http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2010/ ... ing-labourBonfire of the Liberties: New Labour, Human Rights and the Rule of Law
By K D Ewing
Reviewed by Geoffrey Robertson - 26 March 2010
Ewing's problem is that he measures court decisions on human rights against an unrealistic template: he is most outraged, for instance, by a decision that resulted in a vicious serial rapist of old women being brought to justice by use of a DNA sample the police should have destroyed after an earlier acquittal. But potential rape victims have human rights, too. "Here, under the supervision of the Home Office," he rages, "we have a surveillance regime that would cause Erich Honecker to glow with pride." Similarly, Stephen Sedley, one of our more liberty-minded judges, is excoriated for proposing that everyone should be entered on the DNA database, a proposal which shows no more than that the question of privacy is rather more complicated than Ewing thinks.
His solution is to sideline the courts and rely on what he describes as "the enduring strength of parliamentary sovereignty". Coming at the end of a book that details how our sovereign parliament and its members have thrown liberty to the wind in anti-terrorism legislation, his argument utterly fails to convince. Too often have we seen these MPs, soundly whipped and thinking of partisan advancement, troop into the anti-liberty lobby.