Nov 112023

The frothing-at-the-mouth loons on the far-right are trying to get the country to rip up the ECHR and reject the ECHR. That’s two different things – the European Convention on Human Rights, and the European Court of Human Rights. Essentially the first is an agreement on what rights we should all have, and the second is how those rights are enforced.

We’ve all heard about (thanks to right-wing propaganda media) ridiculous stories about some inane judgements of the ECHR (although not a few are complete fiction), but before we listen too long to lying scum-bags with hidden agendas should we consider whether throwing out the baby with the bathwater is a good idea?

In the wake of World War II, the nations of Western Europe founded the Council of Europe to adopt measures that would stop that sort of war even occurring again (and to combat the rise of Communism). A time when Britain’s influence in Europe was at a zenith – the British lawyer David Maxwell Fyfe was probably the biggest single influence on the new convention of human rights. In normal circumstances it would be churlish to suggest it, but there is an argument to say it should be called the British Convention on Human Rights for Europe.

Ripping up the convention on human rights also requires us to leave the Council of Europe. Which would horrify the hero of the far-right – Winston Churchill who was the biggest single proponent of the post-war Council of Europe. And have a similar catastrophic effect on Britain as the disastrous Brexit that we have undergone.

But let us look at what the ECHR actually does – it can force governments to admit they’ve gone too far and make them step back. Now the propagandists for abolishing the ECHR will quite rightly point out that this is not democratic.


But imagine a situation where a democratically elected government is of a flavour you despise – perhaps a far left government that intends to take away your company because you haven’t “shared” enough with the workers, or because you pay yourself more than 20 times the pay of the lowest paid worker.

Doesn’t sound fair does it?

And if the ECHR forced that government to stop its plans? Doesn’t sound quite so bad now does it?

It is all too easy to look at the “bad” the ECHR does – when it stops a government you like doing what it thinks is right. But that’s not how to examine something like the ECHR – you have to imagine the ECHR stopping a government you despise doing something awful.

And always remember – those talking about ripping up the ECHR are all spitting on Winston Churchill’s grave. Do you still want to join them?