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Let’s not beat around the bush! Ever since Theresa May was Home Secretary, she has steadfastly advocated the end of the Human Rights Act. She used every opportunity to attempt to beat it with a stick during her time in the Home Office, from terrorism to deporting hate preachers, to protestors and criminals. But the simple fact of the matter is that yes, although the Human Rights Act can be a pain in the backside at times with regards to getting justice, or taking swift action.

But few people actually know exactly what the HRA is. They know it protects rights but don’t know how it works in relation to other laws.

To put it simply, as a member of the European Union, all countries in the EU must adopt the rights and freedoms in the European Convention on Human Rights. Now while the European Court is separate from the political arm in terms of these rights, much like domestic courts in the UK, adoption of the ECHR is a prerequisite of membership.

The Human Rights Act is what brings the ECHR into force in the UK and allows courts in the UK to enforce it under law. If a person does not get satisfaction in courts in the UK, they can then appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

But the reason for May wanting to destroy the Human Rights Act is not for the purposes of safety or crime prevention, indeed most despots typically justify the removal of basic human rights and civil liberties under the guise of “security” and try to make it seem as if the Government are doing you a favour. The truth is the ECHR is there to stop Governments and their agents from derogating your inalienable human rights. It also applies to organisations, companies and individuals.

It is no secret that the Tories have done some pretty horendous things, especially with regards to the disabled, elderly, homeless and benefits recipients in general. But you would be shocked if you knew that they are actually prevented from doing substancially worse by the Human Rights Act.

Tories are about business and business is about working on the back of the working man, screwing as much money out of people as possible and the systematic transfer of wealth from the have-nots to the haves. But big business is prevented from truly stamping on you because of the….Human Rights Act.

In order to achieve the race to the bottom they seek, and to truly enable big business to do what it wants, they have to get rid of the obstacle to that misery for the many. They have to scrap the Human Rights Act. However, as a member of the EU, they can’t until such time as the UK is no longer under the jurisdiction of the ECHR. That’s where a hard brexit comes in.

You will have heard the number of times that May and her cabinet have spouted the line about “taking back control of our laws”. What she means by that is removing us from the authority of the ECJ and ECHR. If she can do that, she can scrap the Human Rights Act and despite their claims to set up a “charter of rights”, does anyone truly believe that it will contain all of our inalienable rights? No! It will contain what they say it will contain.

The scary thing is that the European Union (withdrawal) Act contains a very shade paragraph which states that the UK Government (not parliament) can unilaterally change any laws previously touched by EU law. The call it “deficiencies”. The problem is that the EU law which has touched them is primarily human rights law. They can make these changes without the scrutiny of parliament as well.

So imagine if you will, no European Courts to appeal to, a charter of rights that the tories dictate and they can change any law they see fit without the scrutiny of your elected MP’s.

Make no mistake! A hard brexit will deliver the removal of your fundamental rights. It will happen slowly at first but by the time we truly notice the extent, the damage will be done.

This is to me, the single most important reason why Scotland needs to remove itself from the UK before brexit is concluded, else we suffer the fate of the Tories as sole arbiters of our fundamental human rights.

The rights I am talking about are:

  • the right to life (Article 2)
  • freedom from torture (Article 3)
  • freedom from slavery (Article 4)
  • the right to liberty (Article 5)
  • the right to a fair trial (Article 6)
  • the right not to be punished for something that wasn’t against the law at the time (Article 7)
  • the right to respect for family and private life (Article 8)
  • freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 9)
  • freedom of expression (Article 10)
  • freedom of assembly (Article 11)
  • the right to marry and start a family (Article 12)
  • the right not to be discriminated against in respect of these rights (Article 14)
  • the right to protection of property (Protocol 1, Article 1)
  • the right to education (Protocol 1, Article 2)
  • the right to participate in free elections (Protocol 1, Article 3)
  • the abolition of the death penalty (Protocol 13)
About author
Martin Keatings

Martin Keatings

Pro-Independence Activist