There has been very little public education about the rights and freedoms contained in our Human Rights Act, and how it works. As a result, many myths and misunderstandings have sprung up about our HRA – including who it does and doesn’t protect and what values it contains.
Despite a blond, Olympotastic and re-elected rival, last night’s turnout at Liberty’s Tory fringe was excellent. Introducing the fringe panel, Shami reminded the crowd of the many principled stands taken by the Tories in Opposition - on 90 days pre-charge detention, ID cards, innocents’ DNA retention and more. But it’s important to remember those values in Government, she urged: “Because no matter who you vote for it’s the Government that gets in”. In a thinly-veiled reference to the campaign by the Security Services for audacious secret courts and State snooping, Shami reminded the room that governing is a complicated matter with pressures coming from all sides.
Welcoming a huge crowd of delegates to Liberty’s 2012 Labour fringe, Shami reminded the audience that Labour was the party of the hunger marchers, non discrimination law, and - to spontaneous applause - the Human Rights Act. Is there “Equality under the Law?” in 2012 she asked our panellists. And in front of packed a room in the Midland Hotel the panel gave their answers citing secret courts, legal aid cuts, Government surveillance plans and blacklisting of construction workers as threats and scandals that must be challenged.
Tonight I had the honour of taking part in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. This fantastic spectacle, watched by millions, begins a sporting extravaganza involving athletes from across the globe. Competitors from over two 200 countries will strive to take home medals and pride in the pursuit and achievement of excellence at the global level.
Yesterday's papers revealed a bid to resurrect plans for a major expansion of Government powers to monitor the phone calls, email exchanges and website visits of every person in the UK. This is a return to a policy opposed by both Coalition parties in opposition and abandoned by the last Government.
What have you got planned this weekend? A bit of shopping? Enjoying the Great British Summer and firing up the barbeque, maybe? Can you squeeze in fighting to protect civil liberties and promoting human rights as well? Yes you can!
Today the Government announced a commission to investigate another British Bill of Rights. The commission will explore the idea of a Bill of Rights that ‘incorporates and builds on Britain’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights [and] ensures that these rights continue to be enshrined in UK law’.