When to give up?

I start to wonder.

I see so much stupidity in government, especially after the election, where things like banning encryption seem more and more likely to be taken seriously. I see Australia seem to want to ban teaching encryption - it's 1991 all over again.

I see more and more police state happening. Monitoring all that we do, just in case we become one of those terrorists that are marginally less dangerous than bee stings. Then we have the latest crazy idea of repealing the Human Rights Act. It is just unbelievable.

I mean, seriously, can anyone point to any single part of the Human Rights Act that, if repealed, would be better for me, or anyone I know or care about, either directly or indirectly?

It is really hard to see how that could happen - to benefit me, I'd have to be Hitler or something, wanting to detain people without trial and such shit.

A friend of mine said that obviously the Human Rights Act is "inconvenient" and that is why they want to repeal it. I pointed out that it is meant to be "inconvenient", especially to tyrannical dictators. It is certainly meant to be "inconvenient" to those that would like to deny me those basic human rights. That is the point!

I was really bad at history at school, and now it seems to matter. Maybe they'll just ban teaching history in schools - that would avoid the inconvenient truth of why the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act came in to force in the first place.

Anyway, I was wonder.

I am 51 now. Do I eventually decide that it would be easier to shut up, install the telescreen so I can be watched all day, and be a good citizen of the police state? Or do I try and find a sane country and emigrate, and would that even work? Or do I keep trying to speak out and trying to make a difference until I drop?


  1. I do wonder why the press seem to be doing so little about this...

    1. The Murdoch press and some of the other redtops are opposed to the HRA.

  2. But where do you go?
    The UK has exported it's own special brand of love and affection to the rest of the world. You can't even go and set up your own country on a platform or grounded ship because guess which country got a worldwide ban on that out in place?

    With over arching yet top secret things like the TTIP and the like, where everyone is so keen to pass yet more secret laws without debate or even a chance to see the laws first, that will make entire countries into criminals if they don't agree with the laws, what hope is there?

    1. "set up your own country on a platform or grounded ship"

      First thing I recommend to anybody who thinks this is an actual idea they could put into practice, and not just something that makes for a good novel, movie or video game setting, is to talk to someone who has spent a few years working aboard an ocean-going ship. Military vessel, container ship, even a cruise liner -- as crew not a passenger. I think after you've got a better idea how hard life is at sea you'll suddenly change your mind about what a brilliant idea this is.

    2. You miss my point - it doesn't matter how easy or hard it is, the UK government got the recognition of artifical islands as countries or states banned, after they were embarrassed by the Principality of Sealand.

  3. I've only read articles about this that are obviously biased to one side or the other.

    The only absolute concrete issue I've seen is the one over whether prisoners get to vote or not (apparently the ECHR says a blanket ban is illegal).

    I've heard talk that it makes it very difficult (and hence expensive and slow) to remove non-British convicted criminals from the UK, mostly due to the 'right to family life' section but I've not seen hard figures on this.

    I am not sure I have a fundamental issue with the overall stated aim - ie. altering things so that the British courts have more influence than the European ones.

    I would love to see an un-biased article about the pros and cons.

    1. > The only absolute concrete issue I've seen is the one over whether prisoners get to vote or not (apparently the ECHR says a blanket ban is illegal).

      Banning criminals from voting is really dangerous - it encourages the criminalisation of anyone who might vote "the wrong way".

      On the whole, even if someone is a convicted criminal(*), they are still human, and denying them human rights leads to atrocities such as Guantanamo Bay.

      (* and lets not forget that "convicted criminal" doesn't necessarily mean they have definitely committed a crime - miscarriages of justice do happen; and arguably whether someone has committed a crime, or "done wrong" are often entirely different things!)

    2. And like many things, think if you were in that position. We want to appeal these things, even if we're not the targets. Yet.

  4. 404 on the Australia article!

    And keep fighting.

  5. One reasonably principled argument against the HRA/ECHR as currently implemented is it has enabled certain judges far more scope to interpret/invent law, often in disagreement with what the politicians claim to understand the law to mean. There seems to be pretty widespread agreement that this is happening, and disagreement about whether it's a good or a bad thing.

    It's not black and white - one may well want the judiciary to be a foil to the despotic urges of individual ministers, while at the same time thinking that, in a democracy, the law must be what the elected politicians say, not what (unelected) judges feel is a better fit with their own views.

    Personally I can't see why people are so horrified by the idea of repealing the HRA - it's only been in effect for a few years, and we were hardly an uncivilised place before it. We basically wrote the ECHR anyway - it's largely a statement of British values, which at one time we had the national self-confidence to think we could be trusted to adhere to without outside enforcement.

    There is an interesting contrast between thinking it's a good thing to write your own TCP/IP stack in-house but thinking you should outsource the law under which you labour to another country... :-)

  6. The ECHR is an ineffectual joke that wouldn't actually make the slightest bit of difference to a tyrannical dictator. Take a look at the clause claiming to protect freedom of speech, for example, and witness the long list of exceptions ("health or morals", "national security", "protecting the reputation of others" etc) that would easily cover every restriction on freedom of speech introduced by every dictator in history.

    Compare this with the US First Amendment, which is enshrined in the constitution (meaning it can't be trivially repealed after the next election) and serves as a clear and unambiguous restriction on the power of the state. Genuine rights are not protected through bureaucrats drafting paragraphs of weasel-worded legalese full of get-out clauses that the government can invoke any time it feels like it.

    1. Telling that such a weak and insignificant bit of legislation scares this current bunch of nutters enough that they are devoting serious resources to overriding it,& changing at least 4 international agreements to do it!

      The scary overbroad law to ban 'all psychologically effective substances' is another example of bad law, & apparently the sunk bill by Saatchi for destroying the protections of law for medical research is suddenly back, despite several defeats, & may even be fast tracked!

      It is insane.


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