Tory leader Michael Howard was yesterday bending over backwards to give every support to the Labour Prime Minister Blair and his war against democratic rights in Britain.
He was telling judges that if they did not accept Blair’s proposals for fighting terrorism, and moved to hold them up, they were putting ‘our security at risk’, and harming the country, implying that they might even be traitors to their country.
The government is proposing to bring in a regime of ‘pre-trials’, that is secret state trials that will decide without a jury being present, whether a suspect is guilty or not, and whether he should be sent to stand trial. A pre-trial will allow the police to hold a suspect for much longer than the 14 days that they are currently allowed to hold them, before they have to be released or charged.
The judges and the advocates will have to be security vetted because much, if not all, of the ‘evidence’ against the suspect may be ‘top secret’, and undisclosable to the public. The suspect will then be sent to trial, with the jury to be told that they must convict on the word of the judge and the security vetted advocates, that the secret evidence was indeed damning.
The judges will have to be security vetted because a large number of them are opposed to such an illegal process.
Howard supports Blair’s call for the Human Rights Act to be amended, and if it proves unamendable, that it should be repealed.
He states that the Act gives the judiciary a measuring rod to apply to all parliamentary legislation as to whether ‘an Act of Parliament is proportionate to the objective it is intended to achieve’.
He quotes Lord Reid, a Law Lord from 1948 to 1974, approvingly: ‘It is often said that it would be unconstitutional for. . . Parliament to do certain things, meaning that the moral, political and other reasons against doing them are so strong that most people would regard it as highly improper. . . But that does not mean that it is beyond the power to parliament to do such things. If parliament chose to do any of them, the courts would not hold the Act of parliament invalid.’
This judgement means that the majority of the German parliament in the period after 1933 had every right to vote to close the parliament down and bring in the direct rule of the fascist dictator Hitler, and that all challenges to this action were wrong and illegal.
That this is a class position is clear.
Howard would not be arguing that the judges must not interfere if a parliamentary majority voted to abolish the monarchy, the judiciary, and the rest of the state apparatus and expropriate the bourgeoisie. He would be among the first to demand that the judges dissolve such a parliament and convene a series of treason trials with capital punishments.
Howard complains that ‘Thanks to the Human Rights Act, the judges have been given the right to second guess parliament.’ Howard wants this ‘right’ abolished along with the repeal of the Act.
But he ignores that it is the ‘supreme’ parliament that has given the judges this right by passing the Human Rights Act. His solution is to demand that the judiciary mutiny against the Act, and play its part in the fight against terrorism by exercising the powers of the Human Rights Act ‘with self restraint, recognising that parliament accountable as it is directly to the people, must be allowed to exercise the supreme responsibility of deciding what powers are to be conferred on the executive.’
His message to the judges is ignore the Human Rights Act and get on with the secret state trials or you are betraying your class.
As for us, we agree that parliament must be held to account by the people. In fact it must be overthrown by a workers revolution and be replaced by workers’ soviets and a supreme soviet.