Monday, November 9, 2015

Yes, Amnesty International is campaigning for the retention of the Human Rights Act

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a poster campaign I noted on London Underground, Act for the Act, a seemingly independent (though not exactly so, as I pointed out) campaign to retain the Human Rights Act. I ended my posting with the words:
My own suspicion that it will not be long before the likes of Amnesty, an NGO as well as a quango, become donors and participants in the campaign. At the very least they will start using it for their own purposes. In fact, their campaign has started already though the Amnesty name is in small letters at the bottom of the page. We must all look for those small letter at the bottom of the page in various supposedly charitable but actually political campaigns whether they are to save the HRA or affirm the UK's membership of the European Union.
I have written about Amnesty International before, pointing out, as have many other people that the organization that was founded for the purpose of helping "prisoners of conscience" long ago lost its way. Calling Guantanamo "the nearest thing we have to a Gulag today" and describing an Iranian film about the stoning of a young woman merely sensational shows that it has become what many of us in the seventies and eighties suspected, a completely left-wing organization. Its campaign against capital punishment, regardless of whether it follows a free and fair trial, is irrelevant to its original purpose and its recent campaign for abortion in Ireland is outrageous, regardless of one's views on abortion (no, I am not going to discuss it so don't bother). It's not as if there was a shortage of prisoners of conscience across the world.

Readers of this blog will not be surprised to hear that Amnesty International, a soi-disant charity but, in fact, an NGO, has joined or, to be quite precise, started the fight for the retention of the Human Rights Act because, apparently, without it "universal freedoms turn into privileges for a chosen few". I assume Amnesty International and its "talented" research staff know nothing about the history of this country and have not bothered to read the various carefully argued articles on the subject such as this one by the eminent legal expert, Michael Pinto-Duschinsky. (Here is his own site.) Oh wait, the article was published in Standpoint, a right-wing monthly journal. Can't read that, if you work for Amnesty International.

Inevitably, the NGO in question conducted an opinion poll and found that there was "No appetite for scrapping Human Rights Act". Actually, what they found was that the overwhelming majority of those they asked did not think it should be top priority for the government, which is not quite the same thing. Also, we are not talking about an out-and-out scrapping, which implies an abolition of the fairly old concepts of freedom and human rights but a substitution by a separate Bill of Rights. It might work or it might not and that is something that needs discussing. But I do object to this dishonest political campaign by a taxpayer funded organization.,

On the other hand, I caught sight of a short article on the subject in today's morning freebie, the Metro, which told me that the ubiquitous Charlotte Church and the actress Juliet Stevenson are among celebrities who are opposing the "scrapping" of the HRA. That settles that, then, Michael Pinto-Duschinsky or Charlotte Church on the subject? You decide. Wait a minute. There is a name missing. Where is Benedict Cumberbtach? Don't tell me that he has not made a statement or given an interview yet. Panic over: just found this. Phew! And who better to speak up for the HRA than Vanessa Redgrave, life-long supporter of Trotskyites, left-wing tyrannies and terrorists?


  1. "the NGO in question conducted an opinion poll"

    Response rates in opinion polls have been falling rapidly for some years. They are now as low as 9 percent. In other words many of these polls are completely and utterly worthless.

    Here's a link on the subject that might be of interest -

    1. Completely agree but their "findings" have been trumpeted by some of the media so we need to pay attention to what they said. In any case, as I pointed out, saying that this ought not to be top priority for the government does not mean that people want the HRA to remain.

  2. The non-consumption of food is not a viable option for anyone. Please get priorities right to ensure we all have access to some sort of esculent materials.
    Bob Salmon