10/12/2013 Newsnight Scotland


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they delay going into a care home or nursing home, they reduced the cost


and improve the care. If it can be done now, it can be done anywhere.


Tonight on Newsnight Scotland: Lawyers call for new rules to


enshrine human rights in the way governments and local authorities


behave. But will it just end up with what should be political decisions


being made by judges? And does the real threat to human rights in fact


lie elsewhere? Also tonight, Holyrood joins the


great and the good to pay its respects to the late Nelson Mandela.


Good evening. It's International Human Rights Day, so cue a raft of


proposals for more protection of human rights. A group of 500 writers


has petitioned the United Nations to stop governments from snooping on us


online. Here, the Scottish Human Rights Commission has an action plan


it wants public bodies to adopt in areas like welfare and immigration.


But is the real danger elsewhere? Recently, the Guardian newspaper's


publication of material said to endanger national security led to


the paper's editor appearing before a Commons committee. Aileen Clarke's


report begins there. We were both born outside this


country but I love this country, do you? How can you justify publishing


the Edward Snowden leaked intelligence files?


We live in a democracy. Most of the people working on the story of


British with families in this country who love this country, I am


surprised to be asked the question. But we are patriots and one of the


things we are patriotically bow out is the nature of democracy and a


free pass -- free press and the fact we can discuss and report this.


And this is not just a hop topic at Westminster, ask the green brigade


of supporters at Celtic Park. They say this was the hypocrisy of


celebrating the Scottish Nationalist struggle while coming arising the


Irish nationalist struggle. We wish to exercise their right to public


debate about their business. The macro years ago, the Sheriff had no


doubt what this man wrote on Facebook about Catholics and Celtic


fans was a hate crime and he jailed him for eight months, the first of


many cases in a crackdown on sectarian Internet rants.


The height bought has ruled the wife of the Speaker of the House of


Commons is guilty of libel. Tweeting has become a little less


carefree recently. This is not the first defamation


case and it will not be the last, but it illustrates an important


modern truth, publication is publication.


Following that case and a number of others in England, new guidelines


were published there. We could do with some here, says this law


expert. Free speech was protect it. They did not want to have an effect


on free speech should by having prosecutors making cases against


people for what they put on social media. It helps prosecutors and the


police and they would look at things in context, what was said, did they


remove it after it was pointed out the mess it was offensive? Did they


delete the message and express remorse when they realised the tweet


caused offence? It takes a contextual approach about what was


said in the context of free speech. To remind them that it is not just


about the tweet, it is also how you reacted before and after you posted


it. Shut guidance reflects somebody has the right to be an offensive


idiot? -- should the guidance. Absolutely, there is nothing wrong


with being an ED at in public, we have a cultural benefit from


sarcasm, small jokes and humorous jokes, using satire. These should be


protected as fundamental rights. Where it becomes problematic is


where you use free speech and you apply a higher Iraqi -- hierarchy.


Who becomes the barometer, who decides this free speech has not hit


this target? This is where it becomes problematic because we do


not want David Cameron or Alex Salmond saying that they took


offence, the comments were offensive as they made fun of somebody 's


physical appearance or politics. There is a right to be foolish and


it is not criminal necessarily to be foolish. But we do not want. Be


criminals as a result of that. -- we do not want schools to be criminals.


Lord Advocate here has issued guidance specifically on offensive


comment on social media about the bar tragedy. It is important we have


a robust persecution policy towards such offensive comments.


The Crown office is consulting on wider guidance and offensive


comments on social media but in a city shaken by such a research


project loss of life, you will question the balance the Lord


advocates desires between the right to comment and respect for the dead


-- very few will question. And those who mourn them.


I am joined now from Edinburgh by the Chair of the Scottish Human


Rights Commission, Professor Alan Millar. And in Dundee, the


sociologist and commentator Dr Stuart Waiton, of the University of


Abertay. The obvious problem with the


proposals you are putting forward about human rights and public bodies


which talk about things like welfare is that you are turning leading


politicians in the criminals. For example, if Iain Duncan Smith was to


argue that he thought that the spare room tax was a way of helping people


to get accommodation, that is no longer a political argument,


according to you, he should be prosecuted and possibly sent to


prison, which seems ridiculous. It is ridiculous and it is not what I


say or the Scottish Human Rights Commission. The proposals put


forward today which have been accepted and endorsed by the


government and the Parliament and the public sector and voluntary


sector is Scotland 's National action plan for human rights, not


something put forward by the Scottish Human Rights Commission.


This is a big step forward. And, we are joining the ranks of other


European countries. Could you explain why the scenario I described


was wrong? Because international human rights are being denied, being


realised within Scotland and UK because of the refusal to give it


legal status. If Iain Duncan Smith a criminal? No, he is a politician


making decisions contrary to international human rights law and


people should be protected. So if somebody took Iain Duncan Smith the


court and the word to say he was acting in the best interest of


welfare and not people like you who say the bedroom tax is wrong, he


would lose the court case? Let's look realistically. But he would. He


would not made a criminal and sent to jail. He would be told his


actions were contrary to international human rights law. What


about when he says, I think the bedroom tax, along with my other


welfare reforms, and powers people and increases their ability to


fulfil their potential as human beings? You may agree or disagree,


but I am putting forward a legitimate argument which I believe


is right. You would say that that counts for nothing? There such


things as universal human rights and is ironic that today, when we are


celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela and talking about his


legacy, that you look at South Africa and the constitution there,


which is Mandela 's legacy, it enshrines universal human rights,


there are some things more human and enriching of unity than the


short-term political actions of this party and that government in a given


period of time. The inequalities you condemn so strongly in your document


on more endemic in South Africa than the United Kingdom. So the ANC in


South Africa is as criminal as the British government! This talk about


criminals is not appropriate for a serious discussion on human rights.


What you make of this #. I think your line of questioning is


brilliant! Alan Wright -- Allen is right to say it is not the case Alan


Duncan Smith would be a criminal, but we are saying actions surely --


essentially that politics and the public being replaced I law and


lawyers, which is essentially anti-democratic and elitist, that is


the worry. Apparently, it it is International Human Rights Day, I


did not know this, does anyone else? No, the public are not involved with


this, it it is to do with certain legal bodies who define what is and


is not a right. What about the other side? You could argue we potentially


men right of fundamental at just decisions we make and if there is a


consensus in Scotland that the spare room tax is wrong, making it


constitutionally wrong is an arbitrator decision but no more than


any other decision about human rights. -- arbitrary decision.


Yeah, but what is not arbitrary is human democracy. I was in the debate


in Glasgow a couple of weeks ago discussing whether prisoners should


have the vote and a radical lawyer was saying prisoners should have the


vote. Of course, it is anti-democratic means he is using


because it is a law that will enforce people having the vote. So I


said yesterday, perhaps you should go to the public and try to campaign


with them and say prisoners should have the vote. And he said, no, I


wouldn't want that. That is the tyranny of the majority. So


apparently he is in favour of prisoners having the vote but not


everybody else because they wouldn't vote in the way he sees right, so


rather than have the tyranny of the majority, you want himself and elite


groups like him to be able to dictate to the public what is right


and wrong. -- he once himself. I know you say Aiwa is caricaturing


this but the effect of what you are arguing is to make policies


advocated by the Conservative Party, which is one of the major political


parties in this country, contrary to fundamental human rights law as you


would like to see it. -- you would like to see it. -- use AI was. These


matters are then decided by judges sitting in a court, whereas surely


properly they are a matter of discussion amongst politicians and


voters? And the voters don't like what is being imposed on them and


can reject it. Well, it denies what happened made through the 20th


century, which is that the world community got together after two


world Wars, Holocaust, Great Depression, and they said, look, we


have to have a common standard of achievement and a recognition of


universal human rights based on the dignity of individuals and we then


construct laws and forms of government based on these


principles. They did not drop from the sky, they were negotiated by


governments. UK has accepted these treaties but has refused the


recommendations from the United Nations to give them legal effect


within the United Kingdom. And that is therefore why we have measures


such as the bedroom tax, which deprives people of the right to


adequate housing. We haven't got much time. I've briefly wanted to


talk about another area. Do you think we are missing the other area


which is a threat to human rights, which is some of these free-speech


issues. I know people will be very upset by this, but for example, this


idea of criminalising, obviously, any comments made about the


helicopter crash are abhorrent and if they contain comments which are


contrary to laws which are already in place, they should be prosecuted.


But general terms and in other cases, is that really something you


think should be a matter of police action? What is always said is that


it is most important to defend rights like free-speech decisively


where the exercise of free speech is most obnoxious. I would be very


interested to hear what the so-called human rights radicals say


about these issues of freedom. Because the example you used, and


think you are right. It is a moral issue but it shouldn't be an issue


of people being criminalised. Similarly, we have had the Leveson


Inquiry, which is the state taking away the freedom of the press to a


large extent... I don't want to cut you off but we are running out of


time. You are on the rights commission. Are you voicing concerns


about some of the issues we have just mentioned? Yes, in terms of


access to information and freedom of expression and use of information


technology, we are in favour of it. People should be able to enjoy those


rights to the maximum without having their privacy being


unjustifiably... I am asking whether we should prosecute people whose


comments we all might find absolutely abhorrent? Does he


support the Green brigade, for example? If comments were made which


clearly inside violence, then that is not expressing the right to


freedom of expression. We are going to have to leave it there! Thank


you. Tens of thousands of South Africans


joined dozens of world leaders in Johannesburg for a national memorial


service for Nelson Mandela. Barack Obama said he was a giant of


history, the last great liberator of the 20th century. Three Hollywood


parliamentarians created the opportunity to pay their own tribute


as well. He provided an example for people across the planet and


encouraged us all to work for the day when in the words that resounded


around this Parliament when it was open, man to man, brothers shall be.


Today we extend our condolences to the great man's family, the people


of South Africa. The world is much, much poorer for his passing but


much, much richer for his life. When Nelson Mandela walked through jail


tall,, how many across the world found hope again and a belief that


change might be possible because of this man because the individual


decisions to boycott, to support sanctions, to challenge investments


in South Africa. All of us telling that that work could make a


difference and there was a point in politics and in campaigning. Nelson


Mandela was the best of Africa. He was the best of humanity. He was the


best of us all. Many members of my party did not recognise apartheid


for the grave violation of human indignity it was and did not


struggle to end it. It is a stain on our party. Mandela didn't just speak


to South Africa, he spoke to the world. And his message of love, of


faith, of forgiveness and of human dignity made him not just a man for


our time but a man for all time. Today, as we reflect his life, he


lifts us up again to work to a better world. Where, as he said, we


close the circle and herald the advent of a glorious summer of our


partnership for freedom, peace, prosperity and friendship.


Consigning war, poverty, racism, injustice and exploitation to


history might seem impossible. We will need the sense of justice, the


courage, the resilience and the humanity that he showed if we are


ever to be able to say, as he did, it always seems impossible until


it's done. And commemorating Nelson Mandela, figures on many of the


front pages tomorrow. There is a picture of Areca bomber with Nelson


Mandela's widow. He makes me want to be a better man, that is the


headline. -- a picture of President Obama. That is all we have time for


tonight. I will be back tomorrow. Until then, good night.


Good evening. The mild weather continues. It gets a little chilly


in the evening but overall, it is very mild for the time of year. The


mist and fog will be a problem across the East and south-east in


the morning and that is because there is so much moisture in this


relatively mild air that it condenses out during the night. Most


places will have weather looking something like this but the


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