This treasured post-war agreement between 47 countries has been doing nothing more sinister than safeguarding our basic human rights, but in the eyes of our political maestros, it has suddenly become the supervillain in their latest melodrama.
In the topsy-turvy pantomime that is currently British politics, where the absurd is often presented as common sense, our governing party is now in the process of casting its latest bogeyman: the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). This pillar of justice and fairness is now being spun as a meddling bureaucrat, hell-bent on infringing our sovereign right to, well, infringe on peoples’ rights.
The ECHR: More than just bureaucratic paperwork
But this isn’t just your average political kerfuffle; it’s becoming more like a tragi-comedy. With the backdrop of Suella Braverman’s abrupt exit and her subsequent venomous missive to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, closely followed by an inconvenient Supreme Court ruling, our leaders want desperately to appear to be in control.
And what better way to demonstrate decisive action than a good old-fashioned assault on an international treaty? After all, with a general election fast approaching, they are more than happy to jettison our rights if it gains them some kudos with those voters keen on us having ‘sovereignty’ at any cost.
The ECHR is that thorn in the side of those who prefer their politics with a bit less… human rights. But the convention isn’t just any old bureaucratic paperwork; it’s the crown jewel of post-war Europe, the beacon of hope and decency in a world that had seen way too little of either. It’s the rulebook that keeps you and I safe from over ambitious and unfair leaders wanting to trample over our freedoms and dignity.
So why is this venerable treaty now a target?
A government enmeshed in a web of self-made political blunders, finds itself publicly humiliated by a supreme judicial smackdown. Add to this the melodrama of scandals, ministerial sackings and subsequent reshuffles, and you can see why it has looked around for a suitable scapegoat and said “Aha– we can pretend it’s a European Law – and we need to abolish it”.
This move against the ECHR isn’t just a knee-jerk reaction; it’s a calculated game of smoke and mirrors. It’s the old ‘dead cat’ tactic – “look here at this big, bad international treaty infringing on our sovereignty, and forget the circus that’s unfolding in Downing Street”.
Why it matters
The ECHR isn’t just a legal framework; it’s the bedrock of the Human Rights Act. It’s the glue that holds the delicate balance of our freedoms together. Ditching it is like deciding halfway through a tightrope walk that the safety net is just ruining your balance. The rights and freedoms that have become part of the British way of life – fair trials, free speech, privacy – are enshrined in and protected by the convention.
Let’s also look at the timing of all this. The general election is due in the next year and polls show a massive swing to Labour. All this posturing isn’t about making Britain stronger or more independent: it’s about the Conservatives running low on ideas and credibility, trying to drum up some last-minute support. But is the ECHR the rabbit in their magician’s hat, or a collapsible prop in a final desperate act?
The ECHR: a crown jewel of hope and decency
The ECHR is the custodian of our liberties, the unsung hero in the saga of British and International democracy. It is a foundation where we understand how we should live our lives in a fair and equitable society. Consider too its under-reported significance in the Northern Ireland Treaty and the potential consequences of its abolition.
This article is intended as the first in a series, as we navigate the ECHR’s labyrinth, debunk myths, sift through political jargon, and unveil its instrumental role in shaping everything from press freedom to LGBTQ rights. It’s a journey through the annals of rights and freedoms, revealing fascinating untold stories.
Call to action
Let’s not be mere spectators – let’s move from passive observers to active participants. Our rights are not mere words on paper; they are the pillars of our society. Join us in defending justice, fairness, and human dignity with the vigour they deserve. I encourage you to click through on the links for further reading and let’s embark together on this enlightening journey.
* Ian Roberts is a pseudonym. The author’s identity is being protected as he works for the NHS. You can find Ian Roberts on X – Twitter: @i_iratus