The Convention on Modern Liberty was held on February 28 in London and other sites in England, Ireland and Scotland. It’s purpose was to discuss and bring attention to threats to individual liberty in Great Britain by what they call the “surveillance society.”  This refers to the increasing use of security cameras, DNA profiling, detention policies and the sharing of database information between government entities, which has greatly increased over recent years.  They mostly blame the British Parliament’s focus on terrorism for it.

Not so fast, says Melanie Phillips.  If you want to find the culprit, look in the mirror:  Taking liberties with British values

These are very real concerns. But despite them, the campaigners’ argument is skewed. They claim that fear of terrorism has curtailed freedom.

But this ignores the role played by the civil liberties lobby in bringing about this state of affairs in the first place. For many of those now howling about the erosion of our ancient principles are the very same people who were behind the introduction of human rights law.

It may be thought a curious irony that the Human Rights Act was introduced in 1998 to tackle precisely the concerns expressed last weekend of a slide into tyranny — and yet liberty has been seriously eroded in the past decade.

In fact, this isn’t curious at all. Although the campaigners would sooner cut off their hands than admit it, the one has followed directly from the other. The idea that human rights law expands freedom was always a serious mistake. It has the opposite effect.

Ms. Phillips traces this erosion to Britain’s adopting the principles underlying universal human rights, and the obliteration of Britains’s own historic principles, thanks in large part to Britain’s membership in the European Union.  It has led to courts deciding who has what rights and the weakening of national government:

And it’s even more hard to take when such campaigners claim they are passionate about defending the English common law. This is, indeed, the bastion of our liberties by holding that people are free to act unless the law expressly prohibits them from doing so.

But the human rights law these campaigners foisted upon us has taken a judicial axe to that principle by making judges the arbiters of our freedoms.

In doing so, they deliberately transferred power from Parliament to the courts. And the inevitable consequence of that has been that MPs lost power to the judges. This weakening of Parliament has enabled the Labour Government to use Parliamentary procedure to short-circuit debate and force through legislation without proper scrutiny.

A more robust Parliament would have prevented the Government passing those laws which threaten our fundamental freedoms. But over the past few years, Westminster has had the stuffing knocked out of it by a series of measures, including human rights law, whose purpose was to destroy this country’s constitutional settlement and powers of democratic self-government.

There’s much more at the link.

Good intentions are no match for the law of unintended consequences, a lesson America is going to learn to its own cost, if our country keeps moving toward European socialism.

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