Over the weekend we saw an announcement that Teresa May was contemplating leaving the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) which was welcomed by a reasonable amount of people. However I don’t think personally that these people have actually thought about the ramifications of such a move.
Now I can understand why some people may be a little annoyed at times with the ECtHR, occasionally it throws up decisions that some people don’t like especially when it comes to things like deportation of terrorists and alike.
However I think this is a knee-jerk reaction, we get a few results which some people disagree with and this has resulted in calls to leave the court. However if you looked at the UK courts you would see a lot more decisions each year and over time that you disagreed with which have an impact on much more people. But the ECtHR has done a lot more good than the few odd outlying cases that have caused so much anger towards the court.
Now let’s just for two minutes consider what the implications of such actions would be. The UK’s Supreme Court is not like any other in the western world, unlike France, Germany, Spain or the USA to name a few, it has no powers to strike down any laws that parliament makes. Now the ECtHR can’t do this either but a judgment against any Government is in effect very similar and will result in a change to the law.
So without that safeguard it makes parliament supreme, it means that the elected officials answer to no one there is no checks and balances to prevent them doing what they want with the law. A government with a large enough majority could rule without any question and pass any laws it wanted to running roughshod over yours and mine rights.
Now is that really a situation that you want to be in?
Now let’s say the next prime minister after having left the Council of Europe is not to happy with criticism of his actions or his beliefs. So to stop this happening he introduces an anti-criticism law which makes it a criminal act to criticise publicly and privately the actions of the government and re-introduces strict blasphemy laws.
Now none of the UK courts can do anything, they have no power to overturn the laws and can only follow them as they are written down. So you have just had your free speech heavily restricted and there is nothing you can do about it.
With Human Rights law you would be able to challenge such a law and the courts could find in your favour which could prevent you getting a criminal record. But without it, you are wishing away your liberty all because you didn’t like how they ruled on a few cases. Is it really worth risking your liberty because you dislike half a dozen judgments?
While the ECtHR may not be perfect, as no system with humans in can ever be, is it really worth going the nuclear option because of it? As after all the ECtHR has done a lot of good that benefit you more than it has done to harm you.
For example; Ireland v United Kingdom says the government can’t lock you up without trial, X.,Y. and Z. v. United Kingdom says that families do not have to be related by blood to be considered families under the law. Lustig-Prean and Beckett v United Kingdom says discriminating against people in employment due to sexual orientation/race/gender and so on is illegal. Then there was the Spycatcher case which the UK had tried to suppress the memoirs of an ex-MI5 office, that the court stopped. Malone v Metropolitan Police Commissioner which involved phone tapping of people by the police.
The list could go on and on with cases from all 47 member states to show just how beneficial the court has actually been in protecting your rights and liberties as individuals. Leaving while it may give you some misguided sense of success in the short term will eventually lead to a less free society with less rights and more power in the hands of the government with the ability to take your rights away with even more ease.
So before you praise this as being a great thing, just please stop and think of the consequences that will come about as a result of it.
Political correctness has been a buzz word for some decades now, in general it’s been used as an attempt to sanitise the western world to make the world a less offensive place for people to live in; or so those who are the main exponents of it will have you believe. In its very basic set-up it has had us stop using nouns to describe people, so we shouldn’t call someone who suffers from male pattern baldness a bald person, or refer to someone who suffers from dwarfism as a dwarf. This is all done in the name of advancing equality.
But I have some major issues with them trying to equate political correctness with equality. As if we look at all the big equality movements of the last century; we have the suffragettes, the civil rights movement, feminism and the gay rights movement. Now each of these were fighting a social injustice such as no votes for women, unequal pay for women, unequal divorce laws, segregation of people because of skin colour, treating people differently because of skin colour, treating people differently because of sexual orientation and the list could go on and on. Now the equality changes were done to correct an injustice that everyone would now consider to be wrong and unfair.
Now I am not naive to believe simply changing the law has changed society, there are still incidents of inequality happening today, or I would be out of work, but political correctness is trying to push things a lot further than is needed and in an attempt to stop people being offended is actually offending people.
I was reading an article about a current consultation by the General Medical Council, who are looking at changing their code of conduct for doctors. Currently a doctor can refuse to provide medical treatment to patients if they find that particular treatment to be immoral or not right for that person. The big proposed change is in the field of gender reassignment, where at the moment a GP can refuse to treat someone because they have a moral objection to doing such. The current GMC proposal would change it so that a GP had to treat that person or fear possible sanctions by the GMC with the possibility of being struck off as a doctor.
This change in stance by the GMC is being done under the guise of the Equality act says you can’t discriminate against Trans people, as per section 7. However this to me is not about a quest for equality, but more the GMC trying to be political correct and not wanting to upset the Trans community. As if it had been about proper equality they would have looked past section 7 and noticed that section 10 covers religious belief and discriminating against people on the grounds of it. Which arguably you can say that forcing doctors to do things that go against their belief is most defiantly discrimination.
Though the PC brigade will tell you that oh its only religious people and they really don’t matter when it comes to discrimination. Even though they have the same legal protection as the other minorities under the Equality Act. But because in 95% of cases they are Christians it’s fine to ignore them.
Which follows on to another contentious issue, and that’s the wearing of a crucifix. In which two women were reprimanded for wearing one at work. Now we don’t hear of a Sikh being banned from wearing a turban or a Muslim woman being banned from wearing a head scarf. It gets to a situation where one group can’t do something because it may offend a minority group. Now I don’t see how someone wearing a plain crucifix around their neck in a Christian country would offend anyone one! If you were to go to a Muslim country they would not go round de- islamifying their country as not to offend you, so why does the PC brigade insist that in the UK we have to.
Then we have the press, an issue that is somewhat under reported at the moment is Female Genital Mutilation, something I had a discussion with someone only this week about. The media reports that it is an African problem, and young girls in the UK and across Europe are being taken to Africa to be subjected to this horrific situation. Now if you read what is said in the press and by the WHO it is put across as being an African problem, indicating it happens all over Africa, but if you do some digging it’s a problem that happens in Muslim countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. But because of the PC brigade and not wanting to offend Muslims we strip it down to being an African Problem.
Political Correctness is not about bringing about equality or not wanting to offend people, as if you look at the laws of the land there is legal equality already, and legal remedies for when that is breached. What political correctness is about is social engineering or in another word cultural Marxism. It is about getting everyone to think the same way and punishing those who don’t comply. It’s not about ensuring freedoms for everyone; it’s about forcing people to adopt the same view point on a topic. In the first half of the twentieth century we saw a few people who imposed similar ideals on countries, restricting freedoms and making people do and think what they want. That lead us to World War Two and the deposing of people like Hitler and Mussolini.
Yet now after the battle for freedom, so that people could live their lives how they wanted to free from persecution, we now see in the here and now our freedoms and beliefs being ebbed away with each new push in the name of political correctness. But because these people pushing this agenda are claiming it’s in the name or equality society lays down and lets it happen. People need to realise that it’s not equality that is happening it’s an erosion of our freedoms one by one. We need to say enough is enough.