Try to think of the most minor right you enjoy - the right to laugh, perhaps? The right to frown? The right to shave or not? Now think whether it's beyond your powers of imagination for Labour to legislate on it. It's not unimaginable, is it. Wearing a racially insulting beard or hairstyle, frowning in a homophobic manner and laughing in a manner likely to cause religious hatred could all conceivably find themselves buried in the myriad of behavioural regulations and laws so beloved by Labour.
So when Benedict Brogan gives Jack Straw a favourable write-up in this morning's Mail I'm wondering what the price was. Oh sure, Straw says 'let me bring a new Act in and I'll make sure the nasty judges deport the nasty wogs that Mail readers hate so much', but Brogan is more than capable of seeing through that.
Letting Straw draft a Rights and Responsibilities Bill is like asking Roland Freisler to judge a Bagel baking contest. The man's as cunning and amoral as a rat.
You can't legislate for social responsibility any more than you can legislate to demand respect. All you can do is to place onerous legal duties on people. Straw's 'responsibilities' are no more than the legal codification of duties he would have us owe as individuals to the State - a cementing of the direct relationship between the State and the individual that Labour have destroyed our neighbourhoods, communities, local institutions and families to achieve.
Straw seeks to reduce judges to no more than specially qualified civil servants, acting for the government and an integrated part of the State's social control mechanics. Whilst judges rightly cannot challenge Parliament, they can quite rightly challenge the State; part of the great strength of the judiciary is their (declining) independence from ministers and political imperatives. If their judgements sometimes seem perverse, it is because the law they apply is perverse. I'd imagine a relatively minor legislative change is required to allow the courts to deport Abu Qatada, but Straw prefers not to make it - Qatada undeported is one of his best arguments for his new Bill. He waves Qatada around at every opportunity saying 'see what the nasty judges are doing'.
Don't trust Straw with even the most minor of your rights or you'll wake up to find the major ones gone too.