David Cameron, was at his most nauseating, hypocritical best yesterday when he delivered a speech marking the 800-year anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta.
The ‘good name’ of human rights, Cameron announced, has become ‘distorted and devalued’ in Britain and it has fallen to his ‘generation’ to restore human rights to Britain.
His ‘generation’ of course is the generation of public schoolboys, trained in the ways of human rights in the dormitories of Eton and Harrow and honed in the drinking clubs of Oxford university.
Magna Carta, the ‘Great Charter of the Liberties’ was forced on the unpopular king John on June 15 1215 by a rebellious group of barons who threatened to overthrow him.
It enshrined the right of these barons not to be imprisoned by the king, the vast mass of peasants and serfs had absolutely no protection under law and were still the chattel of their feudal masters.
This is the privileged access to legal rights that the Tories want to restore to the ruling class today – the right of capitalism to exploit workers free from constraints of trade unions and free from any legal redress by workers.
Indeed, Cameron and the Tories are set to strip away centuries of rights won in struggle by the working class, most notably the right to strike.
He is not interested in the rights of young people thrown onto the streets through cuts to benefits and the bedroom tax, or the right to a living wage for the millions existing on part-time work and zero-hours contracts and forced to live off the charity of food banks.
Equally, Cameron and the capitalist system he serves are completely hostile to the rights of the millions of people who have seen their lives shattered through imperialist war.
On the day Cameron was spouting off about human rights, a report by the human rights group, Amnesty International, highlighted the fact that millions of refugees have been created with thousands of civilians dying as they try and flee the wars waged by the imperialist powers, including Britain, in the Middle East and Africa.
Nearly 4 million refugees have been created in Syria alone, according to the UN, as a result of the imperialist inspired and backed war to overthrow the government of Assad, to this can be added the millions fleeing the carnage imperialism wrought in Libya and Iraq with its illegal invasions.
According to Amnesty: ‘We are witnessing the worst refugee crisis of our era, with millions of women, men and children struggling to survive amidst brutal wars, networks of people traffickers and governments who pursue selfish political interests instead of showing basic human compassion’.
No human compassion from the Tories, who are determined to strip immigrants to Britain of all rights to benefits and have even trampled over the law in their desperation to deport as many as possible without any right of appeal.
Their total contempt for the life of refugees fleeing wars waged by Britain across the globe was highlighted over the weekend by the UN representative on immigration, Peter Sutherland.
Sutherland revealed that the UK takes far fewer refugees who have survived the appaling voyage across the Mediterranean than either Germany or Sweden.
He also warned that the British government was creating ‘xenophobia and racism’ in Britain through their depiction of these refugees as nothing more than a drain on society, a situation underlined by the Tories’ plans to fight a new European Commission quota that would double the number of refugees allowed into the country to around 60,000 a year.
This depiction of refugees fleeing wars waged by imperialism as little more than human garbage to be left to die on the seas or starve in camps, goes hand in hand with the drive by the ruling class to turn the clock back in Britain to a time when the only right the common people had was to be ruthlessly exploited for the profit of a few.
The time is long overdue to put an end to capitalism, the common enemy of workers from every country, through the socialist revolution.