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August 23, 2016 12:48 PM

human rightsThere was once an old play where a middle-aged, middle-class English couple stray into the wrong type of "restaurant" on holiday abroad. When the "waiter" proposes some interesting "dishes" their response is, "No sex please, we're British."

Are we getting a similar response on our behalf from our new Minister for Justice and her Tory friends concerning our rights?

There's a big difference between HUMAN Rights and BRITISH Rights. If you move to a British Bill of Rights then the human who is claiming protection under it will have to first pass a political test - i.e. prove to the satisfaction of a politician (or a policeperson or other official acting on the politician's behalf) that she/he is "British".

And of course, "British" rights will have to be different from "human rights" or there's no point to the exercise. We're already hearing Tories talking about building into this Bill a greater emphasis on "national security" - as interpreted by them of course.

So that's more power for the state then? You betcha!

But one of the most important questions is "To whom will the British Bill apply?". How do you define "British"? Will foreigners lose their rights when they land on British soil? What about people who are not middle-aged, middle-class and English? Will we have some new kind of Test Act?

The really big change will be that although at the moment we don't have to prove anything to have rights as a human, in the future we will have to show we are "British" to have rights as a "Briton". How many of us will be able to prove we are "British" to the satisfaction of Miss Elizabeth Trunchbull Truss and her friends. Will all this have to be followed up with Identity Cards?

Quite possibly our grandmothers' maiden names will become important - as they once were in 1930s Germany.

I guess the UK will have to withdraw as signatory to the European declaration of Human Rights - after all that's what the (small) majority want - and there's no point in voting to leave Europe and then carrying on with things being the same as before.

Will the UK have to withdraw its signature from the UN Declaration on Human Rights? And if so from the UN itself?


And just for reference, the Final Paragraph of the Preamble to the UN Declaration of Human Rights states:

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."