Yes, that’s New Statesman readers…
1 Crown Office Row barrister Adam Wagner, who also edits the UK Human Rights Blog, has been savaged in the comments section of the New Statesman website for a piece he wrote for the apparently progressive publication…
In the article, headlined ‘What would happen if the UK withdrew from the European Court of Human Rights?’, Wagner busts a number of Euro-myths, pointing out, amongst other things, that “withdrawal from the Strasbourg court is unlikely to make it easier to send foreign criminals back to their home states”.
Rather surprisingly, a host of angry comments ensued.
Paul J got the ball rolling:
“People like Adam Wagner have done more to undermine the popular legitimacy of the welfare state than every rightwing media baron put together. How can normal people be indifferent to wiping out criminal Legal Aid? Because people associate it with terrorists and failed asylum seekers.
“Rightly, perhaps. Likewise every time Abu Qatada pops up on the TV, and we hear how much benefit his dependents are getting, support for welfare drop a bit more. These lawyers are making the UK a more conservative, less progressive place.”
Wading in behind him, Lee Magee added:
“When were people like Adam Wagner locked up without trial for more than 24 hours? It is only since the introduction of the [Human Rights Act] HRA that human rights problems have emerged.”
Others more politely expressed their dislike of the Human Rights Act, before ‘Snorker’ launched a xenophobic rant urging the political class to be “crucified at every election until they bring in laws enabling rapid deportation.”
Finally, Paul J returned to label Wagner a “shystyer” [sic] as part of a wide-ranging attack on the legal profession.
“Something needs to be done to stop these insolent bloody human rights lawyers dictating to rest of us.
“The English radical tradition has spent 3 centuries agitating for a written constitution. Along comes the HRA, and it’s utterly discredited itself in less than a decade. The whole thing has become a racket for shystyers like Adam Wagner, and a mechanism for Judges to grab ever greater chunks political power.
“Judges, and barristers, are overwhelmingly public school educated, old, white, upper middle or upper class men with all the classic assumptions that go along with that profile. Any true lefty who thinks giving these people more power is going to make society a better place is utterly deluding themselves.”
Responding on Twitter, a shell-shocked Wagner wrote: “Little lawyer love in the comments to my reposted New Statesman post on ECHR withdrawal…”