Former UKIP Leader comprehensively squelched by junior Lords Minister

I meant to post about this yesterday, but didn’t get round to it.  Nevertheless, it really is too comprehensive a squelching not to highlight.

Yesterday, in Lords’ Question Time Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the former Leader of the UK Independence Party, had the following question on the Order Paper:

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they will make to the Government of Botswana about their complying with the 1966 constitution, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and recent court judgments in their dealings with Bushmen of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.”

This elicited a response from Lord Wallace of Saltaire as follows:

“My Lords, the UK follows closely the situation of the San communities in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. We will continue to encourage dialogue between the San communities and the Government of Botswana, and we raise the issue at appropriate levels. We welcome the Government of Botswana’s announcement that they will respect and facilitate the implementation of the recent decision of the court of appeal granting San community members the right to access and sink boreholes within the reserve.”

Lord Pearson then put his supplementary:

“My Lords, that is, of course, good news. However, as the Government of Botswana have overridden court judgments in the past, do Her Majesty’s Government accept that we have perhaps a special responsibility in this matter, because we did, after all, give Botswana its constitution in 1966, and it has been consistently abused? Will the Government, as the noble Lord has indicated, pay particular attention to making sure that the Bushmen have free access to their reserve, to their water supply and, indeed, to new boreholes?”

And then Lord Wallace went in for the kill (like a predator in  the Central Kalahari Game Reserve):

“My Lords, I am not sure that the Government accept that the constitution has been consistently abused, but I welcome the noble Lord’s support for this ethnic minority and its culture, for his vigorous support for the international human rights regime and his insistence that human rights obligations limit state sovereignty. I also congratulate him on his support for the rule of law as a limiting factor on majoritarian democracy, and I am sure that he will hold true to all these principles in his approach to the EU Bill next week. I particularly welcome his reference to the ruling of the Botswana appeal court, which the Botswana Government have clearly accepted. As he will know, the court is, unusually, composed of foreign judges. The judgment is signed by two South African judges and one each from Ghana, Lesotho and Zimbabwe, the last of whom is called McNally. I am glad that the noble Lord recognises that foreign judges can reinforce domestic standards of human rights.”

So courteous: ” I welcome the noble Lord’s ….. vigorous support for the international human rights regime and his insistence that human rights obligations limit state sovereignty.”

Then the stiletto: ” I also congratulate him on his support for the rule of law as a limiting factor on majoritarian democracy, and I am sure that he will hold true to all these principles in his approach to the EU Bill next week.”

And for good measure: “As he will know, the court is, unusually, composed of foreign judges. ….. I am glad that the noble Lord recognises that foreign judges can reinforce domestic standards of human rights.”

Squelch, squelch, and squelch again!

6 thoughts on “Former UKIP Leader comprehensively squelched by junior Lords Minister”

  1. I for one thought that Lord Wallace’s behaviour showed very bad/poor form, and am disappointed to see somebody as esteemed as yourseld carrying forward what is a rather offensive joke further to a blog posting. It doesn’t even bear worth saying (but I will anyways) that Lord Pearson was not speaking about anything to do with the European Union -yes for once- and Lord Wallace should have taken the gravity of the question a bit more seriously.

  2. How is it that Labour politicians are so utterly incapabable of understanding the most simple logic. Lord Pearson is fighting for the basic human rights of the law-abiding citizens of Botswana. The ECHR completely ignores the rights of law-abiding citizens and fights to protect the rights of criminals and terrorists. People no longer feel they can protect themselves or others from any criminal element – on the streets or even in their own homes, without the risk of being sued by these ‘poor downtrodden criminals’. Now this kangaroo court wants to reward criminals with the right to vote. Result? Now we’ll have politicians pandering to prisoners in order to get elected. I’m sure Lord Harris will be one of them.

  3. M Hayworth, double plus silly. The ECHR is the safeguard that Britain needs, it wisely decided that 2 million innocent folks DNA on an illegal database was wrong.

  4. Ron,
    I agree that it was wrong to hold the DNA – but I know others who disagree with me. We live in a democracy and have the freedom to vote for the policies and political parties we believe in. We have the freedom to protest and to petition on these issues. We don’t need an unelected ECHR meddling in these decisions. When they do, we lose all hope of direct democracy.

  5. Dear M, I have heard both arguments for and against retention of DNA, fundamentally it is an infri gement of one’s privacy and discriminatory – if one is innocent. We do not live in a democracy, it is a de facto police state, not as bad as under Blair/Brown but bad. ECHR may be unelectable but I’d rather have an unelectable Strasbourg than an electable Nuremberg.

  6. The problem comes when your Strasbourg starts behaving like the Stasi – and you can’t ‘un-elect’ them. I’ve looked at some of the cases where UK citizens have been picked up on European Arrest Warrants and thrown into foreign jails (in horrific conditions) without even the most basic evidence of a crime. The ECHR isn’t concerned with how these people are treated. If you look at the background of the judges involved, you can certainly see why.

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