Byline: MELANIE PHILIPS
THREE years ago, a handful of gipsy families moved on to land they bought in Chichester, West Sussex, in open defiance of the planning laws.
Despite the fact that they had no planning permission to live there, they built portable homes on the area they had unlawfully occupied.
This week, three judges in the Court of Appeal ruled that they should be allowed to stay, even though this was a flagrant breach of the planning laws.
The reason? Human rights law giving them 'the right to family life'.
The judges said that wherever local councils don't establish official sites for gypsies, such travellers will have the right to set up homes. Since few councils will do this, the ruling effectively gives the green light for illegal gipsy camps the length and breadth of the land to become legally untouchable.
The law will thus legitimise widespread lawbreaking.
In recent months, many gipsy groups have been setting up mobile homes on land where development is banned.
One group in Wiltshire has already been given permission by a High Court judge who ruled that it would cause 'hardship and suffering' to move them even though the gypsies were in 'flagrant and deliberate breach of planning control'.
Such breaches have caused widespread anger and distress.
In Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, there have been repeated complaints of verbal abuse, intimidation and antisocial behaviour by gypsies who set up camp half a mile from the village.
Impunity Now, though, the interests of such beleaguered residents have been simply swept aside by the Appeal Court, along with the previous decision of a High Court judge who had ruled that planning controls in this case had been correctly applied.
The implications of this important test case are simply astounding. They go way beyond the immediate issue of any local objections to gipsy behaviour.
For what the Appeal Court said, in effect, was that gypsies can break the law with impunity on the grounds that they are entitled to expect society to give them what they want, regardless of the effect upon anyone else.
How can it possibly be right for planning law to be swept aside in such a fashion as if it is of no consequence whatever? How can unlawful behaviour suddenly be deemed lawful, even though the law that prohibits it is still on the statute book?
The answer is that the Human Rights Act has become the law that subverts the rule of law itself.
Planning laws exist to regulate development on the grounds that actions which cause inconvenience or harm to others are not allowed. Until this case, we were all bound by this law as we
requirements that apply to the rest of us. All citizens have rights - but some, it appears, have more rights than others.
Indeed, what this case also illustrates is that, for our politically correct judges, the rights of minorities count for more than the rights of the majority. In case after case, self-designated victim groups are using the courts to confound the values or interests of the majority.
Terrified And they are able to do this because of the big lie at the heart of human rights law.
This is that no one could possibly object to the rights it confers because they are universal. But every right enshrined in the Act is balanced by an exception.
So by definition, these 'rights' are not universal at all. On the contrary, they are utterly dependent on the opinion, prejudices or whims of the judges who are called upon to arbitrate between them.
And those judges, who are terrified of being thought 'out of are bound by any other. But now, that fundamental principle has been destroyed. …