Fiction: Beware of politicians bearing gifts

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I wrote the following for a short story competition but figured I can put whatever I like on my blog so am apparently now including a bit of fiction along with everything else.

Skinny and squinty - bp image‘New jPhone X2 for UK Partiality Party Voters!’ read the Underground ad, accompanied by some illegible small print.

“What do you reckon?” asked a skinny young women, hair scraped back to show off earrings with the word ‘freedom’ scrawled within large gold-coloured hoops.

The curly haired girl in the orange jumpsuit squinted at the poster and replied “if it’s in writing it must be legit, right? Otherwise we could sue or something.”

*

newsman - bp image‘I can confirm that the United Kingdom Partiality Party are the new government after a landslide victory. They really found a new way to connect with the voters but what isn’t clear is what policies the new government will look to implement …’

‘Turn it off, will you?” huffed the scraggly haired man, reclining in the easy chair with the tattered blue throw. “I can’t believe that whim of a party got elected, what do they even stand for anyway?”

“Well, if they were so bad you should have voted for one of the other lot,” chirped the smartly suited woman, still looking fresh after a day of helping the common man. She added, “anyway they were chosen by the people and can’t be any worse than what we’ve currently got.”

Scraggly glared but Suit was too distracted trying to fit the SIM into her new phone to notice.

*

Skinny squinty talk - bp image“Haven’t seen any of our usual dealers by the chicken shop for a while. Mind you haven’t seen the owners of the chicken shop either. Did they get shipped out under the Alien Liberation Act or whatever it was that flashed up on my phone?” wondered Squinty.

“Nah, ‘chicken-2-go’ is like a national institution, probably just on holiday or something.” replied Skinny.

“Can’t you call someone to sort us out tonight?” said Squinty, “my phone’s not working.”

Skinny shrugged “nah, I’ve got a connection problem.”

*

skinny jail - bp image“You can’t just shut me up in here! I’ve got rights,” wailed Skinny as the Surly officer shut the door behind her.

Surly sneered, “don’t know about your rights but I let you keep your nice jX2 didn’t I?”

“But,” she sniffed, “it doesn’t even work anymore – only lets me call through to the UKPP guidance line or access their home page!”

*

skint suit jail - bp imageIn a crumpled suit, the overworked lawyer looked nervously behind her as the door locked into place.

Skinny demanded to know when she’d go free.

“Look,” Suit tried to explain, “when you accepted the phone you signed a contract and that’s legally binding. Without the EU or UN anymore, I can’t do anything. You’ve been classed ‘undesirable’ and under the National Re-Ordering Act section 1, paragraph 29.3(a) the government has a right to keep you indefinitely.”

“Indefiwhat!” exploded Skinny, “you’re useless! I want another lawyer! Give me your phone, I’m calling Citizen’s Advice.”

Suit rubbed her temples wearily with the hand supporting her head. “You can’t. Citizen’s Advice was abolished under the NGO Compliance Act,” she sighed, “and anyway, I’ve been having problems with my phone recently.”

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10 reasons not to be afraid of feminism

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“I call myself a feminist. Isn’t that what you call someone who fights for women’s rights?” – The Dalai Lama

“We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back” – Malala Yousafzai

Feminism seems to be something that sparks a lot of heated debate although I’m not really sure why as essentially it’s just about equality between men and women and I think that’s hard to argue against. But to help clarify things I thought I’d present ten reasons why people don’t need to be afraid of feminism.

1. Not all words ending in -ism are bad

Yes ‘Nazism’, ‘Stalinism’ and ‘terrorism’ are definitely some bad -isms but this doesn’t make all words ending in -ism are inherently evil. If you do google-search for words ending in ‘ism’ you will probably find more rubbish examples than good ones, but without ‘ism’ we couldn’t have ‘heroism’ or ‘idealism’. Heroism (art by B. Potts)

2. Feminism remains necessary as people are still treated differently because of their gender

Even just looking at things from a Western perspective although women may have equality in theory it doesn’t always amount to equality in practice. I could go on about female representation in public spheres like the government, legislature and judiciary but that would probably add another thousand words to this post so I’ll just invite you to check out Laura Bates’s everyday sexism project to get an idea of why feminism is still required in the so-called developed world. Every woman I’ve spoken to about this has at least one story of when they have been made to feel uncomfortable by a man in a way that wouldn’t have happened had they not been a woman.

Some men, and definitely not all, because most men I know wouldn’t dream of behaving in this way, but some men think it’s alright to objectify women, to grab their bottoms, to shout obscenities at them from moving vehicles, to comment on their tits and genuinely treat them as objects for their amusement. I suspect that some of the men that do this would actually be quite shocked by how much this sort of thing can really get under a person’s skin and make us feel uncomfortable. So a comment on our booty might be meant kindly but please forgive us if we react badly, from our experiences of this sort of thing happening quite frequently we are likely to be more sensitive about these things and, perhaps not wholly surprisingly, we will take personal comments well… personally.

This kind of unwanted attention is more likely to happen to women but yes this does also happen to men. Behaviour that intimidates, harasses or upsets anyone in this way, whatever gender they are, isn’t acceptable.

3. Feminism isn’t about hating-men

Being a feminist doesn’t mean you hate men. It’s not like racism (another bad -ism) where you want to assert the superiority of one kind of person over another, so being a feminist doesn’t mean you believe in female superiority and eagerly await the subjugation of all men to the complete domination of women.

Alright some people who call themselves feminists might want that but they have sort of missed the point and shouldn’t be considered representative of all feminists. Feminism is actually about wanting gender equality for both men and women.

Men hating (art by B Potts)

4. Feminism doesn’t mean all men are rapists

Feminism often focuses on rape because this is a problem, it happens far too frequently, often goes unreported or isn’t always taken as seriously as it should be. Feminists highlight the dangers of rape because it’s a terrible thing no-one should have to experience, it doesn’t mean feminists think every man is a rapist.

A bit of a tangent about the nail varnish thing…

There was a bit of fuss recently after some chaps invented a nail polish that changed colour when dipped in a drink that had been spiked. At first everyone thought this was great because helping people not be raped is surely a good thing. Then there was a bit of a backlash from some of the angry feminists types who tend to put people off the whole thing, who were getting up in the grill of the inventors faces and saying things like ‘how dare you assume rape is just women’ and ‘why should the onus be on women not to get raped, why not figure out how to stop people thinking rape is okay’.

I would like to respond to these two points. Firstly why assume men wouldn’t wear nail varnish and even if they don’t want to that doesn’t stop this being useful. If you discovered a cure for cancer that could only help ginger-haired people but couldn’t cure cancer for everyone it’d be pretty dastardly to say to ginger-haired people sorry you can’t have this until we’ve figured out a fix for everyone.

To the second argument it’s not like the inventors were saying ‘hey it’s okay to rape anyone who doesn’t use our nail varnish’ it’s simply that they thought they could do something to address a serious problem which sadly exists in the actual world we live in as opposed to the utopia we’d all like where rape doesn’t happen. Saying the inventors of rape-deterrent nail varnish are saying it’s up to women not to get raped is like saying I should be able to leave my bike unlocked in Geneva outside without anyone taking it. Yes I should be able to leave my bike unlocked because stealing my bike would be wrong. However as some people would steal my bike whether or not I think it’s wrong I’m grateful someone invented bike locks.

5. Admitting a need for feminism doesn’t mean pretending there are no other problems in the world

Sexism happens. It’s not the only awful thing that happens in the world. However the existence of other terrible things doesn’t mean sexism doesn’t exist and that it isn’t a problem that shouldn’t be addressed. It’s not a competition, it’s just about trying to improve the world in whatever way we can.

Feminism is about addressing discrepancies between genders and achieving real gender equality will help some people. It won’t solve poverty, famine and disease. But we aren’t ranking these things. Otherwise we would all have to agree on the one most single awful thing in the world and say we can’t even consider other issues until this was resolved. It would be like saying the police shouldn’t investigate kidnap cases until all murder cases have been solved.

Sadly there are many bad things in the world, happily there are lots of good people that want to work in different ways to try and make things better.

6. Feminism doesn’t mean women can never wash, shave, put on nice clothes or make-up

Feminism means women are free to make a choice about whether they wash, choose to shave, what clothes they wear or whether they want to apply make-up, and that no-one should feel they have to do these things just for the benefit of someone else. Although, actually, all genders should try and wash occasionally, for the benefit of your fellow humans who otherwise have to smell you.

Just last night I was painting my nails whilst reading a book on women’s human rights. This doesn’t make me less of a woman or a rubbish feminist because first of all, it’s not an either/or situation and second of all, I believe it’s up to me to be a ‘woman’ in whatever way I choose. Sometimes that involves painting my nails, sometimes it involves bumming around in jogging bottoms all day. It’s my call.

Not washing (art by B Potts)

7. Feminism isn’t about denying bad things happen to men

Feminism is about levelling the current power imbalance between genders. It tends to focus on women because on the whole the power imbalance is against women. However it doesn’t mean denying that issues which more often affect women than men, also affect men and can be perpetrated by women.

For example there are serious issues about disbelief of male victims of rape or domestic abuse by people who don’t believe this could happen. This isn’t something to laugh off, it’s a serious issue and changing attitudes towards these victims is all part of feminism.

Someone suggested that feminism should be renamed equalism so as not to irritate people so much. I see their point in that feminism is really an issue of equality it’s just that if we don’t give it a gendered terminology then it wouldn’t necessarily be clear as to what feminism is about.

I’m a humanist in that I believe everyone should be treated equally regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion or any other category you want to throw in there. I’m also a feminist because feminism is addressing one of these areas of discrimination and if I say feminist then we all, more or less, know what I’m talking about.

8. Feminism doesn’t turn all women into victims

Feminism isn’t about the victimisation of women, it’s not about saying women can’t do anything for themselves and that they will always be oppressed by men. It’s about acknowledging there is a problem, raising awareness of the problem in the hope that it might affect change and ultimately working together towards a world where we can say feminism isn’t necessary any more. Feminism can actually be quite empowering by helping people of all genders to realise they shouldn’t have to put up with gender biased behaviour that demoralises and demeans them.

9. You don’t have to be a woman to be a feminist

As Emma Watson put it in her recent speech on feminism for the UN “Men – I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too.” There are already a lot of pretty cool men who would identify themselves as feminists, including: Patrick Stewart, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling, Prince Harry and the Dalai Lama. 

As a lot of problems of the sort reported on everyday sexism stem from the way men treat women then actually we need more men to step up and make it clear that they think treating women as anything other than human beings is not okay. The more men there are acknowledging the need for gender equality the less feminism can be accused of being a vehicle for angry women to rant about pointless issues (which isn’t really what it’s about at all).

Equalism (art by B. Potts)

10. Feminists can take a joke

Some people think feminists can’t take a joke but that’s simply not true, provided your joke is funny. If your joke is highly sexualised about me and makes me and others in the vicinity uncomfortable, then it’s not really a joke. Jokes about rape are also never going to be funny, there’s a reason why people groan when such jokes are told and that’s because they are awful. Those telling them are going more for shock factor than comedic value and if that’s the best they’ve got in their comedic arsenal then maybe leave the joke telling to actually funny people or look up some new material online.

And one for luck…

11. You can still open a door for a woman without being anti-feminist

There’s no reason for common courtesy to go out of the window just because women want equality with men. No feminist is going to get mad because a man opens a door for her, just don’t get upset if a woman also wants to open a door for a man. You can still be nice to someone without trampling all over them and there’s no need to make this a gender thing. Surely it’s nice if you hold the door open for whoever is behind you or struggling with an armful of books or whatever, regardless of gender.

Opening door (art by B Potts)

The Blog Hop

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I have been nominated to participate in a blog hop by WA Woman to World, which entails answering the questions below and then nominating two other blogs to share their responses.

Firstly, thanks Michelle for the nomination. I met Michelle at my very first Geneva International Book Club meeting. The club is a lovely(ish) group of people whose warm welcome to Geneva, where every comment is welcomed and valued if not necessarily agreed with, made me first feel at home in this strange city. And Michelle was one of the first people here in Geneva I really connected with. I was delighted to discover her blog and get to know her better through this medium as well as regular book club meets and to discover what a warm-hearted, funny and inspiring woman she really is. I loved her blog so much that it motivated me to start my own and her words of support were really encouraging.

What are you working on?

That really depends on how you want to define ‘work’. If we are going for the traditional sense in terms of societally-defined gainful employment for which I exchange skills for the money to pay rent and eat, then I am working for an international NGO for the advancement of human rights.

Human rights has been something I’ve been passionate about since we had a talk from a representative of Amnesty International when I was in secondary school. I felt a pull to do something about the global inequality where the rights I take for granted are denied to so many others. This started with my joining a local Amnesty group, later I undertook a Masters Degree in Human Rights, an internship with the Cambodian Centre of Human Rights followed in 2013 and now I’m here in Geneva hoping to put my organizational skills to use for something I care about.

In terms of the broader sense of ‘work’ well, I now have this blog but, my biggest non-work-work is ‘me’. It’s an ongoing project to try and be the best version of myself, not to let myself be held back by fears and to open myself up to new experiences whilst at the same time learn to appreciate the here and now. It’s an ambitious challenge I suspect won’t be finished anytime soon. At the moment, to provide slightly more specific examples, it includes learning French, enjoying a healthier version of me through improved diet and increased exercise, practicing drawing and trying not to be so darn addicted to social media apps on my phone and at work.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

In terms of the blog writing, I wouldn’t say I have a unique voice or perspective, because I doubt whether there is any such thing as a truly original thought or piece of work. Even if you think you are being radically different from everyone else there are probably loads of other people with exactly the same idea, which may or may not have been put into practice or vocalised yet. Or perhaps I’m just not original enough to accept the concept of originality in others.

I started my blog thinking what I was saying was revolutionary, that no-one would have heard anything of the like before. I was quite astounded by the amount of people who came back to me saying this is exactly how they feel. At first I felt a little put out by that but actually I’ve realised how great this is and now I love the idea that through opening myself up on the blog others may find things they can relate to. Through doing my part to create a little interconnectivity I hope we can all feel a little less alone and a little stronger.

But even if we share the same ideas with others which ideas we have in common, how we voice these, how these affect us and shape our own understandings is unique to all of us. I’m trying to hold onto the thought that I am both nothing more than a snowflake in a blizzard and nothing less than a one of a kind snowflake. It’s a dizzying vertigo effect of trying to balance one’s own sense of self-importance with the realisation of one’s insignificance.*

Perhaps my work is different in not trying to be different and not really trying to be anything more nor anything less than mine? Or perhaps it’s the same as everyone else’s in this respect?

Why do you create what you do?

For some time I’ve thought there is a novel or two inside me but it occurred to me that I wouldn’t become a bestseller anytime soon unless maybe I started writing a bit more frequently. I then met a couple of inspirational bloggers and I thought I’d start my blog as a technical challenge to polish my writing skills. However I completely underestimated the effect that blogging would have on me and this developed into a passion in itself.

I wasn’t sure, and still aren’t, exactly where I wanted to go with the blog and what I wanted to say. But I did know that I wanted to write honestly about who I am and how I understand and interpret the world around me. Through trying to truthfully address my sense of self and then put it out there for others through this blog it’s actually helping me to understand myself better.

The concept of the blog was to spell out my life philosophy and how I’m applying that on a daily basis. Since starting the blog I discovered my philosophy isn’t as concrete as I had imagined and is constantly evolving, so this will continue to be something to work on.

How does your creative process work?

Deadlines are pretty essential to how I operate. I’m very good at wasting time and can spend whole weekends doing nothing more than flitting between television, books or perhaps having a little wander outside. I blame my dad, he is king of the procrastinators and passed that particular talent on to me.

So I imposed a weekly deadline on myself, which I’ve actually managed to stick to reasonably well, and try to avoid the trap of thinking ‘oh well it doesn’t matter this week’. I know that sort of thinking will be a slippery slope for me because if I start to make excuses it gets easier to keep on making excuses and before you know it months will have gone by without a single new post.

Knowing I have the weekly deadline means my inspiration drive is pretty much always whirring away in the background looking for ideas for the next post. Sometimes it’s obvious and I’ll see, experience or feel something that moves me to write and sometimes I have to work a bit harder to try and find anything worth expressing. I’m starting to develop a little store of rainy day blogging ideas to avoid moments of panic about what the heck I’m going to write about next, which has happened a few times.

Book club has also been a useful muse by pointing me towards reading books I wouldn’t have read otherwise, thinking about books in greater depth than I used to and most importantly from getting insights into others on how they have interpreted the same texts I’ve read. We all have the same material but our brains make quite different work of it, proving humans are pretty amazing and providing plenty of food for thought.

My nominees

I have chosen to nominate the blog ‘Lori and the Caravan.’ Lori is a truly inspirational person who is not afraid of a challenge and shares her experiences openly and honestly through her blog. Amongst other things she is a loving mother, a historical geek, a passionate vintage promoter, and, obviously a blogger. I worked with Lori in London and then our lives took us in different directions and we drifted, but I’ve been able to reconnect with her through her blog. You can also check out her shop and start thinking of little people you can buy Lori’s great vintage finds for.

My other nominee is the brilliantly insightful ‘Self-styled life’. This was one of the first blogs I discovered when I started my own blogging adventure and it really resonated with me. Despite the fact Jean and I have never met, live on different continents and have very different lives I have felt a connection with her through her writing. When first starting out it was really encouraging to find a blogger that could entertain and move me (my last blog post was directly inspired by one of hers). Her blog was the first stranger’s blog I dared to comment on and I have really appreciated her warm and thoughtful responses to my random comments. It’s nice to know the internet isn’t such a scary place full of trolls under every article.


*This is starting to sound either a bit profound or super self-indulgent and poncey, sorry if it’s the latter.

Not seven reasons to hate the European Court of Human Rights

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Apologies in advance to anyone not from Europe, not interested in politics or with aspirations of wielding absolute power over all minions of the world. This may not be for you. But, don’t worry, you wont be breaching my human rights if you don’t continue reading (although you may miss out on some truly epic artwork)!

This week the UK PM reshuffled his Cabinet in a clear move to the right as the Conservatives begin the countdown to the next election and make a determined bid to win back UKIP voters.

It’s not all bad – there are some promotions to be applauded, increasing numbers of women in the cabinet can only be a good thing (if we steer clear of the argument about whether they are being promoted because they are women or because they can do the job – the two are not mutually exclusive!). Some demotions are to be applauded, I doubt many are mourning the loss of Gove from the role of Education Secretary, others, however, are a bit more worrying.

I may not have seen eye-to-eye with them on everything but I did have a certain respect for Ken Clarke, Damian Green and Dominic Grieve, all of whom were axed in the reshuffle. These previously senior government staffers were all strong supporters of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and weren’t afraid to stand up for this, although that fearlessness might just have got them fired.

There have already been speculation that the reshuffle and removal of these rights loving stalwarts is preparing the ground for UK fisticuffs at dawn with the ECHR and the Court that upholds it. But before anti-Court mania kicks in I just want to set out my response to seven common arguments leveled against human rights legislation.

1. Why should we be governed by Europe?

Governed by EuropeFirst things first the ECHR is not a document of the European Union although signing up to the ECHR is now a pre-requirement for countries seeking to join the EU. But opting out of the EU doesn’t necessarily mean opting out of the ECHR (Turkey and Russia and other non-EU states are currently under the jurisdiction of the Court)

Secondly, the Court doesn’t govern Europe it just gives effect to the ECHR, which incidentally was predominantly drafted by the British, if that matters.

Those who make judgements in Strasbourg aren’t accountable to democratically elected politicians but neither are those who make judgements in the UK. This is a good thing as separation of powers adds a bit of balance to these things.

Finally, the Court only has jurisdiction over human rights related issues – it doesn’t determine things like working hours, how fast we drive or when we can retire. The EU has some say over some of these things but that’s a different topic.

2. We don’t need the ECHR, we have the Human Rights Act

Don't need ECHR have HRA!The HRA is the incorporation of the ECHR into domestic law. This has meant that the UK has been able to much more easily consider human rights issues without the delays or expense incurred in sending a case to the Court.

However, it doesn’t replace the ECHR. There are still circumstances where UK individuals can appeal to the Court when it thinks the UK isn’t abiding by the HRA and ECHR. Governments don’t always act in the best interest of the people and its actually quite reassuring to think we have an added layer of protection from potential human rights violations inflicted by the state.

Finally, the HRA has been under attack by the Conservative party for much longer than the ECHR. To assume the HRA will remain unscathed if the UK withdraws from the ECHR is naïve.

3. Human Rights aren’t an issue in the UK so why do we need this?

No human rights issues in the UKt 4.00.56 PMActually human rights are still an issue in the UK. For example, estimated numbers of slavery in the UK are higher now than when slavery was legal.

And things like the government wanting to be able to listen to all your phone calls, read your emails and look at all your photos on Facebook is an invasion of privacy, which is another human rights issue that probably affects all of us.

Also, although we might be living in a comparatively free environment now, and I’m not denying that the UK has a better human rights record than a lot of other places, we shouldn’t just take this for granted and assume this will always be the case. Keeping some safeguards in case things go down the pan in the future isn’t a bad idea.

4. The ECHR is abused by petty individuals, terrorists and time wasters so we should get rid of it. Why aren’t my rights protected?

Terrorists, time-wasters and petty individualsThe ECHR isn’t just used by people we don’t like, it just tends to be that tabloids can use these cases more easily to create shock headlines that will sell more papers so we tend to be a bit more aware of these sorts of cases.

Your rights are protected. Its just some of these rights we share with people we might not like very much. The ECHR doesn’t cover things like the right to lead a happy existence with the right that people should bring you chocolate cupcakes every day. It covers things like right to education and right to protection of life.

Being able to file a claim at the Court doesn’t necessarily mean that it will go to Court or that the UK will lose. Cases will only be accepted where applicants can show they have tried to go through the domestic system – giving UK courts a chance to weigh in – and where the case has some merit. So, for example, someone could file a claim about a little girl picking their flowers and breaching their human right to enjoy flowers (actually not a human right) but that kind of thing isn’t going to be considered.

5. People who commit crimes abuse the rights of others so should lose their rights.

Human not human?The ECHR applies to all humans and yes this does sometimes include people we don’t necessarily like very much but I think getting into an argument about who is human and qualifies for rights and who doesn’t is dangerous territory best avoided by all people who don’t have a God complex.

Also certain rights, like the right to liberty, are negotiable so if you commit a crime the State can remove this right and lock you up. Others, like the right to prohibition of torture, are non negotiable so committing a crime doesn’t mean the State can pull out your fingernails. It’s hard to argue against this.

6. Yeah, but what about Prisoner voting rights, how can you defend that one, eh?

Prisoner votingThis is one of the most misrepresented issues of Court madness that I can think of. I watched debates in parliament where MP after MP stood up and led their argument with something like: ‘there’s a murderer/rapist/paedophile/indefensible individual who hurt someone/lives in my constituency – these people shouldn’t be allowed to vote.’ That’s not an unreasonable sentiment for someone to have. However, the judgement from the Court at no point said that the UK must make voting rights available to all prisoners. It just said the UK should review the blanket ban that applies to everyone in prison.

So, no, the UK doesn’t have to give murderers the vote but perhaps it could consider giving someone imprisoned for 6 months for minor drug trafficking the opportunity to have a say in and engage with the running of the society they will be returning to on release. Or if this example is too extreme for you how about the pensioner who was imprisoned for less than a month for refusing to pay his council tax in protest against council cuts in his area. Would giving someone like that the vote really be the end of society as we know it?

Still not convinced? Well how about this argument: whether or not you agree with the Court’s judgement on prisoner voting can you accept that picking and choosing which court judgements the UK decides to abide by sets a bad example to other nations subject to the Court’s jurisdiction? The UK might not like prisoner voting and decides not to listen to the Court. Turkey might look at the UK’s example and think well we don’t like not being able to torture people so we wont listen to judgements about this either. Russia might then look at what the UK and Turkey are doing and think why should we care if the Court says we can’t arbitrarily imprison people? And so on.

7. Well, what about that thing about the cat and the dodgy immigrant being allowed to stay here?

Magic kitty passportAnother human rights misrepresentation. Theresa May might be the Home Secretary with a team of advisors who you would think would know better but when she said ‘and I’m not making this up the immigrant who could stay in the UK because he had a cat’, well, actually, she was making it up.

What happened is that an immigrant who was claiming the right to stay in the UK based on his family life mentioned that he had a cat. The decision that he was allowed to stay here wasn’t decided by the fact he had a cat. The immigrant could also have mentioned that he really liked Dairy Milk chocolate. The decision would have been similarly unaffected by the fact he liked British chocolate.

That immigrant’s having a cat didn’t give him the right to stay, in the same way that having a cat doesn’t give you special entitlements to live in a nice flat, have a great job and be able to buy Dairy Milk whenever you want. You might well live in a nice flat, have a great job, be able to buy Dairy Milk whenever you want and have a cat but having the cat probably hasn’t been the cause of all that.

In conclusion

Do feel free to dispute anything I’ve said above and if you can think of other arguments against the Court throw them at me and I’ll see if I can come up with a suitable response/wonderful piece of art.

But I feel happier in the knowledge that there is an additional safety net that can protect my rights against the interests of the State, should they be under threat.

What the ECHR covers (full text here) is listed below and I can’t find anything there I’d rather not have protected:

  • Obligation to respect human rights
  • Right to life
  • Prohibition of torture
  • Prohibition of slavery and forced labour
  • Right to liberty and security
  • Right to a fair trial
  • No punishment without law
  • Right to respect for private and family life
  • Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom of assembly and association
  • Right to marry
  • Right to an effective remedy
  • Prohibition of discrimination
  • Derogation in times of emergency (flexibility for States when required – but not applicable to all rights)