Hip… Hip…?

21 02 2010

Came across this poster off North Road in East Belfast.

Though the Human Rights Consortium have been running this campaign for some time, I’m afraid I only really noticed it on Friday.

Don’t be done, it thunders! Erm… okay. But who is doing us over?

Governments (whose majorities tend to control legislatures) command the power to bestow and to take away. When rights go astray, it’s government that usually disappears them.

Are the HRC saying ‘Don’t let government do you out of rights’??

It makes a neat counter-balance to this campaign being run at the minute by OFMDFM promoting the Hillsborough talks. Apparently, DUP/SF are securing a better future for all…

… and yet NI citizens are being done out of rights! So everything’s-fine-slash-falling-apart? Great.

In not unrelated news, we know there’s a £370 million black hole in NI’s public finances, and we know that UK public sector spending is going to get squeezed after the general election. And in that context we now know the identities of scores of public sector organisations who all but accuse government of failing to protect the rights of its citizens. (The list of its leading members is here.)

Mmmm… courageous. How wise / effective is a negative HRC campaign? Who advises the consortium? Isn’t it a bit of dampener to that Hillsborough PR OFMDFM are rolling out at the mo?

Furthermore, why isn’t the BoR consultation link plastered all over the HRC website? They’re urging responses to it… so, er, where’s the link? (Found it!) It seems the HRC ‘Take Action’ microsite will send in responses on your behalf to the Secretary of State BUT the consultation advises using this address billofrights@nio.x.gsi.gov.uk

Why are the HRC urging people to get involved – but are then directing their involvement away from the correct communication channel?

To my eye, directing people to email the SoS (and not the consultation unit) is evidence of a political campaign. I’m open minded on a BoR, but I do feel the HRC has got the tone all wrong here and are operating disingenuously.

The public consultation on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland will run until March 1 2010. The document is here ; email your response here

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