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Sex Offenders

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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jaywhat
Posts: 15807
Joined: July 5th, 2007, 5:53 pm

Re: Sex Offenders

#21 Post by jaywhat » February 18th, 2011, 6:30 am

Latest post of the previous page:

Alan C. wrote:I don't think you can be "cured" of paedophilia any more than you can be "cured" of gayness.
They should stay on the register for life, appeals whether successful or not; cost money.
This set me off, Alan. I cannot believe you have said this about gays in the same sentence.

seyorni
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Joined: February 17th, 2010, 8:49 am

Re: Sex Offenders

#22 Post by seyorni » February 18th, 2011, 7:29 am

Sexuality is Drive + Focus.
Changing sexual focus has proved problematic. Decreasing drive, on the other hand, is fairly easy.

A paedoplile aesthetically attracted to children but with no interest in sex should be pretty safe.

Nick
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Re: Sex Offenders

#23 Post by Nick » February 18th, 2011, 9:58 am

jaywhat wrote:
Alan C. wrote:I don't think you can be "cured" of paedophilia any more than you can be "cured" of gayness.
They should stay on the register for life, appeals whether successful or not; cost money.
This set me off, Alan. I cannot believe you have said this about gays in the same sentence.
Jaywhat, you've put 2 and 2 together and made 5. Alan is expressing the view that paedophiles are incapable of permanently and completely altering their view of children. He is not saying that being gay is a deviancy that should be cured, but that being gay is in some way hard-wired into that individual.

Nick
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Re: Sex Offenders

#24 Post by Nick » February 18th, 2011, 10:41 am

Alan H wrote:Which of the rights and freedoms, if any, do you think we should derogate from?
It is not a question of derogating from rights and freedoms, but resisting the expansion of the scope of the Convention to include matters which were never originally intended to be covered by it.
Alan H wrote:
More importantly, IMO, we, in the UK, should be able to decide our own legislation, and not be subject to arbitrary judgements from overseas.
You know full well that such pejorative language is just that: pejorative. They are our laws and our judgements just as much as they belong to 'foreigners'. We (as in the UK) signed up to those laws, legitimately, by the democratic process. And I do have to wonder why you label their judgements as 'arbitrary'. By what measure do you think they are arbitrary?
I do not consider my language to be pejoritive. If the Tories were to repeal the Human Rights Act, I bet you would object to the perceived derogation, rather than applaud the democratic process which brought it about. And if Australians decide in future they want to be independent of the UK, I think they should be allowed to do so, in spite of having previously agreed, in a democratic manner, to retain the Queen as Head of State. Likewise, like other countries which retain the Queen as Head of State (Canada, I believe, is one such) the highest Court to which an Aussie can appeal is Australian, not British. I see no reason why that should not be the case for them or any other such country. And see precious little difference between that and any repatriation of legal powers to the UK. The Convention was intended to set basic levels of human rights in a continent which had been torn apart by 6 years of war, in which existing institutions had been destroyed. It was not intended to keep foreigners under the thumb.

I have used "arbitrary" as convenient short-hand to convey the sense that many people of equal eminence to the European judges would have made the opposite judgement.

Fia
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Re: Sex Offenders

#25 Post by Fia » February 18th, 2011, 11:12 am

Nick wrote:....You say "human rights" are important. Well, yes. But what we are now seeing is an expansion of so-called "human rights" which are nothing of the kind. "Rights" are a slippery concept at the best of times, and are far too important to have them arbitrarily defined by foreign judges.
Would you be happier if they were 'arbitrarily defined' by only those judges who hold a UK passport?
We're all on this planet together, and I don't think it helps the issue to introduce an element of xenophobia.
Nick wrote: Fia, I ask you, how far would you trust a "reformed" paedophile with your daughters?
Well, that rather depends upon the criteria which deems a paedophile 'reformed'...
And as Emma says, most sexual acts against children (and rape of women for that matter) are in the domestic arena, perpetrated by someone who knows the victim well. It could be mooted that, statistically, the family unit is far more dangerous than a grubby stranger watching kids in a playpark.

Finally, jaywhat, I'm right with you, and have been in all my posts on this :D

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Alan H
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Re: Sex Offenders

#26 Post by Alan H » February 18th, 2011, 11:16 am

Nick wrote:
Alan H wrote:Which of the rights and freedoms, if any, do you think we should derogate from?
It is not a question of derogating from rights and freedoms, but resisting the expansion of the scope of the Convention to include matters which were never originally intended to be covered by it.
The scope of the EHCR is, as I understand it, every European citizen and the scope of the Human Rights Act is all UK citizens. How is the scope being expanded and what matters does it now cover that weren't originally intended?
Alan H wrote:
More importantly, IMO, we, in the UK, should be able to decide our own legislation, and not be subject to arbitrary judgements from overseas.
You know full well that such pejorative language is just that: pejorative. They are our laws and our judgements just as much as they belong to 'foreigners'. We (as in the UK) signed up to those laws, legitimately, by the democratic process. And I do have to wonder why you label their judgements as 'arbitrary'. By what measure do you think they are arbitrary?
I do not consider my language to be pejoritive. If the Tories were to repeal the Human Rights Act, I bet you would object to the perceived derogation, rather than applaud the democratic process which brought it about.
My objection would, of course, depend on what (if anything) was proposed to replaced it. That's my right as it is yours to object to the current laws. (There is also the question of whether, even if the HRA was repealed, we would still have to abide by the ECHR.)
I have used "arbitrary" as convenient short-hand to convey the sense that many people of equal eminence to the European judges would have made the opposite judgement.
Who?

'Arbitrary' carries a sense of lack of rational for a decision: it is clear the (UK) judges (Lord Phillips (President), Lord Hope (Deputy President), Lord Rodger, Lady Hale, Lord Clarke) in this case gave full reasons for coming to the decision they did.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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jaywhat
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Re: Sex Offenders

#27 Post by jaywhat » February 18th, 2011, 11:17 am

Nick wrote:
jaywhat wrote:
Alan C. wrote:I don't think you can be "cured" of paedophilia any more than you can be "cured" of gayness.
They should stay on the register for life, appeals whether successful or not; cost money.
This set me off, Alan. I cannot believe you have said this about gays in the same sentence.
Jaywhat, you've put 2 and 2 together and made 5. Alan is expressing the view that paedophiles are incapable of permanently and completely altering their view of children. He is not saying that being gay is a deviancy that should be cured, but that being gay is in some way hard-wired into that individual.
In that case I suppose 2 and 2 could make 5. Quite a few opinions on this thread, and elsewhere, are often strong and unproven. They are, yes, just opinions and they say more about the person making them than people seem to realise.

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Alan C.
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Re: Sex Offenders

#28 Post by Alan C. » February 18th, 2011, 12:28 pm

Jaywhat, you've put 2 and 2 together and made 5. Alan is expressing the view that paedophiles are incapable of permanently and completely altering their view of children. He is not saying that being gay is a deviancy that should be cured, but that being gay is in some way hard-wired into that individual.
Thanks Nick I probably didn't express clearly enough what I meant.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

Nick
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Re: Sex Offenders

#29 Post by Nick » February 18th, 2011, 4:37 pm

Alan H wrote:
Nick wrote:
Alan H wrote:Which of the rights and freedoms, if any, do you think we should derogate from?
It is not a question of derogating from rights and freedoms, but resisting the expansion of the scope of the Convention to include matters which were never originally intended to be covered by it.
The scope of the EHCR is, as I understand it, every European citizen and the scope of the Human Rights Act is all UK citizens. How is the scope being expanded and what matters does it now cover that weren't originally intended?
I'm referring to legal, not to geographical scope. ie The judges are making law beyond their intended capacity.
Alan H wrote:
More importantly, IMO, we, in the UK, should be able to decide our own legislation, and not be subject to arbitrary judgements from overseas.
You know full well that such pejorative language is just that: pejorative. They are our laws and our judgements just as much as they belong to 'foreigners'. We (as in the UK) signed up to those laws, legitimately, by the democratic process. And I do have to wonder why you label their judgements as 'arbitrary'. By what measure do you think they are arbitrary?
I do not consider my language to be pejoritive. If the Tories were to repeal the Human Rights Act, I bet you would object to the perceived derogation, rather than applaud the democratic process which brought it about.
My objection would, of course, depend on what (if anything) was proposed to replaced it. That's my right as it is yours to object to the current laws. (There is also the question of whether, even if the HRA was repealed, we would still have to abide by the ECHR.)[/quote]I don't think there is any appetite to water down any of the major parts of the HRA or the ECHR, but there are a growing number of MPs who would consider withdrawing from the ECHR as well. This IMO would be a bad thing for a host of reasons, but OTOH, I think it is encumbent on the judges to be aware that their judgementas are straining the Convention.
I have used "arbitrary" as convenient short-hand to convey the sense that many people of equal eminence to the European judges would have made the opposite judgement.
Who?
Lord Hoffmann, for example.

'Arbitrary' carries a sense of lack of rational for a decision: it is clear the (UK) judges (Lord Phillips (President), Lord Hope (Deputy President), Lord Rodger, Lady Hale, Lord Clarke) in this case gave full reasons for coming to the decision they did.[/quote]I amnot suggesting that any judges make their judgements by spinning a bottle or flipping cards, but some judgements do seem to fly in the face of justice. Perhaps there is a better word than arbitrary. Any suggestions?

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animist
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Re: Sex Offenders

#30 Post by animist » February 18th, 2011, 5:33 pm

Nick wrote:I am not suggesting that any judges make their judgements by spinning a bottle or flipping cards, but some judgements do seem to fly in the face of justice. Perhaps there is a better word than arbitrary. Any suggestions?
tempted to say "disagrees with me". Seriously, you are now appealing to "justice" after lambasting "rights" at the start of this thread - this seems inconsistent. And are you listening to what has been said about the treatment of sex (and indeed) violent offenders whose sentences are under 30 months; they come off the register after 10 years, I think. So why this huge need to keep the more serious ones on for life? Or do you think ALL such offenders should stay on for life without appeal? And how about a register of other criminals who get more than 30 months - would you trust a serious career criminal? As I said before, an ex-offender can simply ignore the law and move without telling the police: in this s/he would be offending, but it would no doubt be worth the risk if they were contemplating further offences. I notice that one person in the judgment case was themself a child when the offence occurred; should they stay on forever?

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Alan H
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Re: Sex Offenders

#31 Post by Alan H » February 18th, 2011, 8:06 pm

Nick wrote:I'm referring to legal, not to geographical scope. ie The judges are making law beyond their intended capacity.
I'm still not clear what law they are making and why it is beyond their (its?) intended capacity?
I don't think there is any appetite to water down any of the major parts of the HRA or the ECHR, but there are a growing number of MPs who would consider withdrawing from the ECHR as well. This IMO would be a bad thing for a host of reasons, but OTOH, I think it is encumbent on the judges to be aware that their judgementas are straining the Convention.
Ditto. What is it that is being strained and how?
Lord Hoffmann, for example.
What has he judged on that you would disagree with?
I amnot suggesting that any judges make their judgements by spinning a bottle or flipping cards, but some judgements do seem to fly in the face of justice. Perhaps there is a better word than arbitrary. Any suggestions?
I'm more interested in what you think those judgements are (whatever you want to call them).
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Nick
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Re: Sex Offenders

#32 Post by Nick » February 19th, 2011, 5:50 pm

Alan H wrote:
Nick wrote:You say "human rights" are important. Well, yes. But what we are now seeing is an expansion of so-called "human rights" which are nothing of the kind. "Rights" are a slippery concept at the best of times, and are far too important to have them arbitrarily defined by foreign judges.
I thought this, but had to go and check.

It was a ruling by the UK's Supreme Court, not some 'foreign judges'.
Thanks, Alan, that is important. But my point still stands in a more general sense.


I would also like to add that my thoughts have shifted somewhat. After all, we talking about appeals, not judgements. And I would expect all those who appeal to have already been released from custody, which alters the perspective somewhat. Perhaps it would make more sense for the sentencing judge to place a minimum period before an appeal could be launched, depending on the offence and circumstances of the case. In some (many? most?) cases, this could be life. On first reading, I would prefer the review to be conducted by a judge, rather than the police.

Nick
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Re: Sex Offenders

#33 Post by Nick » February 19th, 2011, 6:10 pm

Fia wrote:
Nick wrote:....You say "human rights" are important. Well, yes. But what we are now seeing is an expansion of so-called "human rights" which are nothing of the kind. "Rights" are a slippery concept at the best of times, and are far too important to have them arbitrarily defined by foreign judges.
Would you be happier if they were 'arbitrarily defined' by only those judges who hold a UK passport?
Frankly, yes.
We're all on this planet together, and I don't think it helps the issue to introduce an element of xenophobia.
Except that different people, in different parts of the world, have different views. Much of the world behave disgracefully and unacceptably towards women and gays, for example. I do not want our liberal values to be challenged by others.
Nick wrote: Fia, I ask you, how far would you trust a "reformed" paedophile with your daughters?
Well, that rather depends upon the criteria which deems a paedophile 'reformed'...
And as Emma says, most sexual acts against children (and rape of women for that matter) are in the domestic arena, perpetrated by someone who knows the victim well. It could be mooted that, statistically, the family unit is far more dangerous than a grubby stranger watching kids in a playpark.
I think you are right about that, but it largely relates to opportunity, not proclivities.

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Alan H
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Re: Sex Offenders

#34 Post by Alan H » February 19th, 2011, 6:38 pm

Nick wrote:
Alan H wrote:
Nick wrote:You say "human rights" are important. Well, yes. But what we are now seeing is an expansion of so-called "human rights" which are nothing of the kind. "Rights" are a slippery concept at the best of times, and are far too important to have them arbitrarily defined by foreign judges.
I thought this, but had to go and check.

It was a ruling by the UK's Supreme Court, not some 'foreign judges'.
Thanks, Alan, that is important. But my point still stands in a more general sense.
Can you expand on that, please?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Sex Offenders

#35 Post by Nick » February 19th, 2011, 6:40 pm

Alan H wrote:
Nick wrote:I'm referring to legal, not to geographical scope. ie The judges are making law beyond their intended capacity.
I'm still not clear what law they are making and why it is beyond their (its?) intended capacity?
A great deal of law is created by judges. For example, from a different field, Statute says that accounts must be "true and fair", but nowhere are those terms defined; the courts decide. The ECHR was created to introduce a framework into a legally devasted Europe, which had been catastrophically devoid of human rights. I would contend, however, that it was never intended to cover voting rights for prisoners. However, such is the construction of the Courts, that judges have been able to include areas which they think fit, and there is no mechanism to hold them democratically to account. Not that I'm advocating electing judges, but elected governments are not able to exercise direction. To take another example: I wonder if banning Holocaust denial is consistent with ECHR? Though it is nonsense, offensive and bad, in defence of free speech I would hate to see it banned in the UK, but I accept that Germany and Austria may want to do so because of their history. I do not think it is my business to decide for them. There is only so far it is sensible to go. Not everything can be "solved" to everyone's satisfaction. After all, we trade with many countries who would fail the ECHR, but by doing so, we are more likely to encourage human rights within their countries.
I don't think there is any appetite to water down any of the major parts of the HRA or the ECHR, but there are a growing number of MPs who would consider withdrawing from the ECHR as well. This IMO would be a bad thing for a host of reasons, but OTOH, I think it is encumbent on the judges to be aware that their judgements are straining the Convention.
Ditto. What is it that is being strained and how?
The acceptance of the ECHR. The tighter the rules are drawn, the more like they are to break. I am much keener on having good law maintained, than having brilliant law disregarded.
Lord Hoffmann, for example.
What has he judged on that you would disagree with?
It's rather the other way round. He has expressed views with which I tend to agree.
I am not suggesting that any judges make their judgements by spinning a bottle or flipping cards, but some judgements do seem to fly in the face of justice. Perhaps there is a better word than arbitrary. Any suggestions?
I'm more interested in what you think those judgements are (whatever you want to call them).
The detention of terror suspects at Belmarsh comes to mind. There are reasons why a fair trial, with a likelihood of conviction may be impossible. The government has a duty and responsibility to protect it's citizens. Crucially, they could have been released if they had left the country, but no-one was prepared to accept them. The result was control orders. The judgement was based on their "human rights", not on the threat posed.

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animist
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Re: Sex Offenders

#36 Post by animist » February 19th, 2011, 8:03 pm

Nick wrote:
We're all on this planet together, and I don't think it helps the issue to introduce an element of xenophobia.
Except that different people, in different parts of the world, have different views. Much of the world behave disgracefully and unacceptably towards women and gays, for example. I do not want our liberal values to be challenged by others.
yes but that (ie illiberal atittudes) surely does not apply to Europe and the ECHR, does it?

Nick
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Re: Sex Offenders

#37 Post by Nick » February 19th, 2011, 8:39 pm

I'm glad you accept the principle, animist. It's a question of where you draw the line; at a local, national, European, international or world level. In general, I am in favour of subsidiarity, ie, devolving the decision-making downwards to the lowest level consistent with the working of that policy. As such, I consider the UK, rather than Europe, the correct level to decide such matters as detention of terror suspects. For other matters, the right to a fair trial, say, which are more fundamental, by expanding the number of signatories, the establishment of that principle is made more secure. I do not want the international agreement threatened and weakened by over zealous judges breaking the unanimity of the member states in supporting the institution.

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Alan H
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Re: Sex Offenders

#38 Post by Alan H » February 20th, 2011, 12:41 am

But the Supreme Court were dealing with the UK law of the Human Rights Act, an Act that was passed (like it or not) by our democratically elected Parliament. The fact that they copied the words from the ECHR is incidental. It is the UK's appointed judges whose interpretation of that UK statute you are objecting to - nothing to do with the ECHR or any other European Court.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Nick
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Sex Offenders

#39 Post by Nick » February 20th, 2011, 11:11 am

Alan H wrote:But the Supreme Court were dealing with the UK law of the Human Rights Act, an Act that was passed (like it or not) by our democratically elected Parliament. The fact that they copied the words from the ECHR is incidental. It is the UK's appointed judges whose interpretation of that UK statute you are objecting to - nothing to do with the ECHR or any other European Court.
I have acknowledged that point, Alan, and also (as I have said) tend to agree with them that appeals should be allowed, though I hope and expect that very few would succeed. I have tried to explain my generalapproach in my last post. In the light of your respect for our democratically elected parliament, what do you make of their totally emphatic vote against the ECHR decision over prisoners voting rights? Out of 650 MP's, only 22 defended the ECHR. Why should not the democratic will of the people not be reflected in the law governing the people?

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Alan H
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Re: Sex Offenders

#40 Post by Alan H » February 20th, 2011, 12:24 pm

Nick wrote:In the light of your respect for our democratically elected parliament, what do you make of their totally emphatic vote against the ECHR decision over prisoners voting rights? Out of 650 MP's, only 22 defended the ECHR. Why should not the democratic will of the people not be reflected in the law governing the people?
I still don't get it! It's NOT ECHR, it's the HRA. MPs voted on how they should comply with a decision of the Supreme Court.

However, your point about the MPs voting: the solution is very simple and within their power. They have no choice but to accept the decision of the properly constituted Supreme Court's decision. That's as it should be (what sort of example/precedent would they be setting if they decided they didn't want to abide by the law?). But if the HRA is so bad, they can, as has been suggested, repeal it and possibly replace it with something else.
Nick wrote:I would contend, however, that it was never intended to cover voting rights for prisoners. However, such is the construction of the Courts, that judges have been able to include areas which they think fit
As is obvious, UK law (as opposed to, say, French law), relies heavily on case law. That's just the way it is. In France (as I understand it), their laws run to far more volumes because they spend more time trying to cover all possible or likely aspects. In the UK, an Act is specific about the general principles, but we rely on learned judges looking at the facts of individual cases and deciding how to apply the general principles of the law to the case in front of them. Perhaps the French have a clause in their HRA that anticipated prisoners' voting rights and excluded such cases from its remit? Who knows. But it is clear that even French law cannot possibly cover all possibly future cases.

But the question here is, why do you think the HRA was never intended to cover prisoners' voting rights?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Sex Offenders

#41 Post by Nick » February 21st, 2011, 2:44 pm

Alan H wrote:
Nick wrote:In the light of your respect for our democratically elected parliament, what do you make of their totally emphatic vote against the ECHR decision over prisoners voting rights? Out of 650 MP's, only 22 defended the ECHR. Why should not the democratic will of the people not be reflected in the law governing the people?
I still don't get it! It's NOT ECHR, it's the HRA. MPs voted on how they should comply with a decision of the Supreme Court.

However, your point about the MPs voting: the solution is very simple and within their power. They have no choice but to accept the decision of the properly constituted Supreme Court's decision. That's as it should be (what sort of example/precedent would they be setting if they decided they didn't want to abide by the law?). But if the HRA is so bad, they can, as has been suggested, repeal it and possibly replace it with something else.
But isn't the HRA the just embodiment of the ECHR within English law? (You are right that as things stand, the law is the law) If they repealed it, the same result would still ultimately be reached because the ECHR and the European Court would trump the Supreme Court, wouldn't it?

(And just to remind you, I'm arguing a democratic point, not a "human rights" one).

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