Monday, 29 March 2010

The EU - A Guest Post


A slow poison in the body politic

Increased powers for the EU's operational police force, Europol, are one part of a scheme to create a unified system of law enforcement across the EU. The EU has also established a paramilitary gendarmerie. The British government has repeatedly refused in Parliament to guarantee that it will not be deployed here. Like most EU projects, these things work like a slow-acting poison in the body politic and started a long time ago.

Back in April 1999, the European parliament voted to accept a document called “Corpus Juris” (Body of Law), a legal code for the whole of the EU. It provided for a prosecutor with authority to lock people up on mere suspicion without bringing any charge. The document itself says that the aim is “ a fairer and more efficient system of repression”. It also abolishes both Habeas Corpus (compelling the state to produce a remand prisoner in open court) and trial by jury.

This system was opposed both by Labour and Conservatives in Britain. The responsible minister at the time was Kate Hoey, who took a very strong line. Yet Labour and Conservative MEPs both voted for this alien system. The Conservatives eventually admitted that they had “pressed the wrong button”. Labour MEPs never did come clean. I should emphasise that this happened before Roger Helmer was elected as an MEP! I was standing against him for UKIP at the time.

The reason for the strange vote is simple enough. MEPs mostly do not know what they are voting about. They vote on hundreds of items in an hour, long separated from any debate. Unless they have taken a particular interest in a matter, they simply vote to a “shopping list” provided by their parliamentary group. That is the extent of democratic input into the EU law-making process.

The late Phillip Whitehead MEP (Labour), whom I rather liked personally, wrote in the local press that he stood foursquare behind long-established British legal rights, like those in Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights, but it didn't stop him voting for Corpus Juris which would abolish most of them over time. That time is now very close.

Two men were recently extradited to Latvia under a European Arrest Warrant which is another building block of the Corpus Juris system. Some EU countries are so corrupt that even the EU Commission has noticed. Yet British courts are compelled to enforce the warrants of these courts as equivalent to our own.

Charged with assaulting a police officer, the men spent three months banged up, were tried and found not guilty. The prosecutor then appealed against the acquittal and they had to face trial again. Roman Law systems do not have a rule against double jeopardy. The chief prosecution witness was too ill to appear this time, so the matter is still hanging over them. Roger Helmer MEP (Conservative) went to Latvia to intercede with the authorities to have the matter dropped but, so far, without success.

The Lisbon treaty provides for the creation of a European Public Prosecutor. For the time being Britain has an opt out but the government can decide to opt in to this inquisitorial system of “investigative detention” at any time and does not need to ask Parliament's permission.

It was a kind gesture of Roger Helmer's to support these unfortunate men, placed in double jeopardy in an alien system but it was just a gesture. The only way to guarantee rights, which have existed in this country for hundreds of years, is for British courts to refuse to execute the warrants of foreign prosecutors unless they produce prima facie evidence. To do that we have to leave the EU. I am sure that Mr. Helmer's party would romp home with a large majority if it promised to do just that.

Edward Spalton

29 March 2010


Mark Wadsworth said...

Please note that while the Bill of Rights is hugely important and serves mainly to restrict the power of government, the Magna Carta did no such thing.

What the Magna Carta did was strengthen the position of the barns/the landowners vis a vis the King, and said basically that that barons were no longer going to pay their feudal duties (aka ground rents) while of course reserving the right to continue to collect ground rents from those 'beneath' them.

Further, if the King wanted money, he'd have to exploit the little guy directly, so the King invented all manner of further taxes which the iittle guy had to pay on top of his ground rent - the little guy got absolutely nothing out of the Magna Carta.

Sue said...

I'm just waiting for the whole thing to implode. It's bound to and then we can all celebrate.

The UK is not the only country in Europe where the electorate are sick and tired of the corrupt EU.

The only way the United Kingdom (at least England stands a chance of getting out is voting UKIP).

Shame the Conservatives are just as guilty of treason as the other two!

subrosa said...

I'm sure Edward will appreciate your comments Mark.

subrosa said...

Oh Sue, I can but dream. Who will blow it? France?

Mr. Mxyzptlk said...

And down in the E.U. cul-de-sac the usual suspects we will leave them there...........(strange lonely bunch) shakes head and goes off to make lovely cup of tea

subrosa said...

It's a cul-de-sac right enough Niko. More's the pity.

Apogee said...

Very Probably, Sue is right, unfortunately it will be extremely messy, and those who survive will be considerably worse off for for the better part of a century, and after that, the result is problematical !


Mrs Rigby said...

"The only way to guarantee rights, which have existed in this country for hundreds of years, is for British courts to refuse to execute the warrants of foreign prosecutors unless they produce prima facie evidence."

They won't do that because here in Britain you can now be locked up for 28 days without being charged, and without any evidence being brought against you. It's even possible to be taken to trial without knowing the crime, and without the right to see the evidence against you. It's also possible to be tried in private, without benefit of a Jury.

Dark Lochnagar said...

Edward, it's nice to come on this blog and read a well written and researched post, not like the usual drivel we have to put up with. May I point out however, that the Magna Carta does not apply here in the way it does in England as we in Scotland have had our own sysytem of law since the reign of King Malcolm, (known as Malcolm, the red gub due to the prominent birthmark down one side of his face), in the ninth century. However if I resided in your fair country, a life I would enjoy as I am fond of the sound of leather on willow and of quaffing the odd pint of warm ale, then my dear Edward, I would certainly be voting UKIP.

Lee Enfield Mk1 said...

I heard with much hilarity tonight on the BBC World Service some woman - an Irish europhile - suggesting that Habeus Corpus was not as good as suggested, referencing (1) Alice in Wonderland and (b) some WW2 case. Funny how, with the exception of Sweden, Ireland, Britain and Switzerland, all other countries in Europe have been under the peace loving rule of Communists or Fascists, hardly known for their respect for legal niceties.

subrosa said...

It wasn't me Lee. Honestly, I have a Scots accent. :)

subrosa said...

Ah DL, I don't know quite how to take your first sentence. ;)

I wondered if a Scot would mention that fact. You win the prize. Pity you've taken so long though because the bottle is nearly finished. :)

subrosa said...

This is a comment from Edward. He's having difficulty getting comments to work.

I think the historical spoof "1066 and All That" made your point very
well. It listed all the things which are claimed for Magna Carta and
added "EXCEPT THE COMMON PEOPLE". It is not so much what Magna Carta
actually did at the time as the importance which succeeding generations
attributed to it - like Lord Justice Coke - "Magna Carta hath no

Its principle of government being "under the law" was appealed to by the
parliamentarians of the 1640s, the progenitors of the 1688 Revolution,
the American Founding Fathers, 19th century Chartists and lauded to the
skies in splendid prose by Whig historians. "Liberi homines" (free men)
had a far more restricted meaning in 1215 than it did later years.

If you mention Magna Carta amongst American lawyers, it is still clearly
held as a living inspiration of principle. Do the same amongst British
lawyers and you receive the same sort of pitying, superior condescension
that you get from Church of England clergy if you have the bad taste to
refer to the 39 Articles of Religion to which they all subscribe.

subrosa said...

Another comment from Edward. This time for you DL.

Dark Lochnagar.

It is over a year since I last read Magna Carta (on a visit to Salisbury
Cathedral). Whilst the main effects have been on English law and
constitution, it was not just an English show. There were
representatives present from Scotland, Ireland and Wales and clauses
dealing with outstanding problems in the affairs of the three kingdoms
and principality. I suppose that a Keith Vaz-like character of the day
might have described it as "a tidying up exercise"! - However that was
said in Norman French or Latin.

Dark Lochnagar said...

Thanks Rosie. I bet I had you going there for a minute! Edward thanks that is very interesting, I must research it further.

subrosa said...

You did DL, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. ;)

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