I suspect the government are getting heartily fed up with the High Court, and all these judges muscling in on their territory. First we had Lord Justice Moses, he of wicker basket and Red Sea fame, lambasting HMG over their failure to act in the alleged corruption scandal surrounding BAe systems and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and barely had we had time to digest the enormity of their criticisms when up pops another adverse judgment, this time at the hands of Mr. Justice Collins. He ruled that it was in breach of their human rights for service personnel to be sent into a theatre of conflict without being properly equipped. Quite who decides what is proper or not is debatable, but from the inference to be drawn, presumably the High Court. Is there no end to their talents?
Sandwiched between these judgments was another one, this time preventing the extradition of Abu Hamza to the United States, on the spurious assumption that the various American law enforcement agencies might give him a good spanking as soon as they lay hands on the poisonous cleric.
The extent to which the judiciary should act as a bulwark against the abuse, real or imagined, of executive power, has been a lively topic of debate since time began. Seen in black and white, citizens in a civilised democracy, where the division of the two estates still exists, are entitled to know that their elected representatives will act in their best interests and not abuse the power given to them at the ballot box. If their government is transparent, they can see and decide for themselves. If they don’t like what they see, they elect a new government. However, governments by their very nature rarely act in black and white, it’s always shades of grey. We all know that aspiring politicians, as soon as they’re elected, have the words “yes” and “no” surgically removed from their vocabulary, but it doesn’t make them corrupt or abusive, only boring.
Which brings me back to the recent spate of High Court judgments. Speaking as a citizen and not as a human rights lawyer, I’m delighted that we’re in bed with the Saudis as a partner in the intelligence war against al-Queda and their camp followers. I’m delighted that the Secret Services plant illegal listening devices to eavesdrop on the likes of Abu Hamza and others of his nihilistic persuasion, and if the price to pay is turning a blind eye, then it’s a price well worth paying!
As to the human rights of serving personnel, it won’t be long before some High Court judge rules that it’s a breach of their human rights to be shot at by the enemy! Leave the government to govern as best they can without having to look over their shoulder all the time for fear of some High Court judge jumping on their back! The division of the two estates is becoming increasingly blurred, and unless addressed as a matter of urgency, it will be the High Court and the judicial process that will lose credibility and respect.