Douglas Carswell

15 JAN 2016

Why are European judges writing our laws?

The European Court of Human Rights has decreed that employers now have the right to read their employees' private messages. This is a major change to UK law: why is it being made by unelected, unaccountable foreign judges?

Whether or not employers should be able to see employees' personal messages that are sent during work hours is an arguable point. Of course employers expect employees not to use work time for private purposes, or use a private messenger account for work – just ask Hillary Clinton. But employees can also justifiably claim that allowing their boss free access to their personal messages is a direct violation of their private property. There is a case both ways.

What can't be justified is that this is being decided by a handful of unelected officials in Strasbourg. Step back and think about this for a second: the decisions of a foreign court now take precedence over those of both our Parliament and our judges. We have simply surrendered our sovereignty. And for what?

The European Court of Human Rights was set up in the wake of the Second World War. It was meant to protect the people of Europe from appalling persecution by tyrannical governments. But instead it has been co-opted to do the opposite. By overriding national democracies and judiciaries, it has eroded the rights and liberties of the peoples of Europe.

We don't need an international court to determine the relationship between employers and employees. In fact, we don't need a uniform relationship at all. The solution is freedom of contract: individual employers and employees should have the right to work out their own terms and conditions through bargaining. Restricting that freedom doesn't preserve our rights, it violates them.

If we meekly give up our democracy, sovereignty, and liberty to an unaccountable administrative elite we have learnt nothing from the last century. The ECHR is no different from the EU: it's time we leave both, and take back our rights.

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