Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2455

Hypocrisy of Tory plans to abolish the Human Rights Act

When David Cameron got back in, almost his first act was to bring Michael Gove in from the cold—as Minister of Justice no less.

Gove’s first aim is to end the Human Rights Act within 100 days. 

The Tories’ hypocrisy knows no bounds. 

It is just months since they celebrated the signing of Magna Carta—the Great Charter of 1215—at their sham Global Law Summit. The charter’s actual words, “to no one deny or delay right or justice”, were absent from the brochure. 

Presumably because the government had been doing just that with attacks on judicial review. 

Cameron preferred instead to promote “free enterprise” for the heads of multinationals, with tickets £1,750 a head.

The Tories have no shame. Following their elitist pretence to celebrate important rights established centuries ago, they have swiftly moved to extinguish modern day rights for all. 

The Human Rights Act can operate as a small buffer to some of the worst excesses of prejudice and unfairness, which is of course why the Tories want to scrap it. 

But Gove will have his work cut out. For one thing some of the matters affected by the act are devolved to the Scottish government, which he cannot easily remove. It would also threaten to unpick the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.

A concerted campaign could stop him. Such a campaign will be boosted by last week’s Criminal Bar Association vote. 

Here 96 percent of barristers voted to support taking action against former justice minister Chris Grayling’s wretched dual contracts for criminal legal aid firms. These intend to close 1,000 high street legal aid firms. Let’s hope we can do what the teachers did to Gove to save access to justice. 

As a start join the Great British Right Off protest for the Human Rights Act in Parliament Square this Saturday from 1pm to 4pm.

Matt FootNorth London 

Rescues by ordinary people give me hope

I was heartened to see footage of Indonesian fishermen rescuing hundreds of persecuted Rohingya people and Bangladeshi migrants.  

The migrants had been adrift for weeks without food, water or medicine in the Andaman Sea. 

The governments of Thailand and Indonesia have led a campaign against them.

The Thai government stands accused of responsibility for the horrific mass grave of migrants found this week.  

The actions of the local fishermen show the immense capacity of ordinary people to care for and look after each other. 

They also prove that selfishness and greed cannot be explained by “human nature”. They are systematically generated by the ruling class. 

Emma DavisNorth London

Labour does not offer a Scottish alternative

Chris Heggie is right to say the left should unite to fight Tory attacks (Letters, 23 May). But he is wrong to think that the Labour Party will play any part.

Labour-controlled Glasgow City Council has implemented cuts to mental health care, and is currently out to defeat homeless caseworkers striking for equal pay. 

Labour has always had socialists in it, but it has never been a socialist party.  

But I agree that the Scottish National Party (SNP) is not an alternative to austerity. It has also been implementing cuts. 

We need a left that can pose a challenge to both the SNP and Labour.

But the left should call on the SNP to put its words into reality. If it genuinely wants to “end austerity” then it should not implement Tory cuts. 

Keith PenderMidlothian

Seven-day NHS is all lies

The Tory government’s latest smokescreen for cuts and privatisation in the NHS is to pretend the problem is workers not providing routine services seven days a week.  

This is rubbish.

A well-funded service would make sure all workers had fair overtime pay and time off. But the government has no respect for health workers’ personal or family life outside work, or the ill health that can come from unsocial hours. 

It is all part of the plan to asset strip our NHS and give it to the private sector for profit not care. Defend our health service and support our health workers saying no to this.

Anna LivingstoneEast London GP and Keep Our NHS Public

Justice call for Sheku

Sheku Bayoh, a 32 year old father of two from Fife, died of asphyxiation following an incident involving up to 15 officers.

Here’s hoping that there is a thorough investigation by the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner to ascertain how died. 

His lawyer has raised the possibility that being pepper sprayed may have contributed to his demise. His family plans to hire an independent pathologist to determine how he died. 

No officer has ever been charged with the death of anyone held in custody. Let’s have truth and justice for the Bayoh family and no cover up.

Robert GillanGlasgow

Storming the Tory shires

I stood as an independent for the District Council elections in the heart of East Devon’s Tory shires. 

Standing on a platform well to the left of Labour, I was stunned to get over 1,200 votes on 7 May—39 percent. That is 2.5 percent higher than the Tories got nationally! 

If it can happen here it can happen everywhere. 

Robert CrickSidmouth

Still under their control

You interviewed me when I was held in the Verne detention centre in Dorset waiting to be deported (Socialist Worker, 21 March).

I have been released on the condition that I live at a designated address. 

I asked if I could live with my ex and my son, but instead I was sent to Middlesbrough. I’ve never lived this far from London. It’s like they want me to fail.

I’m tagged to stay in from 8pm till 7am, with no TV and I have £35 in Tesco vouchers a week. 


Say people not ‘refugees’

I wish people would stop calling those rescued in the Mediterranean refugees—they are people, human beings.

Frank Payneon Facebook

Who are the  ‘extremists’? 

Socialist Worker’s attack on the attempt to replace the Human Rights Act (23 May) missed the slack, of “extremism”. Under such laws the left could be as much a target as Muslims. 

Tim NichollsWeymouth

Hunt down fox hunters

fox hunting is the fun pastime of the rich and privileged—Cameron’s sort. Banning it spoils their perverse fun.

I have a mad fantasy. I wish I could hunt them. 

When they collapse in exhaustion I’d set the hounds on them and see how they like it.

Mister Black, address withheld

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Article information

Tue 26 May 2015, 16:01 BST
Issue No. 2455
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