"You talk a load of crap, carrot top" (Anonymous)
"consistently good and sometimes bonkers!" (Tony Jones)
"You obviously pi$$ people off a lot"
"One Dangerous Lady" (Anonymous)
"Clearly a very unpleasant person" (Grace Nicholas, Cornwall)
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
bossing dear old Britain about, dear oh dear, telling the UK all prisoners must vote (they didn't). Robert Badinter, pictured, says Margaret Thatcher once called him exactly that. I think he was rather proud. I heard him speak yesterday at the Council of Europe. He is almost 83, not exactly an electrifying speaker, but very interesting to hear. He is still a senator (Parti Socialiste, natch), was a minister under Mitterrand, and was the architect of the abolition of the death penalty in France in 1981 - you can hear his speech on that occasion here. Obviously it, and the speech I heard yesterday, are in French, but some of my readers can understand it I know. The main point of his speech was that without the European Convention on Human Rights governments would retain laws and policies for political expediency, populism or electoral gain which militate against individual human rights as well as democracy and the rule of law. France would still have the death penalty if it was not for the Convention, he says, and he may be right, special pleading aside. When asked (by a Ukrainian journalist as it happens) what were the greatest obstacles to democracy, human rights and the rule of law throughout the wider Europe, he went straight to the current policies of the British government, on a Bill of Rights, prisoners' votes and so on. He summed up by saying "Patriotisme, oui. Nationalisme, non!"