The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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Human Rights, Human Wrongs

Robert Oulds

The Police in Britain have been hamstrung and now it is the turn of our armed forces. Britain's armed forces face an unseen danger. A danger that threatens lives, a danger that threatens the UK's military effectiveness. This danger is the culture of overbearing health and safety rulings and a fear of breaching human 'rights' and facing litigious lawyers.

This has already helped claim one casualty. The fêted then reviled and now renowned again Col Tim Collins OBE is leaving the Army partly because political correctness and petty bureaucracy are crippling it.

Partly such an attitude comes from the belief that tough training will not be popular when it comes to recruiting Britain's Generation X-Box. Yet the main menace comes from a culture that spread in Britain from after the Human Rights Act and has been enhanced by the Health and Safety Executive, which takes its cue from the European Union. Now before exercises Officers fill out risk assessment forms just as teachers in Schools must. This has lead to some aspects of important training being abandoned. Our gallant British soldiers deserve better training and support. We need military effectiveness, not political correctness. The effect of this, however, is not limited to the armed forces; all of us are affected.

On the one hand the litigation nation is uniting Britain. Doctors. Teachers. Coaches. Ministers. They all share a common fear: being sued on the job. On the other hand the new 'Rights' culture may also open a series of avenues for costly litigation and ambulance chasing lawyers. Bizarrely, European Integration is in danger of turning the UK, at least in one way, into the United States of America where Tort laws cost the equivalent of 5% being placed upon income tax.

What is more, Charles Clarke MP, the Education Secretary, has called on a school's Union to end its ban on school trips. Tim Collins MP, the Shadow Education Secretary, has said that money should go into Schools not legal bills and criticised Sky High insurance costs. Stephen Byers in his 'blame, claim and gain' speech at the Guardian New Realities Conference also criticised the compensation culture. He said,

"Compensation payments in schools have reached £200 million a year - the equivalent of the salaries of 8,000 teachers. In the health service payments for medical negligence have risen from £1 million in 1974 to £477 million - enough to pay for 27,000 extra nurses. Potential claims over the next five years will amount to an estimated £4.5 billion."

Yet none have spoken of the European angle. It is the interfering European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights, excessive EU inspired Health and safety legislation and the Human Rights Act 1998, now elevated to Constitutional status, that makes so much of this possible.

Furthermore, the NHS is set to suffer as a result of the EU's extension of the Working Time Directive inspired by its belief that people have the right not to work hard. Have you ever wondered why the symbol of Britain the RouteMaster bus must go and be replaced by the German built fire-hazard the bendy bus? Why is your local library, or your parents or Grandparents care home under threat from closure? Why? Because they do not fit in with the EU directive that forced upon the UK the Disability Discrimination Act. EU inspired amendments to the Race Relations Act and the Sexual Discrimination Act will add burdens onto Britain and will allow for a form of positive discrimination in recruitment advertising.

But the main threat is still to come, this emanates from the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

On one hand the Charter only (perhaps pointlessly) enshrines in law rights that have long existed in Britain. On the other it will add new burdens onto small businesses, businesses that may not be able to absorb the costs.

Perhaps many may agree with the principles set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The point is, however, that the guarantor of our rights will be the interventionist and left-leaning European Court of Justice (the ECJ), an organization that has a track record of interpreting EU laws in a way that leads to the most damage. The ECJ is an organisation that has scant regard for free-market economic principles and is certainly not as pro-business as the British authorities - even Whitehall.

The provisions in the Charter that could cause the most damage to businesses, charities and State services alike are:

    Article 23
    Equality between men and women
    This is interfering, but honorable, it includes Euro-speak for the ECJ to push for positive discrimination


    Article 27
    Workers' rights to information and consultation within the undertaking
    This will lead to time consuming negotiations and undermine the ability of managers to run their organisations as they see best


    Article 28
    Right of collective bargaining and action
    This enshrines the right to strike. And will reverse our industrial relations legislation to mid-1980s levels


    Article 30
    Protection in the event of unjustified dismissal
    This may allow the ECJ to project the European concept of the 'job for life' into Britain. Sounds good, but undermining an organisations ability to higher and fire will in the long term restrict growth and push up unemployment to Continental levels


    Articles 31 & 34
    Fair and just working conditions and Social security and assistance
    This will allow the EU to further limit working hours, extend holidays and provide more maternity and illness leave. Sounds good, if you do not work for one of those small businesses or charities that goes under

    It also forces governments, at the expense of the taxpayer, to continue to provide a welfare state. So no hope of reform then for that 1940's monster that has grown out of control

What is there that can be done to stop this alien culture emanating from the Channel Tunnel, which is sweeping over this land, a culture which damages every aspect of life and risks the lives of soldiers that have enough to contend with from Geoff Hoon? In the first instance we must not sign up to the EU Constitution, but that will not allow us to resolve the other problems that face us. All that is needed is a small amount of political will. Parliament can repeal or amend the European Community Act 1972 so as to make the decisions of the European Court of Justice not binding unless approved by our own House of Lords; and to make the directives not binding unless approved by our Secretary of State.

This is taken from an article by Robert Oulds for The European Journal