Author Oluwakemi On Tuesday 20 th , February, 2018, Director of Liberty and City Alumni, Martha Spurrier, whose life motto is “no fun without rules ” presented a talk at City, University of London , titled: ‘Why the Human Rights Act matters to each and every one of us’.
As Spurrier was a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers , before accepting the director position in 2016, it is not a surprise to report that the speech, in its delivery and content, was rousing. “I think we live in pretty extraordinary times” . Among the examples she mentioned was the Grenfell Tower fire in June, 2017, which “stands as a pretty dark icon” . Who knew the ‘right to sleep safely in our beds’ needed to be fought for? Another comment for reflection is the political climate change. Presently she said, “politics have put pollsters out of business” . This alludes to the last American presidential elections, which Republican candidate Donald Trump won, to the bewilderment of mainstream media. And the 2016 referendum, which asked the British public whether or not the UK (and Gibraltar) should remain in the EU, to which the response was a majority of 52% voting to leave.
Why does her opinion matter? Well, how about because for Martha, “human rights (is) the air that I breathe everyday” . Being the director of Liberty , or the National Council for Civil Liberties means everyday her objective is to head a an organisation (with a stronghold of 30 staff members) which upholds and protects rights and fundamental freedoms in the UK. No, she has not been a ‘victim’ of the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA), rather, her journey to this field of roses and thorns, was a purely intellectual, academic one. “Very often the people talking about the HRA are the people who have never had to use it.” This applies to both herself and those who are trying to dilute, replace or all together remove- it. Spurrier has seen the draft for the proposed British Bill of Rights and describes the document as “ terrifying…it removes all positive […]