Saturday, 16 July 2011

Bill of Responsibilities

Courtesy of Liberty Printers
tinyurl.com/6epcxuz
I saw something the other day which saddened me. A Blue Badge was placed on a dashboard of a car. Nothing unusual in that, there is everything right with giving less mobile members of our society a bit of break when it comes to parking. No, the saddening thing was that the badge had been padlocked to the steering wheel. There are things in life which need to remain taboo; apart from the obvious we don't queue jump, we don't say kittens aren't cute and we never steal from the disabled. It saddened me on two levels, firstly that the owner of the badge felt so insecure that they needed to padlock it but also, on a wider point, that society has become so impersonal and so devoid of any sense of responsibility that the theft of a Blue Badge is now very much fair game and in need of protecting as we now have to lock our doors even when we are in the house and we can't leave our car windows open, just a bit, in really hot weather.

Since the Coalition came to power there has been much talk about a 'Bill of Rights' in place of the Human Rights Act. An excellent move, as this will remove the whole issue of 'Rights' from the statutory arena. The Human Rights Act has done a great deal of good but its exploitation by unintended audiences has brought it into to disrepute and, like the News of the World, it has to go. My question is why stop at the 'Bill of Rights'. In fact why start at the Bill of Rights. My view is that before we publish a Bill of Rights we must first agree and publish a 'Bill of Responsibilities' and top of the list would be that everyone in society has a responsibility to respect everyone else; respect their property, their religion, their politics, etc, etc.

It's becoming a worn out phrase "you can't have rights without responsibilities" and perhaps this has never had a real meaning. But this is because there has never been anything to balance rights against. It should only be possible to exert your Bill of Rights if first you could show your regard and respect to a Bill of Responsibilities.

Bill of Responsibilities