Michael Gove’s New Theatre of War: Justice and Human Rights


The country is in pain, it seems. The Conservatives’ return to power has brought forth a reactions from the public and media which is one of mourning. Giles Fraser described democracy post Conservatives-election as a “religion that has failed the poor”. With the party back in power fully through courting the “nastiness” which is the hallmark of the Cons, the coming five years do not bode well. Indeed, this is the party which completely eschewed the “Muslim vote”, completely in favour of other minorities.

Neoconservative Subversion of Democracy

However, the shock should be for far more serious reasons. In yet another incisive article, investigative journalist Dr. Nafeez Ahmed notes that the number of MPs in Parliament directly correlates to the amount of funding received. The Conservatives are a particular concern, with the corporate powers in the City bankrolling the party. Indeed, Tory-donors were financing both UKIP and Tory MPs in the run up to the election, with a UKIP-Conservative voting strategy being endorsed by the Conservative think-tank Bow Group. The Group has on the board of patrons the neoconservative thinker Roger Scruton, so lovingly cited by the likes of Douglas Murray in his book Neoconservatism, Why we Need it. Scruton has been a member of a previous neoconservative think-tank which has in the past hyped the threat of Marxism and left-wing infiltration of universities and schools (now that sounds familiar!). The reports, according to Scruton were “quietly encouraged by 10 Downing Street to concoct an outside pressure group to influence policy.” Furthermore, other members of the think-tank, such as Caroline Cox have been a part of reports on left-wing “radical minorities” published via think-tanks established by British and American intelligence agencies.

With it being well-established that UKIP has its roots in the intelligence services, Ahmed states,

“The curious overlap of MI5-MI6 officers with the Referendum, UKIP and Tory parties, and the movement of donors between all three parties, raises questions about the manipulation of the popular vote by a nexus of powerful British interests encompassing a network of corporate elites and Whitehall officials.”

With increasing speculation around the very likely possibility of security services disruption of the SNP, particularly Nicola Sturgeon and Ed Miliband, it brings to light the increasingly despotic situation Britain is currently in. However, the nexus between UKIP and neoconservatives is not surprising. I have previously documented how neocon extremist ideologue, Douglas Murray has expressed his admiration for Nigel Farrage. The Henry Jackson Society-linked Raheem Kassam has encouraged working with UKIP in the past also.

Michael Gove

With such desperate, sinister tactics subverting democracy, the question to ask of course is, why? From a neoconservative point of view, i.e. the viewpoint of the Tories, the reason is simple. In the words of American academic C. Bradley Thompson,

“The pragmatic neocon covets power – or rather the power to acquire power. That is what counts”.

More deeply however, it allows the wise statesmen (neocons) to perpetuate their “statecraft” – moulding, shaping and guiding society in to their Straussian-Platonic vision to attain national goals. What UKIP has allowed the Conservatives to do is push through authoritarian policies beneath the rhetoric of “extremism”, immigration and euro-scepticism, manifestly popularised amongst the masses by Farrage.

The man famed for his incursion into Birmingham Schools on the basis of lies, spin and utter discrimination against the Muslim minority in 2014 has now become the Secretary of State for Justice, in what has to be the most oxymoronic situation in the history of the Ministry. One thing is for sure, the anti-Islam, fear-mongering Gove is not exactly an objective paragon for justice.

I do not believe the movement from Education Secretary to Justice Secretary is incidental. In his capacity as the Education Secretary, Gove was able to utilise the usual neocon ingredients of deception, spin, manufacturing of an enemy to place the foundations for a “closed society” – the esoteric preference of neocons – to entrench discriminatory policies reminiscent of East Germany’s Stasi state. The causalities in this theatre of war, were, and still are, Muslims.

The judicial aspect is one which is troublesome for neocons. Whilst their exoteric rhetoric is one of preserving human rights, and “liberal values”, what we are witnessing is the destruction of these principles, due the fact that the courts and in particular the Human Rights Act have sought to restrain their fanaticism.

A War on the Human Rights Act

Why type of justice do neocons aspire to?

American neocon David Brooks, once called on American judges to use empathy rather than reason, as those who use reason are most likely to be “sociopaths who sometimes end up on death row”. Indeed, British neocons in the context of human rights, are no more rational in their defence of “liberal values”. Douglas Murray argued for human rights not to be universal,

“Under Article 2 of the ridiculous and newly invented European Convention of Human Rights, European countries are “forbidden” from deporting or rendering culprits if their lives may be in danger… To win this war lives of terrorists and inciters to terrorism should be considered as pitilessly on our streets and within our society as they are on foreign battlefields… The rights of the West’s people override those of the Islamist’s in their midst. And extradition should also include sending suspects away from our shores.” [1]

Michael Gove is not dissimilar when it comes to “rationality”. He disagreed with calls for a public inquiry into the increasingly disturbing Westminster paedophile ring, stating in what sounded like an excuse for paedophilia, that it was important to analyse what happened “when a different culture prevailed”.

Throughout his book Celsius 7/7 (a classic neocon manifesto, which dresses up its true authoritarian desires beneath the veneer of “principles” and “liberal values”), Gove harps on about how the West is perceived as weak by its “enemies” in defending its values. For instance, he writes,

“the Rushdie affair first demonstrated what those who protested against the cartoons already knew – the weakness of the West when it comes to defending its foundational principles.” [2]

Yet further in the book, Gove, echoing Murray, speaks of “defending liberty” by thoroughly undermining it,[3]

“There is an urgent need to defend [our values] at home… That will require changes in the way our security and justice systems operate. The demands of national security are different from those of criminal justice, and governments have traditionally accepted the need for exceptional legislation and the temporary curtailment of liberties. We should be clear that these are needed again…

There are specific changes to the way in which our law operates that do need to be seriously considered. Not least the mess in which our courts no find themselves as a result of this government’s application of the Human Rights Act.

Ironically, in the example Gove provides to demonstrate the “mess” of the Human Rights Act, the reasons for not extraditing an alleged terrorist is also given: evidence against the defendant was provided through torture. In other words, due process, is what prevented a suspected individual, not guilty, being extradited. Human rights are human rights, and if there must be a defence of liberal values, then subjecting them to a moratorium demonstrates the complete opposite: a full-scale offence on valued principles.

Gove continues his “defence of liberal values”, by scoffing at senior Law Lord Leonard Hoffman’s critique of the illiberal Counter-Terror laws, and in particular his statement that “the real threat to the life of the nation comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these.”

I have delved into why the neocons so ardently wish to do away with the Human Rights – it is perfectly in conformity with neoconservative thinking.

Repealing the Human Rights Acts means freeing the court’s interpretation obligations from the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights. The Conservative proposal, preposterously named Protecting Human Rights, has some disturbing proposals:

  • We will set out a clear test in how some of the inalienable rights apply to cases of deportation…
  • Our Bill will clarify these limitations on individual rights in certain circumstances
  • Some terms used in the Convention rights would benefit from a more precise definition, such as ‘degrading treatment or punishment’.
  • Limit the use of human rights to the most serious cases.
  • Limit the reach of human rights cases to UK – excluding British armed forces.

As ever with the neocon impulse, the interest in pushing the above proposals is one which allows the neocon statesmen to remove the impediments to greater control of, and intrusion into, the lives of people. By severing the connection to Strasbourg, the individual is left to the mercy of the state, the very entity human rights are meant to protect against. For the State to “set tests” on inalienable rights, “clarify” limitations on rights, and extremely shockingly “limit the use of human rights to the most serious cases”, makes for a recipe for abject oppression.

With regards to giving a “precise definition” to degrading treatment or punishment, it needs to be recalled that neocons are calling for, and overseeing, these changes. The neoconservative thinking is what allowed torture to be justified in the upper echelons of the US government, it is the same “persuasion” which drove Theresa May to strip the citizenship of a British national abroad only for them to be killed in drone strikes, and it is the same “mood” that made way for Douglas Murray to suggest there are “degrees of torture”, which are justifiable.

As for limiting human rights cases to the UK and dis-applying it to members of the armed forces, this once again protects the state from accountability. The former Guardian security editor, Richard Norton-Taylor wrote,

“What those opposed to applying European human rights law to military operations abroad do not say is that cases came to court as a result of the failures of the Ministry of Defence or the military establishment.

As the expensive Baha Mousa or al-Sweady inquiries, as well as other incidents involving the abuse of detainees, showed, British troops were inadequately trained, and ill-prepared, for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A further point to note is that the State proposing the above changes is the same neocon State which is now post-election, pushing the ultra-intrusive “Snooper’s Charter” – a law which would obligate internet and mobile phone companies to keep records of customer’s browsing activity, social media use, emails, voicemails, online gaming and text messaging for a year.

Latest reports suggest the proposals to abolish the Human Rights Act are now well underway.

Concluding Remarks

A new theatre of war has opened for neocons in Britain. Comprehending the above information, one realises that Michael Gove is pursuing his desires outlined in a book written nearly over a decade ago, which encapsulates the neoconservative outlook and hatred for mainstream Islam.

He is continuing the work, now unshackled from the coalition, he started so brutishly last year vis-à-vis the Trojan Hoax plot which allowed for the public consent for a publically-driven, surveillance state. The theme of the measures are consistent: protecting the state from rule of law and accountability while intruding on the people and tearing down established principles under architected and/or exaggerated pretexts. Certainly, the greatest threat to Britain has become the core of Westminster: neoconservatives. Intertwined within this totalitarian project is the hand of the security services in these elections. Indeed, what makes it even more chilling is when Michael Gove informed his readers in 2006 that,

“Changing out laws, vital as it is, can only, however, be one part of our response. We need to display resolution in the way we pay for our security, ensuring that our intelligence services and armed services are funded properly. We also need to ensure they get the political leadership they deserve to tackle the problems we face.”[4]

While the people protest the election outcome outside Downing Street, the intelligence services, the corporations and the neocon-warmongers have the “political leadership they deserve”.

Further Reading: Human Rights and Justice: Understanding the Neoconservative Threat


[1] Murray, D., Neoconservatism: Why We Need It, Encounter Books: New York, 2006, p.215

[2] Gove, M., Celsius 7/7, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2006, p.36

[3] Ibid. pp.136-137

[4] Ibid. p.137-138

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s