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Thursday, 2 October, 2014 - 18:00

The Prime Minister has confirmed that future majority Conservative government would repeal the Human Rights act and replace it with a yet undefined “British Bill of Rights”. 

In his speech to the Conservative party conference he said "This country will have a new British bill of rights to be passed in our parliament rooted in our values. And as for Labour’s Human Rights Act? We will scrap it, once and for all.”

Further details were released on jackofkent.com...

Net Neutrality

 

 

Mark Chapman : Secret Courts - A silent start

Lady Justice - Old BaileyUnremarked upon, a mere footnote in the newspapers, but Justice took a significant step backwards this week with the start of a trial that will be held, at least in part, 'in secret'. The trial of Erol Incedal at the Old Bailey will - according to the judge - "have some unusual features. The usual way that justice is administered is in public. Some of this trial will be conducted in that way. However there will be other sessions of this trial that will be conducted in private. The public will not be able to attend these".

Not just the public, but journalists as well will be restricted from certain sections of the trial, so that the contents disclosed will never be public. Furthermore, the public will not be given an outline of what it is that is being discussed in secret, or any reasons why it must be secret.

That this has come about at all is as a consequence of the bill passed by the Coalition government last year. At the time there was a fair amount of media comment on it and the Lib Dem MPs defied the vote of members at their conference in voting for the bill. Now however, reporting a case which is affected, and there is silence - merely a footnote at the end of the standard court report. It seems as though the battle has already been lost, and the media have moved on.

Just because the media move on, however, doesn't mean that we should. The principle and practice of secret courts are dangerous and should be challenged wherever and whenever possible. We should take the time to understand the Justice that is being done in our name, and seeking to ensure that it is, above all, Just.

There are 2 major issues with the existence of secret courts. Firstly, it removes one of the fundamental tenets of the right to a fair trial - that the trial be conducted in public. As recently as 2011 in a landmark hearing (Al Rawi) the Supreme Court of the UK upheld the principle of open justice. The removal of this openness means that the accused can either never hear evidence which helps to convict them, removing them of the ability to accurately refute that evidence; or alternatively it means that they too are restricted from talking about certain aspects of the trial in public meaning that even if found to be innocent, they have restrictions placed on their freedom of speech.

Introducing our new Community site!

Ed Geraghty's picture

Community LogoAs part of our ongoing work to totally revamp our websites, I'm pleased to announce the launch of https://community.pirateparty.org.uk!

Wendy Cockcroft : Opinion: 'Middle-Out' A Pirate Solution For The Economy?

 

I'm basically a moderate conservative who sees the need for a well-funded welfare state governed by and for the people via a decentralised, distributed democratic process. My personal motto is,

"The individual must be free to act and the will of the people must be respected."

If this principle is not at the core of every policy those policies will fail. The needs and desires of BOTH the many and the one must be kept in balance, with neither gaining the advantage over the other if we want a fairer world. It's the reason I don't vote for the major parties; each of their philosophies tends towards nanny-knows-best authoritarianism and I don't like being told what to do by people who don't care about me.

At the moment, we're caught between the Left/Right dichotomy with either Socialism or Free Market Supply-side ideologies being touted as the solution despite neither of them ever having been proven to work in practice. Middle-out is a departure from both and would create a more inclusive society by providing incentives for production, rewarding labour, and funding a robust welfare state. Let's take a closer look at it.

Human Rights No, Corporate Rights Yes?

Andrew Norton's picture

It’s become a hallmark of British Government that they say one thing and do another. Rarely is it ever so cut-and-dried as with the current Conservative government.

Much has been made over the last few weeks about the desires of the Prime Minister to leave the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Cameron has said he wants to bring more powers back to London, because he doesn’t like the way it ‘hands power’ off – powers we British have given to that court more than 60 years ago. Most notably, he doesn’t like the way it often deals with his right wing agenda of disenfranchising people, and creeping towards a police state, but seems to be championing the way with misinformation.

 

It’s quite surprising to note then, that he has not been an outspoken critic of the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) or the Comprehensive  Economic and Trade  Agreement (CETA) which was released yesterday. In fact, he has been portrayed as a massive supporter of the TTIP, and CETA.

“Why is that surprising?”, you might ask, and the answer is simple. The entire thrust of his anti-ECHR campaign, has been that the court takes power ‘out of London’. He has no problem with ‘Human Rights’, but wants to somehow bring it entirely inside the UK, no matter the outside cost (there may well be significant consequences to leaving the ECHR). In essence, he wants a UK subservient only to UK judges. 

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