I suspect I am not alone in applauding Teresa May’s efforts to deport undesirable illegal immigrants, as she has been attempting to do for several months. A few undesirables stick out like a sore thumb, or in one egregious case, a sore hook.
Her proposal is to ‘clarify’ the provisions of the Human Rights Act for the benefit of the judiciary, and to ‘instruct’ them on thorny issues such as the right to a family life. This has been pleaded successfully by at least two undesirables, one who had fathered a child whilst awaiting deportation, and the other who had formed a close attachment to a cat.
The problem faced by the Home Secretary is that the judiciary cannot ignore the European Convention on Human Rights, enshrined as it is, and has been since 1998, in our domestic legislation, and likely to remain so until the next General Election in 2015. High on David Cameron’s wish list in 2015 will be a mandate from vox populi to lead a Conservative administration unshackled by the Liberal Democrats, and wait for the walls of Jericho to come tumbling down.
Far too often in the recent past, we have seen decisions of our domestic courts overturned by the European Court of Justice, and this is going to happen, time and again, unless and until we repeal the Human Rights Act. Whether or not we replace it with our own Bill of Rights is academic, and a distraction from the main event.
In the meantime, whilst Mrs. May’s ‘instructions’ to the judiciary play well to Middle England, they are nothing more than empty political posturing. Of greater concern is that they have the potential of undermining the rule of law and casting the judiciary in the role of pantomime villains.
It is tempting to adopt the approach favoured by the French and Italians. If the face doesn’t fit, put the undesirable on the first plane back home and let the Devil take the hindmost. It plays well with the crowd, but it does them no good in the eyes of fair minded people. It’s wrong and unjust.
Repeal, reform and clarify by all means, but don’t play political football with the rule of law. That could lead to a penalty shoot out, and on present form, we’ll go down like a lead balloon.