STRASBOURG: COULD BE, SHOULD BE FREEDOM'S CAMELOT
David Maxwell Fyfe was invited to join the Europe Unite movement by Winston Churchill. After the war, and in opposition, Churchill committed himself to helping Europe heal itself. He was then adored by the liberated people of Europe, and worked hard to create the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly that worked alongside it. He was determined that the Germans should be involved as soon as possible.
Maxwel Fyfe's role in this nascent structure was as a champion of human rights, seeking to establish a code and court to protect the individual from arbtrary government, to forge freedom under the law.He did this in his role of chairman of the cultural committee of the Parliamenary Assembly, and supported by others, in particular Paul Tiegen, he harried the Council of Europe into ratifying a treaty.
The European Convention on Human Rights was controversial as it was agreed and is controversial today. Like Magna Carta, it challenges the power of government. Like Magna Carta it stands for something other than the freedoms that it protects. The conduct of the Court of Human Rights can seem perverse, but the idea that Europe is now safe is naive. Like Magna Carta the Convention may be undermined by the grasping hand of parliamentary sovereignty. Or perhaps the fundamental reforms to democracy will secure its future.
The European Court of Human Rights
The European Parliament
Petit France, Strasbourg
During the making of Under an English Heaven, Lily Blackmore took these photos of Strasbourg. We look forward to returning in 2017.
Conceived & directed by Tom Blackmore