It must be a slow week, this week, because the ‘Idiot formerly known as the Safety Elephant’ is back and having a good old whinge at the Law Lords after the Court of Appeal ruled that the government’s control orders breach the provisions of the Human Rights Act.
Former Home Secretary Charles Clarke has condemned the “disgraceful” refusal of the Law Lords to talk to ministers over anti-terrorism laws.
The Court of Appeal ruled last August that using “control orders” to keep six terrorist suspects under a form of house arrest breached human rights.
With little discussion about the ruling, Mr Clarke’s successor was told to “take another stab”, he told Lords.
Mr Clarke said this was “incredible”, considering public fears over terror.
I wonder, Safety, do you that more or less incredible than this statement, which appears on an archived copy of the ‘Prevention of Terrorism Bill’, which after its passage through parliament become the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, under which control orders were introduced.
EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Mr Secretary Clarke has made the following statement under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998:
In my view the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Bill are compatible with the Convention rights.
I hate to be picky, here, Safety – but exactly how many meetings/discussions did you have with the Law Lords before you came to the conclusion that the Bill, as introduced to Parliament, was compatible with Convention rights and signed off on that statement?
Mm, – I suppose I could just submit an FOIA request and find out, but my general suspicion here that the answer is likely to be somewhere between zero and none.
Still, you don’t necessarily have to meet with them to get a useful opinion. You could just as easily send them a draft copy of the Bill, ask them to look it over for you and maybe point out where the pitfalls might lie.
No? Didn’t do that as well?
Then what the fuck do you expect? You don’t consult with them first, you just slap your entirely unqualified opinion on the top of the bill, whack it through Parliament and then piss and moan when a case hits caught and the Law Lords point out that you were bollocks right from the outset.
And then you wonder you get treated like a naughty schoolboy and you homework get sent back with ‘must try harder’ slapped all over in red pen?
A senior committee of Law Lords should be set up to discuss the general principles of new laws, providing ministers with better guidance, Mr Clarke told the Lords constitution committee.
That’s actually a reasonable suggestion, even if its clearly accompanied by the sound of stable doors being bolted long after the horse have buggered off for a bit of a frolic.
Shame you didn’t think of that before – after all the Human Right Act did become law in 1998.
In fact do not think that such a committee should have set up right from the outset, at the time that the Act was passed?
In fact, to take the argument even further, do you not think it a good idea that these stataments of compatibility, which must be included by law on all parliamentary bills, should actually be signed off by someone who is actually qualified to render an opinion on such matters, and not by whichever Minister introduces the bill. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a Law Lord, although that would be my preferred option, you do have Lord Goldsmith as well and I’m sure he’d be happy to look things over for and the rest of the Cabinet.
Okay, even with that there are limitations – you can never quite predict what real test cases might throw at you so there’s still a chance that even a Law Lord or the Attorney General might miss something and not manage to cover all your bases, but at least if you did cop for a battering in the High Court after all that then its going to be because something a bit unusal and unexpected has cropped up, not because you’ve overlooked the fucking obvious.
He also said he thought the UK could leave the European Convention on Human Rights if public feeling increased that it restricted anti-terror efforts.
Bollock, Safety – you’re blatantly scaremongering. For fuck’s sake, even Charlie Falconer’s backed right off from that line and declared it to be a heap of shit.
Look, this is not difficult.
No ECHR mean no membership of the European Union or Council of Europe, them’s the rules – so unless you’re planning on joining UKIP any time soon, then that’s pretty much a non-starter.
It had led to increased “tension” between ministers and judges.
And that’s perfectly understandable – no one really likes being shown up as an incompetent twat.
Since the US attacks on 11 September, 2001, and the London bombings on 7 July, 2005, people had been “very exercised about whether or not we are preventing these crimes effectively”, Mr Clarke added.
Actually, Safety, I’m rather more ‘exercised’ about why we aren’t prosecuting the fuckers rather than fannying around with illiberal crap like internment and control orders.
Look, repeat after me – and excuse the bliblical idiom Investigation begat Arrest.
Arrest begat Charges.
Charges begat Trial.
Trial begat Conviction.
Conviction begat Prison Sentence.
That is the basic ‘lineage’ of the British Criminal Justice system, one that the vast majority of people in this country are perfect contented with. It doesn’t always deliver the outcome you expect, but on the whole it does a good job and has done for fucking centuries.
The moral of this little parable is, ‘if it ain’t broke, keep your grubby little fucking paws off it and let it do its job’.
Ministers have criticised several judgements on terror suspects.
Mr Clarke said the public did not usually understand what disputes between judges and ministers were about
Actually, Safety, this particular member of the public does usually understand what these disputes are about, given access to reasonably reliable and bias-free information. The main reason why the public often don’t understand these disputes is because when they do crop up any semblance of common sense is immediately loss in a barrage of tendentious shite from politicians and journalists.
If you want people to understand what these disputes are about then you ban the reporting of them in any daily newspaper that can be bought for less than 70p (or a £1 at weekends) uses the word ‘Stunnas’, has published more than two photographs of Princess Diana in any 12 month period since her death (coverage of the death and funeral excepted) or has ever run a daily feature column or page on any shitty reality TV shows.
He said: “What I strongly dislike is flailing around in a cloud of views of senior lawyers with different opinions and the difficulty of getting to a firmness of accuracy in that situation.”
Translation: Fucking laywers – its all fucking Greek to me.
Mr Clarke added that “the politicians, the ministers, the judges and the parliamentarians generally do understand the broad relations” between the judiciary and the government.
Well that’s a fucking relief – what kind of fucking morons would we be electing to run the country if they couldn’t understand that.
Err, that is a rhetorical question, DK, in case you are looking in…
But, he said: “I think citizens don’t and find it very, very confusing when there are rows taking place”
I refer the honourable gentleman to the answer I gave a couple of snarks ago…
Mr Clarke added: “The idea that judges are so eminent and right… that they are beyond criticism is one I couldn’t go along with.”
True, but the I also couldn’t run to the idea that Ministers are beyond criticism either – how do you feel about that?
Conservative leader David Cameron has pledged to reform, replace or scrap the Human Rights Act if he is elected.
Yep, that’s Cameron for you – leaving his options right option because he hasn’t got the first fucking idea of a real policy on the future of HRA.
Last August, the Court of Appeal upheld an earlier decision that control orders made against six suspects were too severe and should be quashed.
The orders, which kept the men inside for 18 hours a day, breached Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which outlaws indefinite detention without trial, it was ruled.
Now you see, Safety, its not that difficult to understand these rows as long as they’re explained properly.
You had a row with the Law Lords because you wanted to bang people up indefinitely without trial, and they wouldn’t let you.
What is it about that that you think is so difficult to understand?
The Beeb have managed to explain it perfectly well as far I can see.