This story from the UK should help us appreciate our Bill of Rights

Discussion in 'Civil Rights & Privacy' started by Mike, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    When our Constitution was drafted, a number of participants felt that the Bill of Rights of unnecessary because those inalienable rights were already deeply rooted in British constitutional law and could never be removed. Although Britain did not have one simple, formal constitutional document as was drafted here, there were a series of landmark documents going back to the Magna Carta (1215), most notably the Petition of Right (1628), the Habeus Corpus Act (1679) , and the Bill of Rights (1689). In the 19th century unfortunately for Britains, these all gave way to the principle of parliamentary supremacy. The UK today is ruled at the whim of Parliament, with the EU Charter being the only theoretical restraint.

    Fortunately our Founders wrote it all down in the first nine amendments.

    This article shows just how far into the constitutional gutter the UK has since descended ...

    Daily Mail: Who said Jim Davidson couldn't get arrested? (Jan 3 2013)

    He spends part of his time in Dubai these days. Are the Nonce Squad also planning to fly to the Middle East to give that property a spin? Ransacking homes has become a hallmark of Operation Yewtree and the squad looking into phone-hacking and alleged bribery of public officials.

    Dozens of journalists have had their homes turned upside down, including their children’s bedrooms.
    Yet only a handful have been charged. The rest remain in limbo on police bail as the trawl for evidence grinds on. We have seen pictures of police officers emerging from the homes of Stuart Hall, DLT and Max Clifford carrying bin-liners full of material, like a Bad Santa.

    Stuart Hall, who is 82, was arrested at his Cheshire home in a full-scale dawn raid. What were they expecting him to do — leg it over the back wall or try to blast his way out with a sawn-off, screaming: ‘You’ll never take me alive, copper!’

    Just before Christmas, Greater Manchester Police smashed down the front door of Fred Talbot, former weatherman on This Morning with Richard and Judy, in connection with an allegation which dates back to the early Seventies. Talbot was on holiday in the Caribbean. Given that the police wanted to question him over a complaint about something which is alleged to have taken place when he was working as a teacher 40-odd years ago, couldn’t they just have waited until he got back and invited him in for an interview?

    I wonder if these mob-handed, high-profile arrests are intended to create an impression of guilt, like the notorious American ‘perp walk’ where suspects are paraded in front of the cameras. Even if no charges are eventually brought, even if they are tried and found innocent, some of these celebrities will find it difficult to shake off the stigma of their arrest. No doubt speculation about their ‘crimes’ is already running rampant on the internet.

    The sheer scale of these assorted investigations appears designed to suggest there’s no smoke without fire. There are now more coppers working on phone-hacking and related issues than investigating murder and armed robbery. There are more officers on the Savile inquiry than working on child protection. Given that no fewer than 30 cops have also been assigned to the alleged conspiracy to ‘fit up’ the former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell, we are entitled to wonder who’s minding the shop. Still, I’m sure it’s much more exciting nicking TV personalities and disc jockeys than it is investigating more mundane crimes.

    Curiously, the scale and methods of these operations seem not to concern the usual Left-wing ‘human rights activists’ who are always ready to howl about police misconduct, abuse of civil liberties and the presumption of innocence. Maybe Radio 1 DJs, Right-wing comedians and tabloid hacks don’t qualify for ‘human rights’.

    But I can’t be the only person who thinks there’s something sinister going on here. And because Met boss Bernard Hyphen-Howe has effectively criminalised all contact between the police and the Press, it is difficult to gauge exactly how serious some of these allegations really are.

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