On Thursday night the BBC screened Rights Gone Wrong? presented by Andrew Neil and produced by Matthew Laza. I’m glad my mum reminded me to see it.
The human rights debate in this country seems to have got unfortunately bogged down into a dispute between some, mainly on the right, who think the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act are the root of more or less all evil; and those who think everything that has flowed from both is unalloyedly good. The truth and most people’s views are more complex, and I think this programme explored the issues pretty well.
It considered things very much from a human angle, and didn’t set out to investigate legal detail, but while appealing to a broad audience took far from the worst sort of populist approach. What struck me was how relatively unpolarised the discussion was compared to many treatments of this subject. It identified some genuine concerns and challenges arising from human rights judgments, and the difficulties facing those who’d like to change our human rights laws.
Rosalind English at the UK Human Rights Blog is fairly positive about the programme, as is James Walton at the Telegraph who calls it “level headed” – a fair characterisation in my view. Charon QC, while suggesting “there were faults in the analysis and scope”, urges you to see it. I recommend it too. I was pleased to see the BBC show a very accessible but non-simplistic hour on this important subject. The only shame is that it was shown on BBC2 rather than BBC1.