Sunday, 10 August 2008

This isn't a Bill of Rights, it's a Socialist Manifesto

I am coming very late to this, but according to the BBC, the government should adopt a Bill of Rights for the UK, a cross-party committee of MPs and peers has urged.

That all sounds fine - a Bill of Rights or a British Constitution might have prevented the government from forcing through the Lisbon Treaty without a referendum, for example.

However, as always, the details demonstrate that this is less of a Bill of Rights than a Socialist Manifesto.

The first problem becomes apparent very quickly; "the bill should give greater protection to groups such as children, the elderly and those with learning difficulties". A proper Bill of Rights should give inalienable rights to all citizens, not act as a special interests charter. As soon as minority groups are discriminated in favour of, there will be cries for 'protection' for religious groups, ethnic groups and even ginger people. That's why it should be equal for every citizen.

The second major problem is that the report claims that "the bill should include rights to housing, education and a healthy environment". If that doesn't send a chill down your spine then nothing will. A 'right' to housing? So no need to have to earn it, or look after it if the council houses you, because you have a consitutional right to it. And what happens when there simply isn't enough housing? Given that we are in the EU, presumably every EU citizen moving here would automatically have the same 'right' to housing. Will they start forcing home owners with a spare room to provide acoomodation to homesless people?

Add on to the 'right' to housing a 'right' to a healthy environment and we have given the sponging chavs a license to sue the council if they aren't happy with their free housing.

There are so many potential pitfalls it is frightening. What we need is a constitution that limits the powers of the government, not a document that enshrines political ideals and rights that will simply create more problems than they solve.