Simon Carr:

The Sketch: The Great Charter of state intrusion

Share
Related Topics

Secondary and tertiary human rights? The political class has discovered derivatives. They are creating layers of political discourse that you cannot penetrate without a QC in one hand and 50 cubic feet of legislation in another.

Our hero, or at least our leading man, is Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary. Courteous, affable, heir to Blair, master of the "Yes, but" answer.

He was in front of 'Dismal' Dismore's Human Rights committee to tell us about his Bill of Rights. His sidekick, Michael Wills, said he wanted it to last as long as the first Bill of Rights (1689). But it's called a Bill of Rights and Responsibilities – BRR. It will set out a spectrum. "At one end it will be fully justiciable and at the other, purely declaratory." Nothing that "lays down a spectrum of justiciability" is going to last 300 years.

One thing it's going to define, Jack said, is "to what extent we have responsibilities to ourselves, each other and our communities".

Does that sound peculiar to you? No? You must be under 25. You must work for the state. You want to make your fortune trading justiciable derivatives. But for the rest of us: Jack is going to put on the statute book a law defining your responsibility to yourself. That seems so far from being what a law should be that I deduce we have entered the parallel universe. But this isn't isolated evidence. Other responsibilities to ourselves are going to be announced today in the NHS Constitution.

This is at the heart of modern administrative philosophy. Jack said: "You have a social responsibility to keep yourself healthy because otherwise you waste the resources of the health service."

Richard Shepherd said that the thrust of Bill of Rights was to reserve private space from the government. These derivatives do exactly the opposite. It's a Great Charter for direct access of the state to the depths of our most private lives.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Building Manager / Head Porter

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Medical Copywriter / Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join an awa...

Recruitment Genius: Transport Clerk / Debriefer

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading temperature contro...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketer

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: the Labour leadership election hasn’t yet got to grips with why the party lost

John Rentoul
Kennedy campaign for the Lib Dems earlier this year in Bearsden  

Charles Kennedy: A brilliant man whose talents were badly needed

Baroness Williams
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific