August 08, 2011

UK Bill Of Rights: A Consultation

Thanks to commenter Aldo in the previous post we can have a shufty at the consultation document for a potential new UK Bill of Rights.

As we know, we are fairly unique in the world in that we do not have a single document containing our Constitution. Instead, it is dotted about in various statutes and treaties. Our rights can be found in the Magna Carta of 1215, 1229, 1297, the Declaration of Arbroath 1320, the Bill of Rights 1688, for Scotland we have the Claim of Right 1689, the Act of Settlement 1701, the Act of Union 1707, the Human Rights Act 1998 and several international and European Acts also provide some protection.

The aim of the consultation is to ask for our input. The closing date for submission is November 11th 2011.

Our rights and our liberties, hard won, and poorly defended, are very important to me, and to readers and commenters here. I know this because you are quick to remind me and point out the errors of our so-called leaders whenever this subject comes up.

How many of you knew that this subject had moved on from mutterings out here in the real world to the discussion rooms in Westminster? Until Aldo mentioned it I had no idea that we could send in our thoughts, proposals and suggestions.

I intend to do exactly that. With your help, I hasten to add.

Please set aside some time to read through the consultation document above, it is not very long and it is written simply, and then (if you wish) send me your thoughts and suggestions for this vital new Bill of Rights. What we suggest will affect generations of Brits so it is very important to get it right.


5. The four questions on which we seek your views are:

(1) do you think we need a UK Bill of Rights?

If so,

(2) what do you think a UK Bill of Rights should contain?

(3) how do you think it should apply to the UK as a whole, including its four component countries of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales?

(4) having regard to our terms of reference, are there any other views which you would like to put forward at this stage?

If you do not want to add your thoughts in the comments, please do send them to me here:

captainranty AT btinternet DOT com

Unless any other writer steps up with an offer to collate the suggestions I will do so and submit our response to this consultation.

Unusually, I don't want to be too dramatic about this, but it REALLY is important. God knows when we will be asked again to contribute.




James Higham said...

My concern is that it will parrot the ECHR and that's nothing to do with rights. It really needs to be looked at carefully who's in charge of compiling this.

Victoria said...

No. We don't need it. As it is, the situation with "rights" is opening us up to a lot of things we're not entirely comfortable with thanks to the European version, and I fear we could end up in a mess if we try and collate rights into one place. Besides the fact that our British rights are ignored in favour of the European and global ones.

I don't think the current system could be improved by creating it, only complicating it, thanks to the PC brigade that we know would take it on like a pet project. We also know that the government of the day would shape it into something horrendous. The idea of Labour input into it makes me feel ill.

It's not broken, so there's no reason to touch it.

Captain Ranty said...


I agree with both points. I am willing to move out of the way if someone with more experience is willing to step up.


Angry Exile said...

Like James I worry that it'll be full of rights and all too short on freedoms. I'm all for the idea of a Bill of Rights but it's going to be positive rights bollocks and, if we're really lucky, some negative rights. And if we're phenomenally lucky, that aren't so poorly worded that they can easily be legislated around as soon as someone decides we don't shouldn't have those freedoms after all.

Perhaps the terminology is wrong. Perhaps it needs to be called the Bill of Liberties or Bill of Restriction of Government. As for what goes in it, if you have the Non Aggression Principle as Article Zero you really don't need anything else.

Captain Ranty said...


Reasonably intelligent people know that our rights exist, but are scattered. There is always debate about what is valid and what isn't.

If we were to concentrate everything in one clear, unambiguous document, where's the harm?

Genuine question.

I don't want it peppered with PC bullshit either. That is why it is important to assist with the framework.

Point being, if we just ignore it and switch on X Factor, we will get fucked. Again.


Captain Ranty said...


I will just repeat the point I made to RS.

If we do fuck all we will deserve whatever bollocks they put together.

Either we help to shape it or we stop whining.


Victoria said...

I agree with what you're saying - IF we're to have it for sure, then so be it and I'll give as much input as I can because it's the right thing to do.

But your first question was, do we support it? I don't. I don't see what's wrong with what we have - it works just fine, and it's free of political interference for the most part. My faith is in the Magna Carta etc, not this bunch of fools we have right now, and my gripes with what we have will not be rectified by "consolidating" it (read: editing it).

Also, how much do you want to bet they include international "rights" within it? I don't want that either.

Captain Ranty said...


A valid answer to Q1 is "NO".

Then we can suggest what we want if we must have a new constitution. It allows us to make both points.

The document is clearly labelled as a UK Bill of Rights so I would hope that there would be no mention of Europe or any international stuff.

If we don't drive this thing, they will edit our rights away anyway.

At least let's say something.


Victoria said...


Whilst I agree that they wouldn't mention it, they would borrow from it. I don't doubt that.

Okay, I don't agree with you, because I think in advising them on what I'd be willing to accept GIVEN that they will do it, they'll do it and call it a compromise.

But, if you want something constructive rather than obstructive like I'm being at the moment, I wouldn't start a revolution if they just took what we had from each of the sources right now and compiled it. Unedited. No change of language, nothing. Everything, from everything that we're legally bound by in one place. No additions. I wouldn't be happy, but I wouldn't take to the streets over it.

Live an 'Achievable Life' said...

The main worry here is the referendum on 'CAN we change the bill of rights?'

As it stands NOW it states the bill of rights is in-perpetuity, it is NOT allowed to be changed by any other means than by majority.

Other than that I do not believe there is anything wrong with what we have. AND they ignore that so whats to stop them ignoring the new one. It will NEVER be in our favour so I say stick with what we have it aint broken.

Namaste, phil;

Dioclese said...

This bloke seems to have an idea or two...

westcoast2 said...

I am a bit confused!

The Coalition’s Programme for Government said: “We will establish a Commission to investigate the creation of a British Bill of Rights that incorporates and builds on all our obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, ensures that these rights continue to be enshrined in British law, and protects and extends British liberties. We will seek to promote a better understanding of the true scope of these rights and obligations.”

The basis of the UK Contitution is as CR has layed out. The terms of reference (italics above) have already shifted away from that basis.

Is there any reason the ECHR can not remain a convention obligation not within a Bill of RIghts?

If we are to have a new UK Bill of Rights then at least let it be based on the UK constitution.

Parliamentary sovereignty
9. The principle of Parliamentary sovereignty means that the power to legislate may be exercised only by Parliament. The principle of Parliamentary sovereignty also means that Parliament cannot limit the power of a future Parliament to amend or repeal legislation

Perhaps, if it is necessary to spell it out, no parliamnent should be able to pass laws that limit the sovereignty of parliament.

The people grant sovereignty to parliament and have the right to revoke it.

The problem I have is that this seems to be a move towards a European Bill Of Rights (UK) rather than a UK Bill of Rights.

more thought required.....

dave said...

The only thing I would put in a 'new bill of rights' is that it refers back to our inherited rights as having primacy to any new law or statute when applied to the UK.

As it is - we have a collection of incompetant idiots who are happy to have ignored and sold out our ancient rights at every turn. That the ancient acts and bills has perpetuality and supremacy and are inviolate should be the only requirement.

It should state that no one is bound by any law which has its origins outside of the direct agreement of the people of the UK.

That any government conspiring with or compounding any outside bodies influence over UK law should immediately resign and put itself up for re-election over each and every issue in which it conspires or compounds.

Any new tax should be subject to a referendum or subject to the abolition of a tax the value of which is equal or superior. the new tax subject to no increases which would raise more funds than the abolished tax.

That government borrowing should never be allowed to exceed 5% GDP !

Thats enough for now - may revisit !

However - I am absolutely certain that our current crop of politicians being any way involved in our constitutional matters is a bad thing for the people.

We want more freedom - not rights which they GRANT us ! Thus it should be based around limitations on government and not on rights for the free man !

Victoria said...

"That the ancient acts and bills has perpetuality and supremacy and are inviolate should be the only requirement.

It should state that no one is bound by any law which has its origins outside of the direct agreement of the people of the UK."

I'm with Dave here.

"However - I am absolutely certain that our current crop of politicians being any way involved in our constitutional matters is a bad thing for the people.

And I'm with Dave here.

Magna Carta Society Blog said...

IMHO, backed by a considerable amount of research, the only body that can lawfully establish a new bill of rights is a constitutional convention consisting of the complete ingredients of a lawful Parilament minus a sovereign.

We are overdue a convention after Chapter 61 of Magna Carta was invoked in 2001.

Angry Exile said...

If we do fuck all we will deserve whatever bollocks they put together.

Either we help to shape it or we stop whining.

Oh, not arguing, Cap'n. Absolutely we should input our, er, input. I'm just expressing my pessimism about how much libertarians will be heeded and what it's likely to end up like as a result. But yes, of course we must try.

Sean O'Hare said...


Our rights can be found in the Magna Carta of 1215, 1229, 1297, the Declaration of Arbroath 1320, the Bill of Rights 1688, for Scotland we have the Claim of Right 1689, the Act of Settlement 1701, the Act of Union 1707

If our rights, as enshrined in the above, were still respected then the answer to Q1 would definitely be "No". However, whenever I argue about the EU stomping all over our rights with their stupid directives, I am frequently met with resposts such as "Ah, but they were all repealed ages ago".

Now I think I understand the difference between common (i.e. case) law and statute and that parliament can only repeal statute law. On the other hand I feel uncomfortable arguing the finer points as I am not a lawyer. Especially when the usually fairly reliable Wikipedia tells us in the entry for Magna Carta:

Despite its recognised importance, by the second half of the 19th century nearly all of its clauses had been repealed in their original form. Three clauses remain part of the law of England and Wales...

Similarly the Bill of Rights as written is a statute law as I understand it so it too can be interfered with.

I am somewhat confused, to say the least. Until these are resolved in my mind the right to declare onself as as FotL or in Lawful Rebellion etc., seem rather dubious.

Whatever the legal position it seems certain that the proposed new Bill of Rights will have the effect of repealing existing rights as it is nodoubt motivated by eurocrats.

Captain Ranty said...


I would agree with your reasoning if the UK govt had ever refuted my claims.

So far I have sent affidavits to:

The Home Office



The Prime Minister

The Queen

All of whom have legal departments. I happen to know that most legal departments (4 out of the 5 listed) have seen my Affidavits or Notices.

Those that responded (3 out of 5) never once challenged my claims that I was either a Lawful Rebel or a Freeman.

They said "We are confused" or "We don't understand" but none of them said "This is mince. You CAN'T be a Lawful Rebel", or "You CAN'T be a Freeman".

I see that as significant, don't you?


Sean O'Hare said...

Ay Captain. Very significant. It is a pity that we can't force tptb to get a high court (Lord's or supreme court?) judgement on the issue so chickens like me can really let rip.

More power to you elbow as the say.

Anonymous said...

The problem I have with this is that we already have one which was written in 1689 and states "All which their Majesties are contented and pleased shall be declared, enacted and established by authority of this present Parliament, and shall stand, remain and be the law of this realm for ever".

We already have one, now magna carta: what the fuck we still doing in the EU?

Sneaky fuckers kept that one quiet!


Anonymous said...

Just to correct 1688.


Angry Exile said...

The problem I have with this is that we already have one...

It's not very good, though, is it? I don't want to go into a line by line analysis but there are holes in the 1689 BoR (1688 if you prefer the year it was written) that you could drive a bus through. Just as an example, because I've brought it up here at Ranty's before, look at the bit about being armed (my bold):

"That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law"

And why can't you have a gun for self defence despite what that says? Because the wording left the door open for the number of arms allowed by law to be gradually reduced to zero. It's not all bad but it's enough to make me feel that it's more than past its sell by date as far as protecting liberties goes. Better to repeal it and write something better, preferably short and simple enough for a junior school aged child to learn by heart. Something based on the Non Aggression Principle would do nicely, I reckon.

Raphe said...

We don't need one as we already have several documents that serve this purpose, but if parliament insist on going ahead then:

1. Habeas Corpus should be in there.

2. Absolute right to trial by jury, no exceptions.

3. No double jeopardy, no appeal by the prosecution.

4. Complete, unrestricted freedom of speech and expression.

5. Freedom to engage in peaceful protest, travel, access the internet, assemble, conduct lawful business without interference, peaceful enjoyment of your private property, freedom to use and dispose of private property as you see fit including your own body - all within the confines of common law

bollixed said...

I'll raise this topic for discussion at our local group meeting and provide feedback.

Anonymous said...

Whilst it is depressing to note that Common Purpose has wheedled its way onto this commission, I found this bit on p8 quite interesting (emphasis mine):

"Statutes and other documents such as Magna Carta in 1215 and the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, the later Bill of Rights and Scottish Claim of Right in 1689, and the Reform Acts of the 19th and early 20th centuries, hand in hand with developments of the common law reflect the traditions of liberty on which our current framework of rights and responsibilities is built."

Magna Carta in 1215, the original treaty. Not the statute of 1297 which was based on later versions.

Are we then to assume that in the opinion of the learned commissioners - all QCs - 1215 is "the one"?




bor1689 said...

We all know that the PTB will keep on fucking us over if we continue playing by their rules,

the only way we will ever have our rights recognised and returned would be if the people have a mass rally at Buckingham palace and petition The Crown directly (whoever it is at the time) demanding that Magna Carta and the BoR are recognized, brought into force and fully entrenched as law.

What would it take 100,000 sounds like a good number.

The people and the Monarchy together have supremacy over parliament,

The political liars know that.

The Monarchy knows that.

I think that this is the only way out of the current situation,
i also think that the Monarchy would be receptive to this as it would strengthens their position enormously,
in the past fifty years how many monarchies around Europe and the world hve been forced from their positions?.

The monarchy has been made largely irrelevant and is in a marginalised position where it could be forced completely out of any political or legal authority in the UK.

This is what the new "British Bill of Rights" would seem to do if the PTB can fool the public into accepting it, in a referendum it would seem that it would lawfuly overrule the existing BoR.

It is extremely likely considering the amount of political activity in the past ten years or so that there has been from the informed British people around the BoR and the unlawful denial of our rights as stated, that HM the Queen has already been approached by the politicians and asked to give her consent to repeal the BoR, it remains unrepealed so the position of the Crown has to be on the side of the people.


"The first freedom we have is the right to life and then the right to sustain and protect that life,

Some Basic Rights Bill of Rights and new written Constitution.
February 19, 2009 – 6:02 pm

An open letter from Anne Palmer

Dear Lord Onslow,

Re Proposed new Bill of Rights and possibly a new written Constitution.

I have already expressed my concerns about the proposals for a new written Constitution and a Bill of Rights yet I feel it important to write once more.

We already have a Constitution of our own plus a Declaration and Bill of Rights 1688/9 that has been referred to many times in the recent past. Magna Carta has been the envy of the world, so much so that others have copied it.

No new written constitution can be entrenched or dislodge Magna Carta and the Declaration and Bill of Rights 1688/1689. The Government’s own Research Paper (96/82 dated 18th July 1996-available direct from Parliament, page 36) makes that clear. What Parliament does however, Parliament can undo.

The Treaty of Magna Carta is between the people and the Crown and Parliament may not alter it. See also the people’s Declaration and Bill of Rights 1688/9. To get round this however, it appears that the Government may have realised that either Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II (The Crown) would have to repeal them, which she either obviously has not be asked to do, or has been asked and has refused, or perhaps the alternative is to ask the other ‘parties to the Treaty’, “the people” to repeal them by allowing a referendum on this matter."

Source material.

People need to know lets tell them ;).