Ahead of November 5th, we have a really thought provoking post from Rhonda Oliver of Barnet Macmillan Cancer Advocacy Service (Advocacy in Barnet). We hope you enjoy it as much as we did:
Remember, remember, the fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot
We see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot!
The fireworks are already starting near me as a prelude to the gruesome Guy Fawkes’ Day commemoration (or it could be the happier celebration of Diwali) and I tried to remember what I knew about the Gunpowder Plot. Guy Fawkes and several other conspirators plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament to protest against the poor treatment and oppression of Catholics under the reign of King James I (James VI of Scotland) 1566-1625.
This made me think of the Human Rights Act – like you would – and its protections. Poor old Guy and his fellow conspirators would have had no need to resort to gunpowder had they had the right to free speech, freedom of thought, religion and belief, and the prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment.
My grasshopper brain then leapt to the Brexiteers’ proposed “British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” and I wondered how this might impact on advocacy – if at all?
We have had cause to consider invoking the Act in a case where someone was being pressured into leaving their home by the local authority under the “Respect for privacy and family life” provisions. In the end, sanity prevailed and the person was supported by their advocate to stay at home. I wonder whether any other Advocacy groups have had cause to use the Act to ensure that public organisations (including Government, the Police and local councils) treat everyone equally with fairness, dignity and respect? It would be great to hear about them.
We must hope that any new bill would not weaken everyone’s rights by leaving politicians of whatever stripe to decide when fundamental freedoms should apply.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.
And what shall we do with him?
Have you had cause to use The Human Rights Act in your advocacy practice? If so, do let us know and join the conversation.
Rhonda Oliver, Barnet Macmillan Cancer Advocacy Service