Friday, November 30, 2001

Anglophiles had best pop over to the Misty Isles for a last experience of Britain before the country is re-

duced to an oppressed province of the European Union.

Napoleon could not conquer England, nor could Hitler, but Socialist bureaucrats in Brussels have, with help from Tony Blair’s New Labor and British nonchalance. Britain is on its way back to the reign of Charles I, with its secret courts and imprisonment without trial or evidence.

Once-proud Brits are suffering the indignity of being gradually brought under European law by ministerial edicts that bypass Parliament. Recently, the British lost their ancient system of weights and measures, and now they are on the verge of losing their legal system, the development of which is, essentially, the history of Britain.

Although willing to be bullied along the path to European integration, the British steadfastly have held on to their justice system. And for good reason.

Historically, English law has been a shield of the people, standing in stark contrast to Europe’s Napoleonic criminal law, which does not safeguard law against its use by government as a weapon.

English law does not permit police to arrest citizens without evidence or to hold them more than 48 hours without presenting charges in open court. The European system permits police to arrest citizens on suspicion and to detain them indefinitely while preparing a case against them.

Moreover, the accused European has no right to see the evidence against him, no right to a jury trial and no right to an open court. His case is decided by a professional judge, whose career and advancement is dependent on the state that brings the case.

Under European law, there is no presumption of innocence or protection against double jeopardy. The accused can be subjected to repeated trials on the same charges until the state wins a guilty verdict.

The English fought a civil war to rid themselves of such an oppressive “justice system,” and now in a sweep of anti-terrorism hysteria the Blair government is sponsoring a “terrorism bill” that signs away the English birthright.

The Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Bill currently moving through Parliament contains a provision that removes Parliament from the decision to replace English law with Europe’s Corpus Juris. Unless Parliament rejects this provision, the EU Council of Ministers in Brussels, with the concurrence of the British Home Secretary, can vote away English legal protections and replace Habeas Corpus with the Napoleonic code.

The British also face the unpleasant prospect of being tried by European prosecutors for offenses that are not crimes in Britain. A few days ago, Law Lord Richard Scott asked the government to give more careful thought to the European arrest warrant. The warrant does not require evidence and would permit British citizens to be extradited to Europe for interrogation should they be suspected of crimes such as racism and xenophobia (fear or hatred of foreigners). Surely this spells the end of soccer.

Will this direct threat to British liberty cause the Brits to confront honestly the loss of sovereignty required by European integration? Lord Tebbit was succinct on Nov. 1 when he said ratification of the Nice Treaty (European integration) “would be both contrary to Magna Carta and a breach of the Coronation Oath, which sprang from the settlement of 1688” that established the accountability of law.

If the British decide to give up sovereignty, they might try for better terms. Why not form a European Union on the basis of English law? This would be a huge gain for all of Europe by bringing English liberties at long last to the Continent. Are the British people so smitten by Europe that they would give up their historic achievements and replace “law as shield” with “law as weapon”?

The Labor government has not been honest with the people about the implications of European Union. Instead, Brits have been led down the path with assurances that they can be both British and European. Now that shopkeepers are being arrested for selling by the pint and pound instead of by the liter and kilo, the British might realize that Europe is a threat to their national character and to their liberty.

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