Monica tilts at both main parties

Monica McWilliams has used the election campaign to launch a thinly veiled attack on both the Conservative  and Labour parties over their  plans to replace the Human Rights Act with different versions of a British Bill of Rights. Both parties wish to cotinue to rely more on British than continental precedents and uphold the common law tradition, but  differ over how to achieve it.  The Labour Bill (see “defining British values”) adds a few nebulous  “responsibilities” to the HRA in an attempt to set out “British values”. The Conservatives will be the bigger target for her criticism, as they have rejected the very idea of a separate NI Bill of Rights, while Labour have argued for a more limited Bill than her commission has proposed. For a British Bill incorporating NI clauses, the Conservatives argue against the straightforward application of Strasbourg case law in British courts, and in favour of curbing judicial discretion at parliament’s expense. Friction had arisen between the courts and the government over deportation and other cases connected with international terrorism, which both parties put down to HRA interpretations. Defending the Human Right Act, Ms McWilliams says:

The suggestion that, post-general election, an overhaul of the act is desirable defies logic, and the idea that we should throw in a vague and ill-defined discourse on responsibilities for good measure is puzzling. Add to this the notion that reopening a debate will somehow help us in defining British values, and what we are left with are more bitter and divisive clashes.

Monica’s fear is that a repeal of existing human rights protection should not be “the starting point for discussing a new Bill.” Her concerns remain to be explored in detail but it’s unlikely that under either party, human rights protection would be reduced.

  • RepublicanStones

    Apologies Brian off topic but you might like to hear Brown hates bigots

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8649012.stm

  • Yet another instance of local politico gets real world awakening.

    McWilliams has cost taxpayers enough

  • cynic2

    Dear Monica

    You are entitled to your views.

    We even pay you a lot of money for articulating them.

    But we elect Parliament to make these decisions and that’s what will happen on 6th May. I seem to recall that you tried that route yourself once but it didn’t work as no-one would vote for you, You may wish to reflect on that before you push too hard afg=gaianst the democtratically expressed wiosheds of the rest of ius.

  • cynic2

    Dear Monica

    You are entitled to your views.

    We even pay you a lot of money for articulating them.

    But we elect Parliament to make these decisions and that’s what will happen on 6th May. I seem to recall that you tried that route yourself once but it didn’t work as no-one would vote for you, You may wish to reflect on that before you push too hard against the democratically expressed wishes of the rest of us.

  • GavBelfast

    What on earth is Ms McWilliams for?

    What’s the need in these austere times?

  • Drumlin Rock

    Monica must GO!

  • aquifer

    “the idea that we should throw in a vague and ill-defined discourse on responsibilities for good measure is puzzling”

    Monica’s responsibilities were well defined and she and her predecessor failed to meet them, let alone fulfill them.

    Rights without reciprocal responsibilities are an indulgence we cannot afford.

    The spending axe is swinging above Monica’s head.

    She can squeaks a bit if she likes, that is her right, and we are now within our rights to ignore her completely.

    And get a just inclusive voting system like Alternative Vote we can have her back, or more likely not.

  • snowstorm

    Monica – please piss off and leave democracy to democrats. You are overbearing, overpaid and and an affliction on this society.

  • slug

    Let the axe of savings fall first on Monica. In time of national debt she is surely unjustifiable.

  • Drumlin Rock

    At the same time hopefully the axe will remove the current Children’s Commissioner Patricia Lesley, who has wasted much of her time and budget trying to legislate throught the courts for a ban on smacking.

  • Cynic2

    Slug

    We have to have her. Its in the GFA. We should simply reduce the budget by 60% or merge her with the Equality Commission (and cut the budget)

  • Cynic2

    Drumlin

    Whoops …I forgot the Childrens’ Commissioner …add her to the pot as well….look on it as a 3 for 1 offer.

  • Framer

    Anyway it is plain that Monica did not write this piece. She does not engage with UK politics except in a posturing and nationalist mode and is not given to post-modern phrasing like ‘discourse’.

  • Granni Trixie

    Framer: I noticed that ‘discourse’ was unlikely to be her natural mode of speech too (because its actually a speach habit of my own -makes me sound grown up).

  • Lily

    I understood that one of the principles of this site was ‘play the ball, not the man’. Does that principle not apply to women?

  • Drumlin Rock

    I think there needs to be a serious look at all the commissions etc. I don’t believe they were ever meant to be campaigning bodies but more “advocates” for those who found it difficult to take on an injustice on their own. However I also think they should rarely if ever be in court, but should have some teeth to investigate and offer advice and support.