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*Scrapping Human Rights Act facepalm*

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Patrick Stewart appears in comedy pro-ECHR video, but not all lawyers are impressed

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Actor and star of internet memes Patrick Stewart has appeared in a humorous video in which he mocks the idea of scrapping the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Playing a fictional Brexit-advocating Prime Minister, the former Star Trek and X-Men actor deliberately presents himself as a ranting right-wing figure who longs for the good old days of Magna Carta and a future Bill of Rights that can be “hoisted on the Europeans”.

After his aides point out to him that the ECHR was in part drafted by the British, and is basically the same thing as his proposed Bill of Rights, Stewart — whose baldness gives him a passing resemblance to former justice secretary Chris Grayling — loses his temper and shouts, “Oh fuck off!”

The video (embedded above) appeared yesterday on The Guardian‘s YouTube channel and is expected to circulate widely in advance of the Brexit referendum on June 23.

However, not everyone is a fan. This morning leading human rights barrister Dinah Rose QC tweeted that the video was “a bit awful”, continuing:

I cringed when it was claimed that right to a fair trial is from ECHR.

Other top barristers, including Pump Court’s Matthew Scott, agreed that the video was “cringey”.

16 Comments

Not Amused

Leading celebrity turns out to be poorly informed narcissist jumping on popular bandwagon *non shocker*

(22)(7)

#LWOP for paedos

Drafted by British lawyers, continually misinterpreted by European “Judges”, many of whom are legal academics who have never sat on the bench in their home countries.

It’s not the Convention that’s the problem, it’s the Court which is out of touch with reality and invents rights where none exist through creative and outlandish interpretation of the Comvention.

(21)(6)

The Bar Necessities

That is a slightly unfortunate criticism as our chap, Paul Mahoney, would not even be entitled to sit as a Deputy DJ in England. We can hardly claim that a man who spent a number of years as the UK judge of the EU Civil Service Tribunal is one of our finest jurists.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

…he’s still a ‘top’ jurist though, in LC’s eyes.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Patronising tone of – check.
Wildly inaccurate content to distort reality – check.
Famous personality in the arts who is not educated on the matter – check.
Anti-Tory sentiments – check.

Perfect Guardian video.

(19)(5)

Obscurus169

It irked me somewhat that the document was inconsistently referred to as the “European Convention OF Human Rights” and the “European Convention ON Human Rights,” sometimes by the same actors. If you make a mistake, stick by it.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

The support of luvvies is a sure-fire way to get the thing scrapped.

(5)(1)

The Bar Necessities

It’s a pity they did not focus more on the actual concrete examples of how the ECHR has done things for us. The end result was a bit cringeworthy.

Northern Ireland and the oblique reference to the rights of women litigation were decent examples. It was a shame that instead of making bland statements about the rights contained in the ECHR they did not give actual examples where the ECtHR decided cases against the UK in hindsight seem uncontroversial: perhaps ending discrimination on grounds of homosexuality in the army instead of a general reference to discrimination (Smith & Grady); the Five Techniques litigation (Ireland v UK) instead of a general reference to torture, the McLibel case (Steele) instead of a general reference to the right to a fair trial, the DNA database case (S & Marper) instead of a bland reference to the right to privacy.

And I looked those cases up on wikipedia, so I do wonder why the Grauniad scriptwriters couldn’t do that themselves.

(4)(0)

Not Amused

Lefties don’t need to do any research or think about anything, because they have emotions!

(8)(3)

Anonymous

And famous actors!

(2)(0)

The Bar Necessities

That is certainly a fair criticism of the people who made that sketch. It isn’t a fair criticism of those who would oppose the UK withdrawing from the ECHR.

The fundamental point—what the ECHR and the Court has done for us—is a valid one. The cases listed above are simply a few examples gleaned over five minutes where the Convention has done something for us that our own courts and governments could not do. Many of those who could abandon it are either too fixated on the sovereignty argument or do not like the principle of an institution that is capable of entertaining a merits-based challenge to executive policy.

(1)(1)

Not Amused

Well someone wise once pointed out that Paul Mahoney was a moron. I don’t need a bunch of civil law educated morons and putin stooges having sway over my legal system.

I have my own home grown morons called Brenda, Dave and Jono and they can interfere in the work of democratically elected governments just as well for half the trouble.

I think we do also need to understand that a bunch of unelected centre left bureaucrats couldn’t have stopped Hitler. It’s an extreme point perhaps, but the reason the British people do not live under tyranny is because the British people refuse to – not because some nannying upper middle class lefties are ‘protecting them’. You need to trust the people more – I do.

(6)(0)

The People

Bring back hanging!

(0)(1)

shadowy figure

A fair trial was well established in the British constitution before accession to the ECHR but we can’t say that Article 6 hasn’t had some impact – Osman v UK anyone? (of course that was overruled, but there must be other examples)

(1)(0)

Have I missed something...?

Wait, what’s this got to do with Brexit?

(2)(0)

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