Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Tory plans to abolish human rights legislation provide Scotland with an opportunity to resist


As part of their plan to mobilise the aspirational scrote vote in shitholes like Nuneaton the Tories pledged to repeal the 1998 Human Rights Act and significantly amend the United Kingdom's commitment to the European Court of Human Rights. This is something that the country has been signed up to since 1950, but your average Nuneaton Man thinks that it's all to do with wicked Brussels, but never mind that for now.

The thing is that although the 1998 act is not, as many people think, enshrined in the Scotland Act 1998 which set up Holyrood, compliance with the ECHR is a part of the act. So the only way that the Tories can alter Scotland's involvement with the ECRC is if they first amend the Scotland Act.

Stick around because it now gets even better. The Human Rights Act is what is known as a protected enactment which means that Holyrood cannot amend or repeal it, but Westminster can. However, human rights per se are a devolved matter, so if the Tories repeal the HRA they will run up against a Holyrood majority sporting for a fight and claiming that they will not enforce the new replacement for the HRA and will continue to act as if the old legislation was still in force. 

In a nutshell, it looks as if Scotland is on solid constitutional grounds if she ignores any changes to the ECHR that Westminster makes, and has a good case for arguing that the repeal of the HRA does not apply in Scotland.

Will Hollyrood get away with that? We don't know, but what we can say with total certainty is that there is enough confusion here to keep an army of lawyers busy for a hundred years or more.

The Tories have a choice: engage in an unholy row with Scotland or renege on the promise that they made to their scrote vote.

I have a feeling that the next few years are going to be fun!

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