Aristotle is regarded as one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. More than two thousand years after his death, he remains one of the most influential people who ever lived. His assertion that “the rule of law is better than that of any individual” is still considered to be a fundamental principle of western democracies.
The phrase was picked up by British jurist and constitutional theorist Professor Albert Venn Dicey in the nineteenth century. Dicey’s notion of the rule of law being applicable to all persons (individuals and government) without exception has since become a fundamental doctrine underpinning our (largely unwritten) constitution. Generations of lawyers have been trained in his theories.
Incidentally, Dicey also maintained that Parliament is the supreme law-maker, meaning that no body above Parliament may rule its laws illegal. I wonder what he would have made of recent interventions by the European Court of Human Rights. But I’ll leave that for another day.
Back to the point in hand. Ah yes, the supremacy of the rule of law. This week, despite the fact that they had enough evidence to form a “realistic prospect of conviction”, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute two doctors accused of offering to arrange abortions based on gender.
Sex-selection abortion is widespread in countries like China and India and the practice now seems to be spreading to multicultural Britain.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We are clear that gender selection abortion is against the law and completely unacceptable. This is a concerning development and I have written to the Attorney General to ask for urgent clarification on the grounds for this decision.”
As well he might, since the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, has declared that such a prosecution “would not be in the public interest.”
How could it possibly not be in the public interest to prosecute medical practitioners who condone and even promote gender selection? Is this an acceptable way to make multiculturalism work? And since when did the Crown Prosecution Service become empowered to act as prosecutor, judge and jury?
“At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.” Another of Aristotle’s wise sayings.