8 out of 10 private sector workers retire with pension pots of less than £30,000 .

        Now newspapers never get their facts right on these issues but even so . If we take the minority of private sector workers with vocational pensions out of the equation and those figures are even close to being correct for the remainder then the shortfall in private sector pensions provision is more terrifying than I thought .

        All our social spending is “pay as you go” , there are no funds to provide state pensions etc etc . This generation is going to have to beg the next to provide for them .

        All this generation would be achieve by getting politicians to preserve the bubble valuations of their houses and land is to cut their own throat in the long term . Can’t have your cake and eat it .

        If the next generation are paying mortgage interest on a house of 6.5 times salary then :-
        1) they are not going to be able to save enough for their own old age
        2) they are not going to be able to make up for the shortfall in this generations saving

        If this country is to have any future , National average house prices and rents must halve from where they are now and British Citizens need to get legally enforced priority when it comes to ownership of residential property .

        • lifelogic
          Posted November 22, 2011 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          You say “I read a blog on the Guardian site claiming that 8 out of 10 private sector workers retire with pension pots of less than £30,000.”

          State sector pots (or rather liabilities) are about £220,000 last time I looked. The private sector cannot fund their own as they are paying for the state sector’s ones and have nothing left for their own.

          • A different Simon
            Posted November 22, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

            This is true Lifelogic but not the whole story .

            My point was that they are also paying far too much to the banks in terms of interest payments because house prices are puffed up .

            I know you are a landlord , or looking to be .

            Would you object to the Govt allowing house prices to fall by removing the restriction in the supply of available building land ?

          • uanime5
            Posted November 22, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

            Actually companies can’t pay for their staff’s pensions because they’re spending too much on executive’s pensions. Those at the top seem to believe they have a right to excessive salaries and pensions.

    • Disaffected
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      How can the banks lend when they are also told to build their balance sheets by the Government. They cannot cover sovereign debt and lend as well. The sums are huge. Iceland had 20 billion of income but its banks had 200 billion of liabilities. It went bust. Ireland’s banks made the country go bust for similar reasons. France cannot afford a break up of the EU because they would go bust over night. They are desperately clinging to the shirt tails of Germany and get frustrated with Cameron for uttering any comment that would turn the markets on France.

      Germany seems to have a poor memory for the favourable terms given to it a decade ago when it was trying to come out of a slump. This was a detriment to their southern EU partners but they appear not want to return the favour. Their banks are not in a good position either.

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 22, 2011 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        The rules need to change to encourage them to lend to sound businesses (still unable to borrow at good rates or at all) rather than other often more risky lending to governments.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    About time we got back to the basics of this act, and the reasons as to why it was introduced in the first place, as it has morphed into a monster which undermines UK law.

    • Disaffected
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you. There needs to be radical measures to produce tax cuts, change tax thresholds and actually cut public spending like John keeps saying. The welfare bill needs a radical overhaul now not in ten years time. Cut welfare so it pays to work, pay the difference between wage and welfare payment to get them back to work. Staying at home for nothing is not an option. Cut payments to a specified number of children ie 3. Do nt keep paying per child so it is an incentive for people on welfare to have children- they don’t get the money in any case (as Lib dem do gooders would tell us) it goes on cars, Sky, mobile phones, cigarettes, drink and all the other things people on low work incomes cannot afford. Housing costs to have an upper limit.

      When is Cameron and chums going to realise that hard working people live next door to people in the same sort of house who stay at home all day without working or paying for their home. At the end of their mortgage, scrimping and saving to make ends meet all their working life, the worker has to sell his house to pay for care and to live in the same care home as his neighbour who has lived off the state all his life. Where is the incentive???? Wake up, we need welfare reforms now not in the distant future, the UK and the UK taxpayer cannot afford it any more.

      • uanime5
        Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        Why not increase wages so that working pays more than welfare? Why should welfare be cut?
        People can’t work unless there are jobs available. Where are all these jobs going to come from?
        Will there be an upper limit on housing for people who have low paying jobs in high cost areas?

        Why didn’t you think your ideas through?

        • alan jutson
          Posted November 22, 2011 at 9:13 am | Permalink


          “Why not increase wages so thatworking pays more than welfare”

          Because the cost of the state sector would go up, because prices would go up for everyone, because those working in the export industries would be made redundant.

          Thought that was rather obvious !

          The problem is successive governments have promised too much, to too many, for too long.
          That in turn has caused some people to believe they have a right not to work, to work the syatem, and thus still be more than just looked after.

          Its the system which is at fault and needs changing.

          • uanime5
            Posted November 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

            How many people in the state sector are currently on minimum wage?

            Also higher prices mean a smaller volume of goods get sold so it’s unlikely that they will be raised significantly.

            Your claims about those working in exports being made redundant is just paranoid. Do you really think everyone earns minimum wage in this industry? Also every European country has shown that high minimum wage doesn’t affect exports.

            The Government has never promises people too much, it has always provided the bare minimum. If is employers who have reduced salaries from a living wage to the bare minimum, so it is they who have to change.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      The reason it was introduced in the first place was to ensure all UK law was applied in accordance with human rights. So it was always designed to be superior to UK law, as countries cannot legislate against people’s human rights.

      • alan jutson
        Posted November 22, 2011 at 9:22 am | Permalink


        Read my post again.

        It has Morphed into a monster, its original intention was good, but it has now changed beyond recognition in its interpretation and use.

        • uanime5
          Posted November 22, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          Your opinion that is is a monster does not make it a monster. Either provide evidence that it has morphed into a monster or accept that your statement isn’t backed up by any evidence.

  4. zorro
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    The whole idea in signing up to HRA was that our courts could decide on these type of cases instead of people trotting off to Strasbourg for a recount….

    As it is our courts (in asylum cases) are even more liberal than Europe! Even then it doesn’t stop people going back to Strasbourg if they don’t fancy their chances here. This reform was always self evident and is years overdue.


    • uanime5
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      1) We created the HRA, we didn’t sign up to it. We signed up to the ECHR.

      2) As long as we’re signed up to the ECHR anyone in this country can appeal to the ECtHR once they’ve run our of courts in this country to appeal to.

      3) The UK Government made the HRA so Human Rights cases could be decided in UK courts, rather than have to be appealed all the way to the ECtHR (much more expensive).

      • zorro
        Posted November 22, 2011 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        Thanks for pointing out my slip of the finger….Of course, I know that the Labour government passed the HRA, and that we signed up to ECHR. In fact, in the late 1940’s we were the prime movers. Somehow, I think that the instigators might be shocked at some of its rulings and ambition.

        I think that my comment paraphrases your point no.3. Your point no.2, however, makes a mockery of your point no.3 and shows it as a bit of a waste of time in the long run…..


  5. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Amnesty International – 2011-10-27:
    Rendition victim takes case against Lithuania to European Court.
    With this Tory proposal, any victims of Britain’s cooperation with the secret torture flights won’t be able to take Britain to the ECHR. Wouldn’t that be an exagerated form of British nationalism?

    • Winston Smith
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      No, there is sufficient scope within our national justice system, and of course our free media, to seek recompense for such victims. If indeed they are victims.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted November 21, 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        With this answer you imply that the same would be true in Lithuania, Turkey, Russia and any other member of the Council of Europe which seems rather weird to me.

        • Mactheknife
          Posted November 21, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

          I think what he is saying is that there is scope within UK law for anyone to prosecute a case without resorting to to the HRA. Look at the millions paid out to those returning from Guantanamo alledging British complicity in activities within the camp. At least one of these isn’t a British citizen and was only allowed to stay here originally by an immigration ruling. Despite his claims against Britain, guess where he has returned to now that he is out and free and got his millions….yes Peter he’s back in the UK !

  6. Electro-Kevin
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    It seems morally repugnant to me that a convicted murderer (of the worst kind) was able to take the issue of UK prisoner’s votes to the Grand Chamber of the ECHR.

    However I am a mere prole: due process and the deliberations of academics, experts and intellectuals stand above all else. They are our only vanguard against populism – an evil far worse than one who bludgeoned his aged landlady to death with an axe and then made a cup of tea afterwards.

    He should have his vote whilst serving his sentence and Heaven forbid that we ever get what The People want.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Any improvement on that situation will be most welcome.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      What’s wrong with this? You don’t lose your human rights the moment you become a prisoner.

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted November 22, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        Well now, that’s an interesting statement.

        Most of us would consider that once sentenced to a prison term, offenders forfeit certain priviledges – most obviously their freedom!

        This is not taking away an offenders human rights, it is part of the punishment for their conviction.

        Now, if the British legal system (and let us not forget that English law has been evolving in a free society over long centuries, unlike most European law) considers it just and reasonable to say that convicted felons cannot vote, who are the ECHR to say otherwise?

  7. GJ Wyatt
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Disallowing individual appeals would not prevent abuse by group actions of “activists”.

  8. David
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    John, recent announcements by the government are giving me great concern. It has the feel of Ted Heath’s ‘dash for growth’ (although I was a only a youngster at the time).

    The government is flailing around looking for growth strategies.

    Two initiatives which need to be scrapped asap are:

    1. The HS2 project. Speak to any sensible person and they will tell you this is a classic white elephant.

    2. As your readers are pointing out – the new tax payer backed mortgage scheme is just plain wrong.

    The one ‘mega-project’ that makes clear sense to me is the 3rd airport for London.

    John – why is it that the government now seems to be veering away from it’s path and into a ‘spray and pray for growth’ type approach? Why are the sensible and considered voices from near (Redwood, Carswell) and far (Hannan) not part of this mix?

    Reply: There are a good many MPs urging cancellation of HS2, but I think the government remains very keen on it.
    They might now consider the new airport idea,as that can be financed with private money
    I will comment on the housing package when I have read it all

    • David
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your reply John. I have just written to my MP, Anne Main about HS2 to check where she stands on it.

      My concern with the word ‘government’ in your response is that it makes it seems like an abstract entity and conjures up in my mind, the idea that it is actually not ministers driving this, but in fact a combination of lobbyists in cahoots with civil servants and others with vested interests.

    • lifelogic
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      We need a huge hub airport not another new airport in the sea (anyway are sea level not going up by 200 ft or something according to Huhne and his congregation? – the best and cheapest solution from, where we start is a new runway at both Heathrow and Gatwick with a 15 minute hight speed train link round the M25 to link them in under 15 mins. In effect a single 5 runway airport. Much cheaper than a new on and very much better. People need connecting flights a single big hub is what is needed as any logistics expert will tell you.

      HS2 is clear nonsense almost as mad and Huhne’s energy policy.

      • alan jutson
        Posted November 22, 2011 at 9:19 am | Permalink


        It could also link Stanstead.

        Indeed it could be the train version of the M25 !

        Ps like Canute, Boris will try to stop the tide coming in by putting the windmills in the Thames estuary in reverse, and thus blowing the incoming tide away.
        Probably a better use than at present where they stand idle for most of the time whenever I have passed by in a boat.

  9. Thomas E
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Seems a silly idea to me. Why should we trust foreign governments to “police” our rights, more than we trust our own citizens to bring legal cases where it is appropriate?

    It seems to me, foreign countries should butt out of our affairs, and we should keep out of theirs.

    The idea we need to retain the ECHR in order to stay in Europe seems weird, too, but then I don’t really see exactly what provision of the protocol people actually dislike. When I ask them to quote the provision they don’t like, people can’t me tell me which one they are against.

    Is it freedom of speech? The right to vote? The right to a family life?

    Why can’t we implement the same rights via the British legal system and courts?

    • uanime5
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      “Why can’t we implement the same rights via the British legal system and courts?”

      That’s what the Human Rights Act is for. Sadly very few people realise this.

  10. javelin
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    It looks like a good tactical move to change the scope of the application of the law rather than the law itself. I do feel a new law is needed in the UK to secure this undertaking against future attacks for the EU.

  11. norman
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    You have to wonder who could be against us pulling out of this and deciding things on our own.

    There are three groups that immediately spring to my mind.

    People who don’t really understand any of this and think that we want to abolish human rights and, anyway, if the Tories are for it then it stands to reason it’s wrong.

    People who think that our judiciary are complete fools (and reading certain judgements I can see why someone could think this) and that if they don’t have the threat of Strasbourg breathing down their necks they’ll inflict all kinds of outrages on us.

    People who think that Britons really are a beastly lot and if we’re left to our own devices it won’t be long before 6 year olds are back up chimneys.

    I’ve yet to hear a convicing argument about why allowing us to decide these matters would be detrimental. The only real argument that can be made in favour of it is that they don’t influence many decisions and are quite benign in those they do but then you could say the same about the US Supreme Court (or Canadian, or Australian, or …..) but I doubt many people would like to submit rulings over our laws to that body.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      You mean other than having so many laws that violate human rights.

      Think of the European Court of Human Rights as an independent organisation designed to check that our legal system is operating correctly. Expect unlike most UK watchdogs it has real teeth.

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted November 22, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        I suggest you go and read up on some British history – habaeus corpus, magna carta and the British Bill of Rights might be a good starting point for you.

        As with a lot of things, the law that evolved in Britain over the centuries was a damned sight better than the fluff and flannel that comes out of the ECHR.

        But that’s just my opinion.

  12. Phoenix One UK
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I am opposed to EU, and had been fighting for an EU in/out referendum for very long time, but it is your rhoughts on Human Rights that attracted my attention today.

    Where as I agree our own courts should decided such rights in UK, I would draw your attention to following extracted from my own application currently before the ECHR.


    A related issue is government’s new proposed Bill of Rights. The United Kingdom already possesses a Bill of Rights of which the majority of British subjects remain ignorant.

    Extract from the government’s new proposed Bill of Rights:

    “A UK Bill of Rights should build on the unique “parliamentary model” of human rights protection contained in the Human Rights Act. Courts should not have the power to strike down legislation. The economic and social rights in the Bill should not be enforceable by individuals against the Government, but it should be the Government’s responsibility to make progress towards the realisation of those rights by legislative measures, with a limited role for the courts in reviewing the measures taken.”

    It is beyond the scope of this document to examine and expose the new proposed Bill of Rights in detail nor is it appropriate at this time. The point was merely raised to make clear that the State is seeking to enshrine in law the means to escape liability for any violation of the civil liberties and human rights of its subjects.


    Do you have any idea of extent of prejudice judges possess in any action against a State body? I do. Hence, the question. Who protects the British people from its own government?

  13. forthurst
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    The European Convention on Human Rights is complete rubbish. English Common law was based upon prohibitions, mainly prohibitions of actions and behaviours which infringed others’ (individuals or groups) rights. Otherwise there was an assumption of the right to speak or act. How can there be a viable system of law which mixes both rights and prohibitions in the same context; this is bound to give rise to conflicts between the rights of some and the rights of others not to have their rights infringed.

    The wording is extremely vague. For example, Article 10 relating to freedom of expression, allows restrictions in order for the protection of the reputation or the rights of others. In other words, Cultural Marxism rules ok; an entirely synthetic basis of respect may be built up by the MSM for a group or an individual and their behaviours which is then protected by law, so any attempt to puncture that ‘reputation’ or ‘rights’ may be construed as ‘thought crime’; that is not fair or reasonable although fervently sought by the usual suspects whose whole repute is based upon lies and deceits.

    Those who are in favour of the ECHR are actually in favour of taking away the autonomy of this country to make its laws and to transfer that right elsewhere.
    English law was not perfect, but the ECHR has given rise to the most outrageous abuses of natural law.

    We simply must not allow the continuous erosion of laws and customs developed over hundreds of years being swept away by a faceless bureaucracy in Brussels or the Hague.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Thanks to freedom of speech your objection is meaningless.

      Also do you even understand what natural law is?

  14. BobE
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    In 1970 the idea of am airport in the mouth of the Thames was abandoned because of the vast number of birds. Bird strikes are a serious risk to an aircraft. Has something changed?

  15. Martin C
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    The problem is the leglislation. We are not merely signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It is the law; it is part of our statute. As you may recall, when Tony Blair and the NuLabour party took power in 1997, with colossal mandate of a landslide election victory, one of the first things he did was to incorporate the ECHR in its entirety onto the British statute book.
    Now, the ECHR was written as a convention, a statement of intent and goodwill. It was never drafted to be a Law, clear concise and unambiguous. It is a vague statement of ideals.
    This vagueness is, of course, precisely what Tony and Cherie were after. It gives massive scope for Judicial Activism. Because the law is so ambiguous, its precise meaning has to be set by Judicial Precident. This is of course a complete bean-fest for the legal industry, and sure enough Cherie’s firm Matrix Chambers has made a fortune at the taxpayers expense down the years specialising in HR cases.
    It is very telling that France, who are signatories to exactly the same ECHR as we are, have no problems deporting undesirables etc. It is not the courts in Strasbourg that are the problem, it is our own Judiciary, and the rotten law that is on our statute book.
    The only solution is to strike the ECHR from our statute book. We can remain signatories to the convention, sure. After all, we helped to draft it. But it would no longer be our Law. O frabjous day, should that come to pass.
    And there is precisely zero chance of the LibDems allowing that to happen.

    • Mactheknife
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Well said Martin, I was hoping someone would highlight the connections with Mrs B. The ECHR may well be a good thing but unfortunately our judges have taken the opportunity to completely misconstrue the intent of this law and give the government a bloody nose in the process. Lets be honest here and acknowledge that even NuLab had become exacerbated by some of the rulings and took many decisions to appeal. I had a chance meeting with a well known Lab MP a few years ago and he confirmed that NuLab were reaching breaking point with the ECHR and the judiciary.

    • lifelogic
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      Indeed a complete bean-fest for the legal industry just like the vague employment laws, tax laws, family laws, divorce laws ………………………..

      Few lawyers = more people in real & productive work – get rid of the ambiguity and multi level courts and limit costs to discourage legal actions.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

      Your post is full of errors.

      “Now, the ECHR was written as a convention, a statement of intent and goodwill. It was never drafted to be a Law, clear concise and unambiguous. It is a vague statement of ideals.”

      Wrong it was intended to have legal force. The Nazis were prosecuted for violating the ECHR; commonly known as a ‘crime against humanity’.

      “Because the law is so ambiguous, its precise meaning has to be set by Judicial Precident.”

      As is every law passed by Parliament. What exactly is your point?

      “This is of course a complete bean-fest for the legal industry, and sure enough Cherie’s firm Matrix Chambers has made a fortune at the taxpayers expense down the years specialising in HR cases.”

      Just one problem with this story. Before the Human Rights Act was passed lawyers who specialised in human rights cases made a fortune because these cases had to be appealed through the entire UK legal system before they could go to the ECtHR. After it was passed human rights could be applied throughout the UK courts which made these cases far quicker and cheaper to resolve.

      “It is very telling that France, who are signatories to exactly the same ECHR as we are, have no problems deporting undesirables etc.”

      What’s your source on this? Could it be the Sun?

      France is having problems deporting ‘undesirables’, which is why they’ve decided to pay people to leave.

      “The only solution is to strike the ECHR from our statute book.”

      The ECHR isn’t on the statue book. Did you mean the Human Rights Act?

      “We can remain signatories to the convention, sure. After all, we helped to draft it. But it would no longer be our Law.”

      So we’ve signed the conversion but we ignore it. How is that any different than not being a signatories? Would other countries be allowed to ignore human rights they find inconvenient?

      “And there is precisely zero chance of the LibDems allowing that to happen.”

      Three cheers for the Lib Dems and yet another reason to have coalitions.

  16. niconoclast
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    When John has sorted out the EU he is going to spend six months inside a lunatic asylum where he will be convincing the inmates that they are not really Napoleon.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted November 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Do you know what? I reckon that is really offensive.
      Our host pays for and writes the blog himself. I am usually up and about by 7.00 a.m. and every day there is a fresh, relevant and well researched post to read and to answer. If there is anything to query, then he personally writes it immediately down.
      A little bit of gratitude might not come amiss.

  17. uanime5
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    It’s clear from the Conservatives plans that they’re scum of the lowest order. The fact that the Conservatives don’t like the fact that they can’t remove the rights of prisoners and immigrants doesn’t mean these people shouldn’t have rights. It would be a gross abuse of power for the Government to restrict people’s human rights in this manner.

    John if you support this immoral action you can expect to be vilified by all right thinking people.

    • Richard
      Posted November 22, 2011 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Dear unaime5,
      You really need to concentrate on presenting your own arguments rather than the unpleasant personal criticism you are now posting.

      Responses beginning “so you are saying” “so you would like to see” are not useful additions to the debate of some important poilitical policies and their possible outcomes.

      I feel your anger but nothing else.

      • uanime5
        Posted November 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        I could make the same criticism of your post and John Redwood’s post as all 3 of us do not present any arguments to support our positions.

        I feel that it is morally repugnant to remove the rights of prisoners and immigrants because they are prisoners and immigrants, so I stated it. I have yet to see any good arguments explains why people would lose their human rights because the Government finds them inconvenient.

        I checked my post but I can’t find where I wrote “so you are saying” or “so you would like to see”. Can you highlight where I said this? Are you claiming that John Redwood supports this because he posted the ideas of another on his blog?

    • Mactheknife
      Posted November 22, 2011 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      What planet are you on ? If you comitt a crime it is against the rules and laws of that society and therefore why should you have rights within that society? Why should we have open borders letting in anyone and everyone, many trying to enter illegally? Why should foreign criminals not be deported ? Do you know we have at least (what we know anyway) several hundred foreign murders and rapists running around the UK and the authorities have no idea where they are ! Unfortunately its bleeding heart liberal do-gooders like you (and the previous Labour administration) that have have caused this situation.
      Most people would find this situation unacceptable and my gripe is that we are not acting fast enough to address this. We cannot police the whole world and impose our cultural and moral values on every country, all we can do is follow the laws of this country without any intervention by the EU.

      • uanime5
        Posted November 22, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        Can you provide some evidence to back up any of your claims.

        Also the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights aren’t part of the EU.

  18. Jon Burgess
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    I welcome the attempt at reigning back this act.

    I have a niggling doubt, however, that it will be agreed in this form and/or by enough other signatories, but we’ll see!

  19. Bernard Otway
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    I wont name names as that is verboten,BUT all the dissenters against John’s words and ideas are clearly 50 points SHORT of a 100,he has forensically examined the issue and made sense of it ,all they do is to show themselves to be as DAFT as the BBC lady Hardtalk interviewer of Kyle Bass ,who comprehensively forensically analysed the world debt crisis while she tried to sidetrack him,make a fool out of him, STOP him, all the while obviously getting instructions from a supposed expert through her earpiece ,because she “looked clearly that she did not understand”what he was describing,nevertheless the woman was EVISCERATED,and in the end the interview came to an end and “AUNTIE” looked foolish just like Soviet TV used to look like.When you see an earthquake of a magnitude of 8 on the
    Richter scale 200 miles out to sea,to then say there will not be a 100 foot high Tsunami
    coming is actually criminal,that is why Governments that have borrowed to the stupid extents that they have, need exposing and as Kyle Bass said the Bullet must be BIT ,NOW
    as have many others on this site and others as well as the likes of John,Hannan and Carswell. NO AMOUNT of leftist waffle and DOGMA can disguise these facts.The Tsunami is rolling Run to high ground and rebuild afterwards on higher ground and with better defences than before.And to use words like scum is just showing complete ignorance,that person should go back to play school.

    • APL
      Posted November 22, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Bernard Otway: “the Bullet must be BIT ,NOW ”

      Agreed. Either do it now voluntarily and retain a little control over the process, or be forced to do it in eighteen months with unpredictable results.

      That is the choice.

  20. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    @Mactheknife: Anger about individual cases is often quite understandable, but the bigger picture should also not be lost sight of. Any reform that the UK will manage to bring about during its chairmanship of the Council of Europe (NB is not the European Council!) has to be applicable for all member countries.

    • Mactheknife
      Posted November 22, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink


      The primiry responsibility for any government is the safety and security of its citizens. I assume from your name (my apologies if I’m wrong) that you do not live in the UK. So when an illegal immigrant ……criminal fighting deportation runs over and kills a 12 year old girl and runs from the scene of the crime. Then when fighting the charge and deportation gets a local woman pregnant and uses the ECHR to say he has a right to family life because he has a child……and some stupid judge allows finds in his favour…….yes I’m angry !
      The abuse by criminals and foreign nationals compounded by our judges who are using this law to score points against the government of the (both Labour and Conservative) is why we need a drastic change and all the public are asking for is to be able to use our exisiting laws without continuous spurious challenges often taking years and costing millions.

      • uanime5
        Posted November 22, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Unless we withdraw from the European Convention of Human Rights all people in this country will continue to have human rights and can appeal to the Court of Human Rights.

        Also why would judges want to score points against the Government? What do they hope to achieve?

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted November 23, 2011 at 8:32 am | Permalink

          For those who are so angry that they would want to withdraw from the European Convention altogether, it may be good to realise that the only country on the European continent which aren’t member of this convention is Belarus. WOuld Britain want to be in same Human rights league as Belarus?

      • uanime5
        Posted November 22, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        Also before the HRA you could avoid deportation by marrying a local woman and demanding citizenship. So the HRA has just made it cheaper to avoid being deported.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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