The Christmas Repeal

BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme are doing their annual listener vote. Listeners can suubmit suggestions for UK Laws which need repealing.

Please participate in this and get some of the rediculous laws that have been passed recently by government taken back off the statute books.

Some of the laws you may wish to consider are:

Human Rights

With reference to Rachel from north London’s blog, I would like to draw people’s attention to the gradual erosion of our Human Rights in the UK.

On the government’s own website it says that our rights include:

  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of assembly and association

So, freedom of expression… is that not being permitted to express your opinion in a public forum even if others may disagree with you? The UN have decreed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that:

Everyone has the right to opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

The UN regard things like war propaganda, incitement to violence and certain forms of hate speech as outside the remit of freedom of expression.

With regards to freedom of assembly and association, Wikipedia states that [ref]:

Freedom of assembly is the freedom to associate with, or organize any groups, gatherings, clubs, or organizations that one wishes. It is held to be a key right in liberal democracies, where by citizens may form or join any political party, special interest group, or union without government restrictions. In legal systems without freedom of assembly, certain political parties or groups can be banned with harsh penalties for any members. Public protests against the government are usually banned as well.

In 2005, the people of the United Kingdom were restricted from demonstrating in the vicinity of Parliament by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act. This act requires anyone wishing to demonstrate within a half mile of Parliament to get authorisation to do so. The main reason for this piece of legislation being a single man demonstrating against the war in Iraq, Brian Haw, which some members of the government have found to be distasteful.

Is this the sort of thing an elected body of MPs should be doing? Restricting the people’s ability to let them know, in times of civil unrest, what their views are? Should we allow them, once they’ve been elected, to shut themselves away from the nasty world outside and silence those who hold and wish to express conflicting views.

As a nation we have, in the past, condemned regimes which have limited the freedoms of people in this way. Is this, in fact, the same sort of regime we wish to be governed by?

I don’t.