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Aren’t we a little confused?

Posted by Richard Tuesday, July 27, 2004

It is interesting that very few Europhiles run their own Blogs. But one who does is the press officer for Richard Corbett, labour MEP and former political assistant to Alterio Spinelli. The man goes by the name of "Toby" and is particularly keen on exposing Eurosceptic "myths", hence the name of his site, straight banana.

But unlike his master, who has a reputation for being highly knowledgeable about the EU parliament, our Toby sometimes gets a little confused.

In one of his more recent Blogs, he notes a Huddersfield Daily Examiner report that the BNP is "considering taking legal action after Barclays froze up to six of its bank accounts… BNP chairman Nick Griffin said the bank's move broke European human rights laws".

"I'm sorry? Excuse me? It broke what?!", splutters our Toby. "Isn't Mr Griffin aware of his own party's uncompromising policy on Europe? How on earth can he demand British withdrawal from EU if he's happy to appeal to legal rights that come from Britain's membership of the EU?"

Er… sorry Toby. European human rights laws derive from the European Convention of Human Rights, signed on 4 November 1950 under the aegis of the Council of Europe. It is enforced by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

As such, it has nothing directly to do with the EU and our adoption of certain parts of the convention does not depend on our membership of the EU, and nor would we need to be a member of the EU to subscribe to it. In fact, as can be seen from the date of signing, the convention predates the EEC by seven years.