Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Rights & Responsibilities

The launch of the Green Paper by the Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw and his Minister of State, Michael Wills has been presented to the electorate. The Foreward comprises 5 pages of stultifying, bureaucratese and contradictory waffle - on a par with just about everything this government does.

At 68 pages in length there is much to comment on, but to mention just a few points:

The Foreward, in the first paragraph, mentions right and freedoms, the need to know that people will behave responsibly towards each other and it adds that
"We [the Government] believe it is important that..........every UK citizen should be able to have their say in how their country is run;....."
. Odd statement for a government that has given away the right of every UK citizen in that area, namely our membership of the European Union. It discusses the responsibilities citizens have toward each other, yet strangely does not mention the responsibility citizens have to the country, whether or not that be by birth or adoption of the country through immigration.

This Green Paper continues, ad nauseam, about the responsibility towards each other yet, as stated above, mentions nothing about the responsibility towards the country, its culture and its traditions. Later in the document it quotes from the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 and it is a pity that Jack Straw does not put more emphasis on points 1 and 4 of his quote.

Under Criminal Justice it says that the responsibilities to report on criminal activities are integral to a justice system but the detail of that obligation has never been highlighted and that the Government believes it should be. This looks like the beginning of an 'informants network' if it ever came to pass.

It is extremely interesting that, whilst saying it is open to persuasion, it "does not propose the inclusion of the principle of habeas corpus or a right to trial by jury in any new Bill of Rights and Responsibilities." One has to ask if this is the precursor to the introduction of the Napoleonic code of justice under an EU directive/regulation?

This proposed Bill of Rights threatens to be one large document, more in keeping with the EU Treaty of Lisbon in respect of length and just as incomprehensible!

Paragraph xiii of the Foreward states ".........We believe historians will bracket this Government’s reforms with the constitutional transformations of the 17th and 19th centuries as times of profound and invigorating change, when power was redistributed. These last ten years have been years of progress." Mr. Straw, rest in no doubt that historians will bracket your Government's reforms as the most draconian, the most repressive ever. You have managed quite successfully to break the link between the governed and the governors! One final correction to this paragraph and that is to the last word, which should be 'regression'!

In conclusion the only advice that any sane person might give to Mr. Straw would be to file this Green Paper in the wastepaper bin - preferably a brown one!