By Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector (i.e. president) of the University of Dundee. Craigmurray.org.uk.
Albania Andorra Armenia Austria Azerbaijan Belgium Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Georgia Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macedonia Malta Moldova Monaco Montenegro Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Russia San Marino Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom
Do you know what those countries have in common? It is the membership of the Council of Europe, and also the signatories of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is a Council of Europe instrument.
The Convention – which was initiated and championed by the British government – seeks to guarantee human rights to all Europeans, and is of course based on the notion that national governments cannot always be trusted not to maltreat its own citizens and thus peer review and oversight by a supranational court are desirable.
Note that Russia and Turkey are members and are prepared to be held to these standards. The only eligible countries which are not members are the Vatican and the dictatorship of Belarus.
Basic human rights are under greater attack in the UK than in any other member state. We have more communications surveillance, more video surveillance, more organised government informers under “Prevent” and more secret police per head of population than either Russia or Turkey.
It is therefore not surprising that it is in the UK that the responsible Minister – Theresa May – is today calling for the UK to leave the European Convention of Human Rights. It is indeed complete affirmation of the truth of what I have been saying about the police state the UK has become.
Tories are now prepared openly to argue that we should refuse to accept basic human rights protections which Russia and Turkey accept. To resile from the Convention would result in our being booted out of the Council of Europe and put in the same category as Belarus.
The Council of Europe remains an extremely valuable body for controlling East-West tensions – now as important a role as ever – and keeping a dialogue going, on a footing of equality, on questions of security and rights all across Europe.
The Tory party’s innate racism has been shown up recently in its attitudes to child refugees, and Cameron and Johnson comments on Sadiq Khan and Barack Obama. Theresa May is flaunting its fascistic streak.
There is a parliamentary election on in Scotland at the moment. Tories should not just be spurned and treated with disdain. They should be reviled and derided in public with open expressions of disgust, all of them, voters as well as activists.
UPDATE I should clarify that the Council of Europe is not the same as the European Union, it is a much wider body with the above membership.