“There is no hope of this nonsense ever making it into law, let alone practice.”

In his Irish News column this week, Newton Emerson was scathing of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s “statutory advice” to the NI Secretary of State on the content of a NI Bill of Rights “the scope for defining, in Westminster legislation, rights supplementary to those in the ECHR, to reflect the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland.”

After a decade of deliberation involving hundreds of organisations, thousands of people and millions of pounds, the commission has produced an undeliverable litany of provincial special pleading. It is a fiasco.

Meanwhile Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has some related “pie in the sky” thinking too

To advance all of this work Sinn Féin believes that it is essential that an all-Ireland Constitutional Court is established to serve as an independent and impartial body to which citizens, special interest groups and those charged with advancing and protecting Human Rights can refer cases for decisions.

We believe that if rights and case law are to harmonise and converge throughout the island, as outlined in the Good Friday Agreement, then a Constitutional Court is a logical and appropriate model to advocate.”

Of course, without an all-Ireland constitution any such “court” would have no legitimacy whatsoever..

But nevermind, as Mick mentioned in the Blogburst, there’s always the border poll that Conor Murphy believes could be held by 2016..

Fine. Indeed.

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  • cynic

    Of all the NI Quangos, NIHRC is perhaps the most useless. A prisoner of every quango and wish list. It seesm to spend more money every year on just being there and advertising itself than it does on anything else.

    So perhaps it’s time for some new thinking here. Now can we have a vote …do we want an NIHRC or 50p a year off everybody’s water rates? In fact if we worked it out we could probably give pensioners £25 off.

    Now what would be the biggest contribution to improving things for people in NI?

    Ok, 50p it is then.

  • “without an all-Ireland constitution any such “court” would have no legitimacy whatsoever..”

    Why not? All it would need is UK Parliament legislation delegating authority to the Court as with the European Courts and a similar Constitutional Amendment in the Republic’s constitution. What am I missing?

    Doesn’t mean the idea isn’t a load of crap but that statement seems a bit sweeping.

  • USA

    Mark,
    It’s Peter Fakers’ arrogance, he can’t help himself – he thinks he is smarter than all of us.

  • Baz está fresco em Vermont

    Where was Squinter’s right to a free press?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Why not? All it would need is UK Parliament legislation delegating authority to the Court as with the European Courts and a similar Constitutional Amendment in the Republic’s constitution. What am I missing?

    Throw the principle of consent out the window ? Sounds like a great idea.

  • eranu

    all ireland court??? what a bizarre thing to come out with. sounds like another one of those completely pointless things nationalists like to ‘call for’ every now and again to show how nationalist they are! still it should be a few months before we have to listen to another one. me thinks gerry should go back to saying ‘equality’ repeatedly on RTE…

    as for the NI bill of things it would be nice to have. it seems to be one of those issues that splits society in two. on the one hand you have ‘can do’ practical people that know you get what you get in life by your own hard work and using your own intelligence and problem solving skills. they dont need any more ‘rights’. on the other hand there are people who look at nice material things and think there is something external that is blocking them from getting those things. if the blockage could be removed then those nice material things will just happen. they see ‘rights’ as a way to get things without any effort from themselves. they dont seem to understand the concept of personal responsibility for your own affairs. such people are a hindrance to society. they don’t do for themselves, they expect others to do for them.

    i wonder how many millions will be wasted on this sort of thing in NI before we wise up?

  • Glencoppagagh

    It’s ironic that these supplementary rights are being sought for as region which is least able to afford it.
    Nationalists in particular should be resisting these proposals since they would be completely unsustainable in an all-Ireland context.
    The only potential beneficiaries of this absurd document are, of course, society’s freeloaders, most of all the legal-aid junkies whose scandalous levels of remuneration are at last in the public domain.

  • Mack

    Glencoppagh “Nationalists in particular should be resisting these proposals since they would be completely unsustainable in an all-Ireland context.

    They look completely unsustainable to me now. From Newton Emerson’s piece..

    “Among the scores of proposed new economic rights were absolute entitlements to housing, health, welfare, heating, clothing and “continuous improvement of living conditions”

    Does this Bill, ahem, outlaw recessions???

    After decades of stuggling against nature, attempting to even out the business cycle, the Nordies manage it with a human rights bill!

    What would an all-Ireland constitutional court adjucated on? Would this Bill be introduced in the south too, and given precedence over Bunreacht na hÉireann? (Which would require a referendum, that I confidently predict would be lost by a landslide).

    I have to wonder why they didn’t stick to the basics…

  • Peter van Brequo

    Does a ‘Northern Ireland Bill of Rights’ exclude Irish republicans as they appear not to recognise, or even live in, that place?

    Is there to be another Bill of Rights for ‘The North’, that mystical Tolkienan land so beloved of Irish republicans?

  • Newton is too dismissive. Social and economic rights are indeed different from what is conceived of as “fundamental” rights. But some have a place even in mainstream British thinking, like the UK Bill to set up an NHS constitution. Health rights can be seen as a protection against post code lotteries. Social and economic rights could act as a protection for the welfare state gains against the vagaries of an arch-conservative government, just as a “right” to efficient government can force a spendthrift government’s hand. This is a debate that appeals to Scots who wish to protect their welfare state against possible swingeing Conservative cuts. The same could apply to NI. It’s very complex subject which gives more power to judges and raises fundamental questions about scope of the rights and devolution. In a divided society like NI, it’s a mistake to dismiss the whole “rights” debate out of hand.

  • Mack

    Brian – What you are proposing sounds like using the law to curtail the democratic process.

    However, I can see where you are coming from, as the UK is a centralised multi-country Union – the central government (normally focused on the economic needs and circumstances of South East England) can ride roughshod over the democratic will of the people in the 3 other countries.

    The rights of Scots to maintain their social welfare provisions might be better served by greater devolution. In fact, should an arch-conservative government implemented policies at odds with the democratic will of the Scottish people I imagine they would be baying for increased power (or independence).

    What would concern me, would be using the law to prevent a democratic government from implementing reforms it had been mandated to implement via this Bill. For example, economic circumstances might require prudent cuts in aspects of public spending. This is the case in RoI today, and due to the power of special interest groups will be difficult enough to reform now – never mind how difficult it would be if the unions legal teams could resort to something like this Bill to prevent changes to their members working conditions.

    An example of where a Bill of rights could really be useful, I think, comes from the recent behaviour of the Argentine government. They recently confiscated private sector pensions to help pay their national debt (Robert Maxwell, how are ye?). And the Irish government are about to raid the provisions for public sector pensions.

    Solid protection for the property rights of citizens from the greedy hands of their government or corporations would be very useful. Tying the hands of the gorvernment in implementing reforms is not, or in the types of economic policies they can persue is not.

  • Pete

    I blogged about this and indeed had a letter in the Irish News on the same day as Newton. He is flying fast and loose with the facts which is dissapointing.

    More on http://oconallstreet.com/2008/12/11/a-bad-day-for/

    Conall

  • Glencoppagagh

    I’ve been perusing the document and I just can’t find the clause that would guarantee freedom from oppressive levels of taxation. Can anyone help?

  • Alan

    Yes, Newt is trivialising what is an important debate. None of us read the Portadown News for its balanced reportage, it looks like we may have to consider treating Mr Emerson’s column with similar circumspection.

    Firstly,the social and economic rights would all be subject to politicians making those decisions based on the available resources anyway. The general direction, however, would be to move towards more equitable provision in Health, Housing etc.

    There are still abuses being dragged to our attention by good journalism that would be tackled systematically if we had public services operating a Human Rights approach to their activities.

    Keeping people with a learning disability on hospital wards because there is insufficient supported accomodation, or sticking do not resussitate notes on patients records just because they are elderly would have been outlawed long before.

    It is also important to tackle head on the thankfully minority adult culture of ephebiphobia as presented in the article.

    The vast majority of our kids are wonderful human beings with energy, committment and hope for the future. There are a handful who present a problem, and most of those have got where they are by dint of the inadequacy of the adults in their lives. The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the childrens teeth are set on edge.

    When those children go wrong, we have to treat them as children until such time as they can be deemed to be responsible for their own actions. For a wealthy state like the UK, the age of 10 is embarassingly young for a person to be deemed criminally responsible. That has to change.

    A Bill of Rights is about setting standards, it is not about bankrupting countries. It is about agreeing incremental movement towards a better future.

    The NIHRC had an impossible task, it took too long to report, in part because the terrain was largely unmapped, and in part because each set of commissioners wished to make their mark. Now at least they can turn their full attention to the real work.

  • Newton Emerson

    I love it when people demand a “real debate” then freak out when they get one.
    While not responsible for the Irish News front page on Thursday, I concur with it completely. The HRC’s proposals include defining everyone under 18 as a child, making custody for under-18s “a last resort” and allowing any “interested party” to bring a judicial challenge under a Bill of Rights. Given the present commissioner’s long-stated objection to youth custody, I have no doubt that the intention to scare courts off youth custody decisions is serious.
    Playing down the economic rights aspect of the proposals is also curious, given the persistence of their inclusion throughout every stage of the Bill of Rights process over the past 10 years.
    This has happened despite repeated indications that they were beyond its remit and politically unacceptable at Westminster. Even the same phrases – “to the maximum of available resources”, for example – recur at every stage of the documentation. As for health, the “right” to “the highest attainable standard of mental and physical health” (another phrase recurring over a decade of negotiation) is one that goes beyond public health provision to intrude directly into family life. If a mother smokes, is she infringing this “right” for her child? Should she lose custody? This very question was put to the head of the Human Rights Consortium at one public meeting and she refused to answer. With children already taken into care for being over-fed by otherwise loving families, the wording of this provision is deeply sinister.

    Mrs McWilliams was capable of putting out a classic politician’s statement when two of her commissioners dissented from the final report. What a pity she has demonstrated no political capability whatsoever to build a consensus, focus on the achievable or even stick to her remit.

  • Alan

    This really is desperately inconsequential. Several points.

    1. They are already defined as a child under the children order and recognition given to the differential treatment required by that person until the age of 18 anyway – so what is the problem? It is for the system to review its processes in relation to criminality.

    2. Perhaps you would prefer that custody were available as a first resort, you are not clear in your argument?

    3. “to the maximum of available resources” is restated across the board to emphasize the fact that these are aspirational clauses that require government programming. Thank you for pointing that out again.

    4. If the mum’s smoking represented substantial harm being caused to the child, due to emphysema or other chronic condition, then I am sure there would be times when a court may consider that an issue – on the assumption that the mother had been offered support in stopping smoking, and had rejected that support.

    5. All too often in this society the search for consensus becomes a pandering to interests that value stasis above progress. All the Commission are saying is that there is a substantial body of opinion on the commission that supports their advice.

  • Democratic

    The NIHRC is Mr Emerson’s choice bug bear in his Irish News column – he gets a lot of print mileage from it when there is nothing more interesting happening – usual story in his last comment here – lots of negativity with little or no suggestion of what he would suggest to improve the approach to a difficult (nigh impossible) task agreed by all signaturies in the Agreement to be undertaken…..the bill of rights was always on the cards – why the critics are only coming out of the woodwork relatively recently I don’t know – I mean the expenses argument is normally the bulwark to more pungent underlying issues in my experience….especially in good old NI when millions are spent purely in the pursuit of p1ssing “themmuns” off every year…

  • Newton Emerson

    Alan

    The problem is that “the system” would be seriously hamstrung by making present arrangements (or one interpretation of present arrangements) a justiciable “right” to be advanced by any “interested party”.
    On your point about “the maximum of available resources”, this is indeed linked in the proposals to “programmatic” delivery as of right.
    Bringing economic policy programmes under the purview of any “interested party” within a justiciable rights framework is once again an entitlement to drag basic political decisions through the courts. The head of the Human Rights Consortium has confirmed in public that she believes policies should be challenged on this basis even if the rights lobby agrees with the policy objective.

    On the issue of taking children into care, it was disappointing that the proposal contained no mention of our unaccountable and secretive family courts system (surely an obvious infringement of the ECHR?) while including a blanket entitlement to confiscate people’s children on a lifestyle issue. The agenda of the “children’s sector”, the child-care professions and the rights lobby interacts conveniently once again, despite all evidence that the worst thing that can happen to any child short of physical/sexual abuse is to be placed in care.

    I note that you dismiss “stasis” as if this is a self-explanatory reason for change. It is not. I also realise that it is no longer acceptable to ask the question “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” – and I suppose we are all permitted the exuberance of youth. Nevertheless, the present human rights commissioner is the founder and former leader of a political party which responded to its 2003 election defeat by proposing that one third of councillors be appointed from “civic society”. This should rule out its former members from all public office, let alone offices overseeing rights and equality. There is a fundamentally anti-democratic instinct at work here, operating via an extremely arrogant clique, and it should be met with aggressive suspicion on all matters it presumes to make binding.

    But as you say, it is all desperately inconsequential, because this whole ludicrous exercise is going straight into the bin.

  • autocue

    Democratic

    “the bill of rights was always on the cards – why the critics are only coming out of the woodwork relatively recently I don’t know”

    Completely untrue. At every stage in the BoR process, the representatives of the Unionist community made it very clear that the direction the process was being taken was entirely unaccaptable.

    The sad thing is that the BoR process has been used by some trade unionists, womens rights groups and other associated trendy-lefties as a Trojan Horse for their pet projects. That is why it is now dying on its feet…

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Shouldn’t nationalists be pissed off that the Human Rights Commission is making recommendations that are outside the Good Friday Agreement? There’s enough bleating when others exceed their remit or unionists step outside the Agreement, yet not here.

    Go through the document; how many of the recommendations are truly specific to Northern Ireland’s situation, as agreed in the GFA?

    As someone who started off supportive of a Bill of Rights, I’m quite disillusioned with how the situation stands, as it’s clear that there’s going to be yet another stage of ‘Back to the drawing board’.

  • mack and others..yes, much of this can be left to devolution amendments but how are clashes between the centre and the devolved to be settled? A Rights Bill can be useful here and new concordats may well be necessary. This is an area worth developing in the consultation phase. There’s nothing unusual in societies extending their constitutions in a legal direction. The question always is – where does the balance lie, between the “political” and the “legal”? A purely “political” constitution can end up like NI 1922, impeccably “democratic” in a winner take all sense, profoundly undemocratic in the sense of failing to respect individual and group rights. Is the present NI constitutional set-up “democratic”? Not everybody thinks so, to put it mildly. I tilt towards the political myself but I can see the usefulness of declaring some social and economic rights which are well established and fairly consensual, just as a protection. And if NI were to swing towards voluntary coalition, cross-community consent might well need a buttress. There’s lots to talk about here and intelligent commentators like Newtown would do better to avoid the zero sum approach. consultation. I doubt if it will dismissed as Newton thinks, although the range may well be whittled down and altered. The UK parties will be wary of dismissing anything labelled Northern Ireland Rights” out of hand. Rightly so.

  • Glencoppagagh

    Nevertheless, the present human rights commissioner is the founder and former leader of a political party which responded to its 2003 election defeat by proposing that one third of councillors be appointed from “civic society”

    And pompous enough to carry round the title of “Professor” even though she doesn’t currently hold an academic post. Especially when that post was Professor of ‘Women’s Studies’ at the august UU.

  • autocue

    Glencoppagagh

    Good point. Do you ever notice how so-called civic society is crammed full of leftist nutters who cannot actually get a mandate for their policies?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Brian

    I think (part of) Newt’s point is that precious few of the recommendations are ‘Northern Ireland rights’.

    And, for good measure, on perhaps the most controversial or important (depending on your viewpoint) issue of the day that DIRECTLY affects women in NI, the Commission recommended… nothing. Nada. Fuck all. It bottled it.

    Whether yr pro or anti, this was perhaps THE issue for the Commission to stake its claim to legitimacy on.

  • Cynic

    “pompous enough to carry round the title of “Professor” even though she doesn’t currently hold an academic post.”

    Arent Professor’s like Generals who carry their rank forever to remind us of past victories and Glories.

    Now in Monica’s case, exactly what were those? She certainly hasn’t had any on the courts since she took up this job.

  • William

    The last thing we need in Northern Ireland is a Bill of Rights, as outlined in the document producted by the leftist leaning HR Commission and their failed politician chief McWilliams. The HR Act is surely a pointer to what would happen if this other raft of rights was given to the lawyers to earn even higher fees [and I say that as one. Jack Straw has pointed the way – the HR Act needs amending and what has been proposed by McWilliams and Co, with the honourable exception of Mrs. Trimble and Jonathan Bell, doesn’t have a ghost’s chance of passing through the Westminster parliament. The quicker the BOR addicts realise that the better. The HR Commission in Northern Ireland should be wound up…it is a total waste of money and the motley crew of lefty loonies who feed into the consultancy process are more to be pitied than criticised.

  • Alan

    The current custodial system would certainly be hamstrung if the Bill came in, but then you would expect it to have been changed in order to reflect the changes in the Bill. So your argument is quite specious.

    Again, the maximum available resources will be defined by politicians, not judges. To suggest otherwise is nonsense. The political issue that the courts cannot deal with is availability – ie supply. That is Parliament’s prerogative.

    As far as I was aware the Consortium has no position on the detail of the Bill, requiring, rather,a “strong and inclusive bill of rights.” Therefore, I doubt they were speaking on behalf of the consortium.

    I’m not getting into discussions on family courts which is a distraction, and, personally, I find your comments on the chief comissioner to be ad hominem.

  • cynic

    “the present human rights commissioner is the founder and former leader of a political party which responded to its 2003 election defeat by proposing that one third of councillors be appointed from “civic society””

    What …they wanted the British (and Irish) Governments to break Article 3 of the First Protocol of ECHR and I quote:-

    PROTOCOL 1 ARTICLE 3

    The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature.

    Quick, someone call the NI Human Rights Commission! Whoops, perhaps not. Or is it just like Animal Farm where all Animals are created equal, but some are just more equal than others?

  • Belfast Gonzo, Very interesting point you make about women’s rights. The one great procedural failure which the Ministry of Justice in London have only just cottoned on to was the lack of co-ordination with the devolved Rights exercises. Rights being rights would be likely to extend to accepted and reserved matters. It’s a long road to reach anything concrete.

  • The Spectator

    It is strange, as a proud and unapologetic ‘leftist’, and a believer in human rights, to find myself so much in agreement with the naysayers, but Monica et al. have produced what can only be described as a dogs breakfast of a package.

    It never fails to surprise me how many people seem to miss the basic point of ‘rights’ – if it’s not justiciable, if you can’t go to a court of law and demand your rights, in the face of th government and in the face of publicmajority opinion, then frankly it’s not a right at all, it’s a platitude, and if I’d wanted a bill of platitudes, I’d have asked for one.
    Alan, on the point of “maximum resources available”, you are simply, fundamentally wrong.
    Supply i.e. getting the money is within the prerogative of the Assembly (and even that is a very limited prerogative), but allocation of that supply is a matter for the Departments under the political direction of Ministers, and subject to the NIAO and MPMNI.

    As such, spending the money is entirely justiciable, and the requirement therefore for the maximum resources available can only mean, as a matter of law, ALL of it, since 100% is the maximum of anything. Indeed, M Ritchie is being Judicially reviewed as we speak for changing one such allocation.

    I wll guarantee here and now, if nothing else, those three ridiculous words will not appear in any legislation.
    Brian

    Ah, where to begin…

    Social and economic rights are indeed different from what is conceived of as “fundamental” rights. But some have a place even in mainstream British thinking, like the UK Bill to set up an NHS constitution.”
    Yes,Brian, they are different because they aren’t rights, they are preferences. The NHS constitution won’t give rights in any meaningful sense, it will give only a series of ‘statutory benefits’, which can be taken away as easily as any other by the flick of a parliamentary pen.
    The reason ECHR matters is because the individual has been able to appeal to it OVER THE HEAD of the national and supposedly supreme Parliament. That right, of an individual to trump even the majority approved edits of a national parliament, in effect to trump democracy is what makes those rights fundamental, and shows how pathetic the NHS constitution comparison, indeed the NHS constitution itself,truly is. Without that, the NI BoR is nothing but candyfloss.
    “how are clashes between the centre and the devolved to be settled?”

    In a constitutional document, like any other federalised, or part-federalised system, like say, for instance, the Northern Ireland Act 1998?
    The balance of powers between the centre and the fringe in a devolved, or federalised, system has precisely feck all to do with rights, or a Bill of Rights. The constant inability of those in the media to understand the basics never fails to depress me.
    Check your local large library; the constitutional law books, and the human rights books are well seperated, because they are two different things – one is the balance of government v individual, the other the balance of one government with another government.

    You only really need to ask one question to understand law – whenever someone claims something must be so – ask “or what ?” – so “you cannot murder.” “or what?” “or you may, if found guilt be sentenced to life in a prison” – “you, as a Minister, cannot take into account irrelevant factors in a decision” “or what?” “or your decision will be overturned, and either made for you, or you will be force to make it again” “you must spend ‘the maximum resources available” on health care” “or what?” “or,em…ah.. you are not a nice person!” – big whoop – if it’s not justiciable, not enforceable, then its not a right, I repeat it’s just a platitude.

    Never mind good rights, this rubbish wouldn’t even make good ordinary law!

  • Alan

    “As such, spending the money is entirely justiciable, and the requirement therefore for the maximum resources available can only mean, as a matter of law, ALL of it, since 100% is the maximum of anything. Indeed, M Ritchie is being Judicially reviewed as we speak for changing one such allocation. ”

    I will simply disagree. As I have said before, he word “available” is the operative word, where it was not available, no spend could be incurred. As for the CTI case, that is a Judicial Review that already exists as a remedy for administrative issues. Despite awaiting Judicial Review, Margaret Richie is still able to hand back 29m to DFP.

    You are ignoring the huge impact that programmatic change driven by a Bill of Rights could have for a large number of disadvantaged people in Northern Ireland who have had to await for change while politics here was fixated on the troubles. Not all of that change would even require expenditure, key enabling aspects of it would be training and changing processes.

  • £6 billion subvention

    “i wonder how many millions will be wasted on this sort of thing in NI before we wise up? “

  • Sean Og

    “personally, I find your comments on the chief comissioner to be ad hominem.”

    What does that mean? I have the right to be told.

    This entire exercise will have to be repeated and probably repeated again. We are destined to wander around in circles for years until someone with a bit of wit is appointed to come up with something sensible. The art of the possible and all that.

    Where is Thomas Jefferson when you need him?

  • Jimmy Sands

    “As I have said before, he word “available” is the operative word”

    No it isn’t. If a minister can make a fund unavailable by allocating it elsewhere, then the word is meaningless. If he or she cannot, then it is attempting to trump the governmental process.

    Spectator,

    My congratulations on a thorough demolition of this nonsense. I can’t add anything to it.

  • The Spectator

    Alan

    “I will simply disagree”

    Disagree away, the law’s on my side. See section 23(2) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

    “You are ignoring the huge impact that programmatic change driven by a Bill of Rights could have for a large number of disadvantaged people in Northern Ireland who have had to await for change while politics here was fixated on the troubles.”

    I’m ignoring it because it’s fundamentally bollocks. ‘ Programmatic change ‘ – an utterly meaningless contrivence, the bastard child of a social worker and a business NVQ, that has nothing to do with laws, or constitutions, or rights, or anything else that means anything, or can be enforced. It simply an attempt to cover good old fashioned political opinions and prejudices in sociology jargon.

    You know something, Alan, if you lose out in politics, or in life, because of shit circumstances like the Troubles, that’s just tough. People lose jobs, homes, limbs and lives – any you know what, they’ll never get them back, that’s just how shit life is – want to create compensation for life’s downers – win an election, manage a successful coup or get off the pot – being one of life’s victim’s doesn’t give you any extra rights. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t – it just makes you a victim. There is no right to some sort of supreme social justice in this world, and frankly I’d fear the other, more fundamanetal rights, like privacy, and free speech, that would have to be abrogated for you to attempt to fulfull that fantasy.

    Look, I’m an unapologetic leftist, I sympathise with the aims of a lot of this, but the route, and the jargon, is just bullshit. It’s fundamentally dishonest, and frankly being pushed by people who, to be honest, are intellectually in over their heads.

    They seem unable to seperate the legal from the political from the policy from the moral – and if you can’t do that, you frankly don’t have much business being involved in the BoR project. It’s a job for intellectually heavy lifters, and the group simply didn’t contain enough of them. It’s arguable it didn’t contain any of them.

    They needed Tony Benn or Kieth Joseph, Hardie or Friedman, Locke or Burke – instead its full, at best, of Tony Blairs and David Camerons.

    Want an example?
    Look at section 28D; it actually tried to create law to demand ‘programmatic change’ in the area of languages – but tell me, what could a court do, if the executive fundamentally didn’t perform its duties under 28D – nothing, because the Executive, not being a corporate body, is not sue-able – so although it’s statute, it’s not much of a law in real terms, and even less of a right.”

    Look, if you want to redistribute wealth, enlarge the NHS or create community centres out of Lego – go ahead; but it’s damn all to do with ‘rights’ and plenty to do with a ‘political persuasion’. The whole BoR frankly reads like the death throws of a left wing cabal who have been beaten so badly they have given up on democracy altogether.

    It’s a complete waste – but looking for special ‘rights’ applicable in Northern Ireland, an idiotic idea, was always likely to be a complete waste anyway.

  • Driftwood

    i wonder how many millions will be wasted on this sort of thing in NI before we wise up? “
    6 billion subvention

    More and more and more and more

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7786860.stm

    Millions and millions, wasted.