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Should the UK have a new Bill of Rights? watch

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    (Original post by Amy***)
    I mean that, as a socialist, the potential of a 'neo-liberal' Bill of Rights may not reflect the values of the left, instead chosing to embrace the ideals of the liberal economics which entrench inequality
    Yes, this could be an issue (although perhaps not quite so conspiratorialy put :p:). I suppose my perception of a Bill of Rights is one that mirrors the ECHR
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    (Original post by Solid_Snake_100)
    Also furthermore, a bill of rights would codify the rights and morals of one particular age, which may not be compatible with future generations. This is CLEARLY seen in the USA over the 2nd amendment, which the government can't even ban HEAVY ASSAULT WEAPONS because of a law made in 1790, a bit dumb no??? I doubt the people drafting the legislation had intended this (in fact i know that), and the same would happen now.
    Well, the "people" who drafted the legislation intended quite clearly that a citizen should have a right to bear arms. Why suddenly stop at heavy assault weaponry? A bullet is still a bullet no matter how big or how fast a rifle fires. Debate the (de)merits and morals of the right to bear arms all you like but don't assume you know what America's founding fathers would do in a modern age. :p:

    Re: the original question. The whole point of Parliamentary Sovereignty is so that statues can be amended and that it doesn't require an absolute majority in the Senate, a 2/3 majority in the Representatives and 3/4 of states' approval for an amendment (or whatever it is, I can't remember exactly). As someone pointed out, the values of the current age might not be the values of peoples in the future: you only have to look at the post I quoted to see the problem America has with an entrenched right that looked good at the time but is now less than ideal. The UK system has a decent judiciary system that has defended our rights against the government by invoking the HRA, and even if parliament were to introduce a new (potentially biased?) Bill of Rights it would still, by European law, be undermined by the ECHR. Unless, of course, the UK leaves the EU, in which case all sorts of conundrums appear.
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    (Original post by Crimson Black)
    Well, the "people" who drafted the legislation intended quite clearly that a citizen should have a right to bear arms. Why suddenly stop at heavy assault weaponry? A bullet is still a bullet no matter how big or how fast a rifle fires. Debate the (de)merits and morals of the right to bear arms all you like but don't assume you know what America's founding fathers would do in a modern age. :p:

    Re: the original question. The whole point of Parliamentary Sovereignty is so that statues can be amended and that it doesn't require an absolute majority in the Senate, a 2/3 majority in the Representatives and 3/4 of states' approval for an amendment (or whatever it is, I can't remember exactly). As someone pointed out, the values of the current age might not be the values of peoples in the future: you only have to look at the post I quoted to see the problem America has with an entrenched right that looked good at the time but is now less than ideal. The UK system has a decent judiciary system that has defended our rights against the government by invoking the HRA, and even if parliament were to introduce a new (potentially biased?) Bill of Rights it would still, by European law, be undermined by the ECHR. Unless, of course, the UK leaves the EU, in which case all sorts of conundrums appear.
    A musket which can fire one shot every minute and kill one person is hardly the same as a Barrett Light 50 which can technically take out a tank.....that can in NO WAY be used for defence purposes, and a similar principle will apply to other rights which may need to be enhanced or made defunct in the future, but due to entrenchment, will cause great gridlock on unease.
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    (Original post by Solid_Snake_100)
    A musket which can fire one shot every minute and kill one person is hardly the same as a Barrett Light 50 which can technically take out a tank.....that can in NO WAY be used for defence purposes, and a similar principle will apply to other rights which may need to be enhanced or made defunct in the future, but due to entrenchment, will cause great gridlock on unease.
    So weapons back then were less dangerous? :rolleyes: "Ooops, nearly killed me, thank God for our enshrined right to bear arms. Let's hope our weapons don't become more efficient."

    Compared to the agony a gangrened wound caused by a musket bullet would give, using an insta-kill Barrett Light .50 is incredibly humane. Plus, what would all the sniper-geeks in Counter Strike and Call of Duty 4 use to satisfy their lust for virtual blood? :p: And when on earth would any normal American have to take out a tank on his own soil with a Barrett Light .50? Why's it called a Light anyway? Do you burn more calories using it?

    You're right, of course, about the moral dubiousness of being allowed to carry arms though.
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    Yes but not one drawn up by this government otherwise we won't have any rights at all.
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    (Original post by Crimson Black)
    So weapons back then were less dangerous? :rolleyes: "Ooops, nearly killed me, thank God for our enshrined right to bear arms. Let's hope our weapons don't become more efficient."

    Compared to the agony a gangrened wound caused by a musket bullet would give, using an insta-kill Barrett Light .50 is incredibly humane. Plus, what would all the sniper-geeks in Counter Strike and Call of Duty 4 use to satisfy their lust for virtual blood? :p: And when on earth would any normal American have to take out a tank on his own soil with a Barrett Light .50? Why's it called a Light anyway? Do you burn more calories using it?

    You're right, of course, about the moral dubiousness of being allowed to carry arms though.
    True, but I dont see how a rifle thats supposed to be used at 500 yards plus has any defence value:confused: Anyway, my main point is that entrenchment does not allow for neccessary future changes. The US is a prime example of this, there have only been 17 Amendments to its constitution in 220 years of existence, one of which cancels out another, and most of them were made before the senate became elected.
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    (Original post by Bagration)
    No. It would probably be full of positive freedoms. Unless it specifically does not include the welfare state, I would not agree to a bill of rights. Doubtless it would be full of things like "right to healthcare" and "right to eat" and such.
    Those seem pretty essental rights. Seems good to me-I'd support one but sadly it'd be as usless as HRA without a restructuring of the British state-as you can't really entrench it (well, you can but that'd be breaking convention and exceedingly hard to push through.) I'd like to see it brought in but I doubt it will be.
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    (Original post by Solid_Snake_100)
    True, but I dont see how a rifle thats supposed to be used at 500 yards plus has any defence value:confused: Anyway, my main point is that entrenchment does not allow for neccessary future changes. The US is a prime example of this, there have only been 17 Amendments to its constitution in 220 years of existence, one of which cancels out another, and most of them were made before the senate became elected.
    Twenty-seven amendments I believe. :confused:

    And entrenchment's just that, it stops media-happy politicians playing the political system to suit the political climate at the time. Instead of changing the 2nd Amendment, a greater emphasis on weapon education, plus a whole social change in mindset towards them, have to be made by Americans. That's not going to happen by Amending the constitution. Who knows, in two hundred years time the USA might be an incredibly peaceful place and everyone will wonder why there was such a furore about guns in the first place. A bit like how there was an incredible furore about American Independence 500 years earlier, but now there's no problem anymore.

    The US Constitution, on the whole, and despite the criticism that can be made against it, has weathered the ages remarkably. I'm not American, but I'm damn proud of that Constitution, which goes to show how good it is.
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    (Original post by Solid_Snake_100)
    Also furthermore, a bill of rights would codify the rights and morals of one particular age, which may not be compatible with future generations. This is CLEARLY seen in the USA over the 2nd amendment, which the government can't even ban HEAVY ASSAULT WEAPONS because of a law made in 1790, a bit dumb no??? I doubt the people drafting the legislation had intended this (in fact i know that), and the same would happen now.
    Thats my major worry-entrench it and you end up with being stuck like this, don't entrench it and its too weak to stop anyone from doing anything. Catch 22. TBH I would prefer to be stuck.
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    (Original post by Crimson Black)
    Twenty-seven amendments I believe. :confused:

    And entrenchment's just that, it stops media-happy politicians playing the political system to suit the political climate at the time. Instead of changing the 2nd Amendment, a greater emphasis on weapon education, plus a whole social change in mindset towards them, have to be made by Americans. That's not going to happen by Amending the constitution. Who knows, in two hundred years time the USA might be an incredibly peaceful place and everyone will wonder why there was such a furore about guns in the first place. A bit like how there was an incredible furore about American Independence 500 years earlier, but now there's no problem anymore.

    The US Constitution, on the whole, and despite the criticism that can be made against it, has weathered the ages remarkably. I'm not American, but I'm damn proud of that Constitution, which goes to show how good it is.
    Thats exactly what you do need something that can adapt to the times like here in Britain. Our constitution has worked very well. Ps. I suggest you take a look at the Patriot act on wikipedia, im sure it'll change your mind. In 200 years we will all be dead. Affirmative action is something that needs to be taken when it is needed, not something that weeds out the problem over decades or centuries...


    EDIT: Sorry, forgot to mention, the first 10 amendments were the ones that made up the constitution, they weren't actually amendments themselves, just called that. They make up the US Bill of Rights.
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    (Original post by WharfedaleTiger)
    Those seem pretty essental rights. Seems good to me-I'd support one but sadly it'd be as usless as HRA without a restructuring of the British state-as you can't really entrench it (well, you can but that'd be breaking convention and exceedingly hard to push through.) I'd like to see it brought in but I doubt it will be.
    It is wrong to entrench irremovably in our law that the state has the right to take something away from somebody to give to somebody else. Whether this is right for the state to do anyway is not at all the question, the fact is that it is wrong for it to be entrenched in law.
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    (Original post by Solid_Snake_100)
    Thats exactly what you do need something that can adapt to the times like here in Britain. Our constitution has worked very well. Ps. I suggest you take a look at the Patriot act on wikipedia, im sure it'll change your mind. In 200 years we will all be dead. Affirmative action is something that needs to be taken when it is needed, not something that weeds out the problem over decades or centuries...


    EDIT: Sorry, forgot to mention, the first 10 amendments were the ones that made up the constitution, they weren't actually amendments themselves, just called that. They make up the US Bill of Rights.
    Well yes, the actual whole Constitution wasn't ratified until 1791 with the Bill of Rights anyway (I'm not going by wikipedia, just my knowledge, so I dunno if that was the exact date), so it's not as though there wasn't a great debate over it anyway by the thirteen original states that joined up initially.

    I think you might have genuinely misread what I wrote. I wrote "it would stop media-happy politicians making decisions to suit the political climate", but I think you read that as "allowing media-happy politicians to...". Entrenched laws are difficult to amend or repeal, and create, that's the point of them; they weather storms like the current one in America.

    The British system is fine and good for our mentality. The American political mentality is entirely different, based around the positivist BoR and appreciation of their rights as opposed to a Briton's negative rights.
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    (Original post by Bagration)
    It is wrong to entrench irremovably in our law that the state has the right to take something away from somebody to give to somebody else. Whether this is right for the state to do anyway is not at all the question, the fact is that it is wrong for it to be entrenched in law.
    Indeed. Entrenchments should be a-political, although if you're called Oswy, there isn't anything that isn't.
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    (Original post by Prudy)
    A Bill of Rights wouldn't Parliamentary Sovereignty because it can't. It can attempt to, but whenever Parl Sov. comes into conflict with a Bill of Rights, our constitution dictates that Parliament will win out.
    So get rid of Parliamentary sovereignty then. Other democratic systems do fine without it. I'd think in a democratic system, there must be some inherent safeguard against governmental infringement on the people's rights. Parliamentary sovereignty is too dangerous. Too much of the British constitution is based on "tradition" and other BS ideas.
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    (Original post by kiddranc)
    So get rid of Parliamentary sovereignty then. Other democratic systems do fine without it. I'd think in a democratic system, there must be some inherent safeguard against governmental infringement on the people's rights. Parliamentary sovereignty is too dangerous. Too much of the British constitution is based on "tradition" and other BS ideas.
    That's physically impossible because as is also true, no parliament can bind its successor. A bill of rights is technically impossible anyway because it could only be made by an Act of Parliament, we have NO other machinery for making laws, so it could always be "unmade". Moreover getting rid of parliamentary sovreignty is stupid and impossible because it would never get the support of a major party / House of Lords. You say parliamentary sovreignty is too dangerous but can you list some of the so called oppressive laws made by parliament which havent been made by any other state which doesnt have this? Britain has a very good track record.
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    (Original post by Bagration)
    It is wrong to entrench irremovably in our law that the state has the right to take something away from somebody to give to somebody else. Whether this is right for the state to do anyway is not at all the question, the fact is that it is wrong for it to be entrenched in law.
    We're not talking about saying that the State MUST redistribute wealth are we-we're saying that everyone in the state has a right to healthcare, food and life. It dosn't say how that can be achived.

    Personally I see the state as having the right to redistribute wealth to ensure that everyone in the state has a minimum standard of living and to trying and eliminate absoloute poverty and to some extrent regular poverty, but thats a diffrent argument altogether.

    What we're arguing here is weither or not Britian should have a bill of rights-presumably entrenched (as otherwise we already have one) I would argue that we should. We live in a Liberal democracy, but one without any limits on what the state can do-with a simple act of Parliment almost anything can be legalised and taken away from us-elections can be stopped, we can be perminantly interred without trial and so forth. To me this is far too much power for one body-or the state as a whole-to be capable of weilding, I'd like a entrenched Bill of Rights to protect peoples basic freedoms and rights.

    The major problem with it is that it would be hard to change-and could harm the states ability to survive and defend itself (as people ague with HRH/American Bill of Rights) or to do whats right-its hard to make it move with the times, but if you limited it to basic rights much of these problems could be avoided.
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    The USA, Canada, India, Australia. All countries generally respect the legal rights of their citizens and function well without parliamentary sovereignty.

    Is the only argument then for parliamentary sovereignty is "we've always had it so it's good on that basis?"
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    The European Convention on Human Rights, the Human Rights Act 98 and our membership of the European Union do a pretty good job at protecting civil liberties.

    I honestly believe that the greatest threat to civil liberties come from the people - not government. Just look at the 42 day detention without trial debate. The only argument Brown had was 'public support'.
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    (Original post by kiddranc)
    So get rid of Parliamentary sovereignty then. Other democratic systems do fine without it. I'd think in a democratic system, there must be some inherent safeguard against governmental infringement on the people's rights. Parliamentary sovereignty is too dangerous. Too much of the British constitution is based on "tradition" and other BS ideas.
    The irony of a democratically elected parliament creating democratically unviolable rights in a system that doesn't allow entrenchment so that a different democratically mandated parliament cannot touch it is delicious. :yep:

    I hope you can see that politically that, due to parliamentary sovereignty, you can't abolish parliamentary sovereignty - and thus allow entrenchment of law - as the rule is that you cannot bind your successor. It's a damn good rule, allows wrongs of a previous government to be righted, and exactly what solid_snake has been arguing in favour of.

    The UK's safeguard against government infringement is the Judiciary anyway, who enforce EU decisions and directives (when not already codified), and especially enforce the HRA. In particular, judges are required to read law wherever possible as confirming to the ECHR. Your much-desired override of parliamentary sovereignty takes the form of our much-maligned EU.

    EDIT: Your "tradition" and other BS ideas are actually known as statutes and case law (including the precedent of equity when doubt arises). It's true that Britain doesn't have an expressedly codified Bill of Rights or even a constitution, but... if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    (Original post by 2026)
    The European Convention on Human Rights, the Human Rights Act 98 and our membership of the European Union do a pretty good job at protecting civil liberties.

    I honestly believe that the greatest threat to civil liberties come from the people - not government. Just look at the 42 day detention without trial debate. The only argument Brown had was 'public support'.
    I agree. I always wondered who exactly voiced that support... I had an inkling The Sun had something to do with it. Damn that Kelvin MacKenzie. Idiotic blind middle-class outrage taking the form of "lock 'em up good an' proper, bloody terrorists." Plus Brown admitted to pulling the fourty-two bit out of his arse.
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    (Original post by Prudy)
    A Bill of Rights wouldn't Parliamentary Sovereignty because it can't. It can attempt to, but whenever Parl Sov. comes into conflict with a Bill of Rights, our constitution dictates that Parliament will win out.
    Well, parliamentary sovereignty has - to some extent - been shown to be restricted. The Crown and the High Court in Scotland accepted in MacCormick v. Lord Advocate that certain provisions of the Acts of Union were entrenched and could not be amended by the British Parliament. Although I've never read it, apparently even Dicey acknowledged these problems with the concept of parliamentary sovereignty when writing on the Scottish contribution to the constitution.

    A Bill of Rights is no bad thing but how would it be any more benificial than the HRA?
    That's what I want to know. Parliament has responded well to any declarations of incompatibility made under the HRA - so why bother giving legal effect to what is already an effective political convention?
 
 
 
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