The erosion of liberty continues apace. Watching it happen over time is like observing the crumbling white cliffs growing ever weaker as the waves crash into them. It is generally a gradual, continuous process but eventually comes the moment when a great chunk crumbles into the sea and is washed utterly away. Today is such a day; a sad day for Britain and a shaming one for Parliament. Most distressing of all is how few people are aware of it, and how even fewer seem to care. Make no mistake; this is a significant time in British history, one that will be studied far into the future. We are in the late stages of a long process in which we are willingly surrendering the independence of our legal system. It is the Conservative Party that is leading us down the dark, illiberal path to subjugation. For shame.
David Cameron has tried to portray himself as some kind of British bulldog fighting our corner in Brussels, he even disingenuously claimed to have secured the “greatest ever return of powers to the UK”. In May the Government opted our of 100 trivial criminal justice measures that have already been duplicated by national legislation or had never actually applied in the UK in the first place. The 35 measures that the Government have opted back into are the most dangerous and illiberal and consist of a large-scale transfer of sovereignty to the European Union. It is nothing less than a step towards the usurpation of the English legal system, which is necessary if we are to be fully integrated into the political state and be part of a common EU criminal justice system. Of all these measures there are none more potentially tyrannical than the European Arrest Warrant.
Not only does is it a total violation of our sovereignty, meaning we have to surrender our own citizens to other EU states on request. It is also another dangerous power for the British state to use and abuse at will. Only a fool trusts in the fear mongering line of defence that the EAW is an absolute necessity to defend us against the great bogeymen of our time, terrorists and paedophiles. It was possible to extradite terror suspects and sex offenders before the European Arrest Warrant was created and would be if were to remove ourselves from its jurisdiction. Furthermore, only a tiny amount of the people arrested under the EAW are accused of terrorism. Opting out of the EAW simply means that we would revert to having extradition agreements that we had before, the kind we have with many non-EU states
How often is the line carted out that the EAW is a “useful” or “essential tool” that the police and security services need in their arsenal? It gives the impression that the British authorities are deft craftsmen who will only use the “useful” tool when absolutely necessary and appropriate. One of the primary considerations when restraining the state is to think of how a certain power, or law, can go beyond whatever its original purpose was and lead to abuse or misuse in the future. An example might be when the social services and police hysterically overreact when a mother and father decide to remove their son from NHS care and seek treatment elsewhere. Oh well, he was only traumatised a little, and they were only held without cause, evidence or trial for a few day. All’s well that ends well.
This argument must be treated with the contempt is deserves. If we gave the police and security services every “useful tool” they asked for we would not have a shred of liberty left. The same propaganda is used to justify identity cards (which would’ve sealed our identity as serfs), 90 day detention, secret courts and mass surveillance. This is to be placed in the file which reads “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”– the mantra of the slave.
Under the European Arrest Warrant no evidence is required to justify extradition and in any case British courts have absolutely no power to consider whatever evidence there may be. It is a trivial bureaucratic matter, in other words, a simple form has to be filled in and then a British citizen can be carted off to a court in a foreign judicial system. That’s it, plain and simple; our centuries old protections of liberty can be dismissed arbitrarily because of a vague accusation made in another EU state without any evidence being provided. Not a peep of protest from EU fanatics, neither from the so-called “liberal” left who caused an uproar when the USA issued an extradition order for Gary McKinnon but raise no objections about the EAW when its tyrannical sights were set on Andrew Symeou or the King family or Keith Hainsworth (and there are many lower profile injustices). Incidentally, if Gary McKinnon was wanted in an EU country he would have been cuffed and extradited hastily back in 2002.
Extradition between countries is often necessary, however, it is surely only right and correct that before the suspect is extradited a court should consider if there is a case to answer? There would be an uproar if somebody was held on remand in Britain without any evidence of wrongdoing, how can anybody (let alone a self-styled conservative or liberal) support a situation in which someone can be dragged off to another country without a court in Britain being able to look at the evidence?
This is the crux of the matter. This European Arrest Warrant is a disgraceful interference in our internal affairs, a further blow to liberty and a violation of our national independence. It is one step further towards a pan-European criminal justice system. Theresa May’s amendments and guarantees are flimsy and it is the EU parliament that decides when they apply, not our own. Britain has, or rather had, some great pioneering traditions of liberty; Habeas Corpus, the presumption of innocence and the guarantee of a fair trial by jury to name but a few. Today in parliament they have been disgraced and we have been betrayed.