Thursday, December 04, 2008

Common sense prevails in Europe

The Telegraph, Daily Mail and their followers regularly criticise human rights legislation and it's arbiter the European court of human rights. Often it's portrayed as a lawyers' gravy train or an unacceptable interference in UK law.

But this is what it's for. Protecting individual rights from an authoritarian and illiberal state, policed by an increasingly powerful and militarised police force.

Our parliament (that's our MPs folks) couldn't/wouldn't stop this DNA farming, and the House of Lords refused to do anything about it.

The creeping authoritarianism we've seen in the UK since the 1970s shows a growing illiberal tendency among the British political elites. I suppose we're not alone, the USA has its Patriot Act, we have the Terrorism Act.

The DNA and fingerprinting rules adopted by the police are mostly for the investigation of the commission of crimes not yet committed. In effect, this means that the police consider everyone on the database as a potential criminal, which is contrary to the ethos of presumed innocence. The fact that our police are happy using this mandate gives rise to the argument that the police are already too far drunk on their power.

Tonight I'll be opening a bottle of malt to mark this, it's something worth celebrating. I hope those who normally slag off interfering European institutions as pc liberal lefty bureaucratic monsters are humble enough to accept that European intervention can work.

However, it's a tragedy that this should ever have gone to a European court. We should be able to defend our basic rights here in the UK. Even though the UK is signatory to European and UN conventions on human rights, unfortunately we don't have a specific bill of individual rights here in the UK. Given the growth of police powers, and the unwillingness of our MPs to protect our interests, we need an inalienable bill of rights to help protect us from the state.

1 comment:

curly15 said...

We are frequently told that “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”.

Not so. I fear having to prove I have nothing to hide.