Shami Chakrabarti defends the Human Rights Act

Today’s Guardian featured a discussion between Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti and a Tory MP (Dominic Raab) on the subject if the Human Rights Act. Chakrabarti won.

For those of you not aware of the background to this, the Tories would like to repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with their ‘British Bill of Rights’. The ‘British Bill of Rights’ will include nothing that The Daily Mail might disagree with. It is possible that The Daily Mail may in fact be asked to produce the first draft. The Liberal Democrats, possibly for the first time are digging their heels in and saying NO! as is Ken Clarke (I think).

Anyway back to Shami Chakrabarti taking an ignorant Tory apart.

Dominic Raab: The tabloids blame everything on the Human Rights Act (HRA) and, in my view, the NGOs think it’s perfect. I think there’s a middle ground. The HRA didn’t do a great deal to protect some of our freedoms – against ID cards, the DNA database, against some of the surveillance where children were followed home from school to check their catchment area.

Shami Chakrabarti: That was our case, and we brought it under article 8 of the HRA, so I disagree with you.

That was just the start of it.

The bottom line of all of this is that for me as a middle class, middle aged, British born, white male, with all the privilege and entitlement that brings, a change from the Human Rights Act to what ever legislation the Tories might introduce probably wouldn’t make any difference. As long as we remain a democracy my human rights will probably be protected. The mark of what we are as a society is how we protect the human rights of people less lovable than me.


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