Sunday 20 February 2011

The asses of the law

Earlier this month I mentioned that the European Court of Human Rights had issued ukase to the effect that prisoners in British jails should be given the right to vote contrary to a principle long established in English law (Time for an English Tea Party). This caused so much anger that Parliament recently voted to reject this undemocratic diktat by unelected judges.

The problem is that in nursing the passage of the Human Rights Act, the last government not only allowed foreigners leverage in our constitution but gave judges a direct political role, allowing them to interfere with the will of Parliament. We’ve had some truly absurd judgements on human rights, including the right of prisoners to have access to pornography.

The rejection of the vote edict was a positive first step in reasserting Parliamentary sovereignty. The danger, as I said in my previous blog, is that defiance of the law gives prisoners the technical right to begin proceedings for compensation, potentially costing the country millions and proving that crime does pay.

We are so used to judges becoming objects of derision, so used to the law as a braying ass, that it’s a refreshing surprise when one manages to do the right thing. The one in question is the High Court’s Mister Justice Langstaff, who at the end of last week not only rejected a class action brought by almost six hundred criminals under an earlier European ruling, but ordered each of them to pay £76 in costs, which I understand amounts to almost two months wages inside. So, boys and old lags, you will have to do without the snout for a while! I wonder if anyone really believes that these jail birds were ever interested in voting in the first place. No, the compensation, the easy money, is the thing.

The press here have reported the judge’s decision as a “rare victory for common sense.” But it’s more than that; for Justice Langstaff has recognised one of the core principles of our constitution, something beyond the wit of the European mafia, namely that foreign judgements should never be allowed to trump laws passed at Westminster. His ruling not only keeps thieves and murderers from having an input into our political process, it’s also a sound box in the ears to the seedy legal shysters who pushed this action in the first place.

Apparently Jean-Paul Costa, the president of the European Court of Human rights, reacted to Britain’s defiance of the Strasbourg ruling by likening the country to Greece under the rule of the colonels, which makes me think that the poor old junta must at least be worth an honourable mention. Meanwhile this laughable little man’s circus dances on, ruling that paedophiles have the right to ask that their names be removed from the sex offenders register. What next, I wonder? It would not surprise me if sending people to prison in the first place amounted to a breach of human rights.

What worries me is that, bit by bit, ruling by ruling, I’m beginning to react to the very expression ‘human rights’ with contempt, beginning to think that the whole thing is nothing beyond the latest risible notions of political correctness. But there are places in the world where there are real breaches of natural justice, where people are persecuted on the flimsiest pretext. It’s as well to remember this next time the underemployed asses in Strasbourg issue yet another piece of comic absurdity.


  1. Your worries are really relevant ones ...
    What does it mean today ..human Right ... ?
    Bien à toi !

  2. Bernard, do you get these crazy judgements in France also?

  3. "It would not surprise me if sending people to prison in the first place amounted to a breach of human rights."

    Of course it's against human rights, everyone knows a victim of a crime has the right to hang a criminal from a tree! ;)

  4. Everybody talk about human rights but when governments falls inside the rule hate it. Easy speech, hard practice. Mario.

  5. I call for an immediate EU enlargement that incorporates two further States. I'm thinking of Australia and Israel.

    Problem solved.

  6. Mario, I could believe in genuine human rights, human rights in places like Libya, not the farce of Strasbourg.

  7. CI, let's be more ambitions; let's have China!

  8. Have a look at this:

    Allowing prisoners to vote hasn't been a big issue here and if it was allowed for all prisoners it probably wouldn't make any significant difference to the governance of the country. (That's a "sentence" which has a few implications.)

    From what I hear of the follies of the EU bureaucrats this is a small issue among the many idiocies which they afflict member states with.

  9. Thanks, Retarius. You would not believe some of the straight-banana lunacy. Australia may end as the last sane place on earth for Anglo-Saxon refugees. Mind you I'll be adding a blog soon on AV, on which we are having a referendum in May. The reports from OZ suggest that this is a less than ideal solution to the perceived problem of 'fairness.' Keep watching. :-)

  10. I have written about this farce often in my blog. In my opinion, if you break the law expect the consequences of punishment not profit. Prisoners who commit horrific crimes should not be allowed human rights. The rulings that are coming from The European Court of Human Rights now are only belittling what was meant to be a law to protect the innocent of this world not criminals.

  11. Donald, we are in total agreement.