Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Where have they been?

The Daily Mail does a piece on the new president of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. This is Nicolas Bratza, a British lawyer who has never held a senior judge's job.

The tone of the story is what you would expect from the Mail, but what we should not be seeing from a national newspaper is the comment: "His promotion to president gives him a leading role among the human rights judges who are increasingly seen as the real supreme court, making the final decisions over what law must be obeyed in Britain".

This plays into the hands of the government and its "elaborate deception" in setting us its pretend "supreme court" in London, which opened for business in October 2009.

Of course it is not the "real" supreme court – its rulings can be overturned by one of two other courts, each in their own domain superior to what is only our highest domestic court. One is the European Court of Human Rights. The other is the ECJ in Luxembourg.

For a newspaper then to say that the Strasbourg court is "increasingly" seen as the real supreme court is therefore to defy logic and misrepresent the situation. It makes you wonder where the journalists have been all these years, and when they are going to wake up to how this country is now governed.

And that is the reality. Few people in this country actually have the first idea of how this country is governed – how our laws are made, by which bodies, how they are implemented, enforced and then interpreted. At the top of the list are journalists and MPs, who should know better. One suspects they never will.

But when they cannot even get the basics right, they are not a lot of use for much else.