Thursday, 20 December 2012

Carwyn's Christmas project.

Whilst Wales was hearing about the intention to nationalise an airport a report was produced on a British Bill of Rights. Its implications for the rights of Welsh people might be profound.
Mr Cameron established a Commission to appease many in the Conservative ranks that were hostile towards the European convention on human rights and the Human Rights Act.  
Not to put to fine a point on it there are many his parties that want nothing to do with human rights legislation at all. No votes for prisoners. Lets send people abroad to be tortured without due process etc. You get the agenda.

Many in Wales thought that looking at introducing a Bill of Rights for the UK was misconceived and might undermine devolved government. To produce it at a time Wales is beginning to debate its place in the Union and Scotland is due to hold a referendum, shows particular bad timing.
The truth of the matter is that it was an English problem, indeed a Tory backwoodsman problem that Cameron faced. There was little or no call for a UK Bill of Rights from Wales or Scotland. 
It could be argued that the protection of rights  should be as much a matter for the Welsh Assembly as for the UK Parliament. 
A case certainly could be made for a Welsh Bill of Rights.  After all Wales had its own criminal system until the Statute of Rhuddlan and civil law lasted until the times of Henry V111. 
So when the English want to base their own human rights on the heritage from Magna Carta we too have a heritage that we can base our own Rights legislation on. After all enacting a bill of rights in Wales would be an opportunity to articulate the indigenous traditions of Wales’s very own legal and cultural systems.
After all as inhabitants of the new Wales we need rights and freedoms more closely attuned to our national circumstances. 
It ought to be made clear to the UK government that any changes to the current framework of human rights legislation as they might affect Wales should be a matter solely for the Welsh Government and National Assembly. 
There is a real danger that if Westminster decided to go ahead and introduce a UK Bill of Rights Wales’s current constitutional position might be seriously undermined.
The call by Carwyn Jones for a Constitutional Convention has been steadfastly ignored by David Cameron. 
In such circumstances Carwyn Jones should take use the Yule tide break  to good effect. Rather than an anodyne new year messages he should spend his Christmas drafting a new bill of rights for Wales. After all he is a lawyer. So forget Mr Cameron and Sir Leigh Lewis’s commission let our First Minister be the new Hywel Dda and draft our own Bill of Rights
When Wales recovers from its binge what better way to drive away the hangovers than to discuss what rights the people of Wales should have.
Meanwhile dear reader have a good Christmas. The blog will be back in January.


  1. Good idea. A Welsh bill of rights would need to include social, economic, environmental and cultural/linguistic rights which go beyond the relatively narrow scope of the existing Human Rights Act. A lot of work has been done in this regard in Northern Ireland.

  2. 'Welsh' Labour will never get permission from their bosses in London to do it, even if they were so inclined "we are only Welshies and we knows our place sir"

  3. A Welsh bill of rights should place as number one that Wales is the only country in the world where Welsh is spoken and as such has a unique responsibility to defend, promote and use that language in all walks of life fully. If not, there is no point to having a Wales or a Welsh bill of rights. We may as well be an extension, albeit a more 'communitarian'(if anyone believes that) part of England.

    We a Welsh state doesn't defend and promote Welsh then no other state will.

    But a Welsh Bill of Rights is not worth the paper it's written on if Carwyn Jones continues with Labour's wish to build 320,000 new houses in Wales which will further minoritize the Welsh language.