Human Rights or Citizen's Privileges: The Great Bill of Rights Swindle

Authors

  • SHAMI CHAKRABARTI

    1. Director of Liberty (the National Council for Civil Liberties), the UK's leading domestic campaigning organisation for fundamental rights and freedoms.
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Abstract

New Labour arguably left Britain more comfortable in its diversity and better protected by anti-discrimination law. Equal treatment for gay people advanced significantly and the Human Rights Act provides a modern Bill of Rights for everyone in the Kingdom. Curiously however, parallel laws dishonoured these values in thought, word and deed. Home affairs hyperactivity left ours a less friendly country in which to seek asylum, dissent or even be young. The Coalition bound itself together with ‘civil liberties’ and quickly reversed some excesses of the previous decade. Last year's ‘Arab Spring saw it promote human rights abroad. However the Government appears bitterly divided by them at home. Is the debate about a more ‘British’ Bill of Rights, political genius, pragmatic fudge or a dangerous swindle capable of depriving us all of vital protection against abuse of power?”

Ancillary