So we find ourselves at the top of a slippery slope, with Jack Straw breathing down our necks and pushing us firmly in the small of the back. Today the government publishes its discussion paper on a proposed new bill of rights and responsibilities. And if any of you were not convinced by my arguments the other day about the danger posed to society by the government and its human rights agenda, take a look at this extract.
The Government wishes to explore whether a future Bill of Rights and Responsibilities ought to have more prominence to principles such as that underpinning Article 17 [of the ECHR, which prevents people using their convention rights to quash the rights of others]; and to the principles of fair balance and the doctrine of proportionality, both of which are inherent threads running throughout the Convention. Such expression would make these principles more transparent to all citizens, and, if enshrined in legislation, could help guide the courts when they come to balance individual rights against limitations necessary in the wider interests of the community.
Note how he neatly elides from a convention article protecting the rights of the individual from the illegitimate actions of other individuals, to a demand that the rights of the individual be subsumed beneath "the wider interests of the community". The idea that the societal interests should take precedence of individuals is of course a fundamental tenet of socialism, and one that has lead to such delights of history as the Killing Fields, the Cultural Revolution and Stalin's famines.
In my book, the wider interests of the community can frankly go and take a running jump.
Straw's intentions are patently transparent. He intends incorporate socialism into the constitution. He intends to end individual freedom. His bill of rights is the communist manifesto dressed up to look like Magna Carta.