Freethinkeruk’s Weblog

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Archive for the tag “human rights”

The Naked Rambler & Our Sick Nation

Stephen Gough the ‘naked rambler’ arrested as he left prison, taken to Court and given another two and a half years, making close to ten years inside at huge public expense.

Ten Years! What has he done, committed murder, bank robbery, rape, Banking fraud (oh no you don’t get done for that) GBH? No, none of these, he just defends his right to walk across the country without clothes although with the amount of camping gear his carries on his back he’s almost dressed anyway. He is also making a statement that nudity is not offensive unless you have a very peculiar mind set in which case it’s your problem not his. Out of a global population of say, 8 billion it follows that around 4 billion have dangly bits between their legs so I’d call that normal, ordinary and completely unremarkable and about as offensive as beans on toast.

Being nude in the UK IS NOT ILLEGAL but under our often ridiculous laws it only requires one person to say they are offended and that includes one policeman feeling vindictive, then the person without clothes can be arrested for ‘conduct liable to bring about a breach of the peace’. Note ‘liable’ not ‘has’.

Were Stephen to be walking around with an erection then yes, that could be reasonably construed as offensive or threatening but he doesn’t, we are talking about a perfectly normal bloke walking for pleasure without clothes. It has been said that children could be upset but this is only because under generations of conditioning people have hidden away parts of their body so that they become mysterious, considered ‘dirty’ and taboo. Children brought up in a naturist home or one where the parents don’t bother to cover up after a shower or a bath are not at all upset or bothered by a naked body, they just accept it as normal which, of course, it is.

There is controversy about the Human Rights Act but if we can’t choose whether to wear clothes or not whilst walking from Lands End to John O’Groats as Stephen has then I suggest we have no rights at all.

MAIN-Stephen-Gough

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The Right to Die

The Commission on Assisted Dying says “the current law is “inadequate and incoherent” and should not continue.” How right they are, the right to a peaceful death at a time and place of our own choosing should be enshrined in the UN Charter of Human Rights. My life is by definition mine and your life by definition is yours, it does not belong to anyone else least of all to the State.

This particular report only goes as far as saying that someone diagnosed with a life expectancy of under 12 months should be able to call upon medical assistance to die peacefully and suggest, quite rightly, many safeguards. This is obviously a tentative step in the direction of legalising what already happens to a fortunate few who have the resources to go to Dignitas in Switzerland which presupposes that you have the financial and physical ability to get there. It also means that perhaps some people are actually going abroad to die earlier than they would wish simply because if they delay they may not be able to travel.

I can understand some doctors not willing to participate either from an ethical value or religious belief and that’s fine they can exclude themselves from helping but no politician or law should prevent me or anyone else ending MY life if I choose to do so in order to save myself a prolonged suffering that will eventually end in death anyway.

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/assisted-dying-review-selects-those-who-could-end-their-life-6285115.html

Police State Nearly in Place

It had to happen because if they can they will; thousands of cameras linked to computers are very soon to be logging our car registration plates as we drive to our destinations.

Along with records of our telephone calls and emails being kept, the highest number of CCTV cameras on the planet watching our every move, personal information on multiple electronic storage systems, ID cards on the way and a Government that is increasingly bypassing Parliament by using ‘Orders in Council’ and other non democratic powers derived from the Crown, our civil liberties are in grave peril. Add to this millions of DNA samples, of even innocent citizens, are kept, so far, even in defiance of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Article 8 – ‘the right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence’ – should provide protection in our private sphere, and can extend into our working lives and encompass matters relating to our identity, independence and autonomy. The Government has done little to inform the British public of this Convention which they signed in 1998 and when found to be inconvenient will find ways around it. The Tory’s want to get rid of it altogether.

The old argument that ‘if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about’ is regularly trotted out by those who seek to control but it’s just not true. Freedom that is granted conditionally is not freedom, freedom to keep your phone calls and email letters private, to go where you wish without it been recorded is a fundamental right and surely is simply natural justice. My DNA is a part of me, indeed in a sense, it is me and yes it should be used responsibly if I am suspected of a crime but no part of me should be kept, in case I commit an offence.

Worse still the conditions are almost complete when it is possible for a future malignant government to take total control, refusing to allow the democratic processes continuance and so leaving a return to true freedom all but impossible. Yes, this is a worse case scenario but it has happened in even recent history; Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Italy and Saddam Husein’s Iraq spring easily to mind. We must therefore consider it possible that it could happen here and make every effort that we can to reverse the intrusion of the State into our everyday lives before it is too late.

Water-boarding & More-

Former US Vice-President Dick Cheney has urged the CIA to release memos which, he says, show harsh interrogation techniques such as water-boarding work.

If these memos do indeed show that ‘harsh techniques’ which anyone else would call torture, work then it must surely follow in Dick Cheney’s mind that the US should go further. How about pulling out finger nails with pliers or maybe the rack would be a good idea?

It just goes to show how low the Bush administration had sunk, an administration that the UK government supported through thick and thin. President Obama is like a breath of fresh air so let’s hope that he has the strength never to be sucked in by those in America who still believe that ‘might is right’ and that human rights and decency are only for them.

Roll on Republic

While the economy crashes, bankruptcies rise faster than the morning sun, peoples homes are being repossessed, energy costs condemming elderly and the poor to potential hypothermia and while unemployment increases, Downing Street finds the time to re-write the law so that female Royals or Royals of any faith, can inherit the Throne and so keep within the law of human rights. Incredible but true.

Photo Rex features

Photo Rex features

What ‘human right’ allows an unelected, undemocratic person to inherit the position of head of State, with unbridled power and influence along with vast estates, palaces and castles paid for by taxpayers who can exercise no control over them. Time to change the law regarding Royals indeed, time to abolish this feudal anachronism for good.

Oh! Reports out today also suggest that the monarchy is demanding even more money from taxpayers; so around £150million per year isn’t enough then! That’s around ten times the cost of an average European President.

Olympic Games

What a fantastic display was the opening ceremony in Beijing of the 2008 Olympic Games. Beautiful, exciting and at times emotional, at least it was for me. The effort, planning, imagination and energy that went into this event was staggering and just shows what wonders human beings can produce.

Quite rightly there has been a lot of criticism of China’s record on human rights but hopefully, in time, they will improve on this. It should always be remembered that we in the West are not innocent when it comes to human rights. Here in the UK there are frequent miscarriages of Justice and Parliament has just agreed to imprison people without charge for 42 days. In the US they still execute people, even in defiance of International Law and torture prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.

China has come a very long way in just 70 years or so and the standard of living and yes, human rights also, have steadily increased over this time. A huge country with a vast population that was mainly feudal such a short while ago progressed rapidly under communism and I submit, would never have happened under the capitalist system.

While we may rightly point out the faults in China let us not forget that we have many faults of our own.

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