- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Is Britain, our junior partner in “bringing democracy to Iraq,” itself a democracy? Apparently not. Prime Minister Tony Blair has decided that he alone is to say whether Britain loses its sovereignty and the British people lose their ancient tradition of accountable law.

Next month, Mr. Blair intends to give his approval to a new European Union constitution, which would create a United States of Europe and turn Parliament into the equivalent of a local council.

Trevor Kavanagh, political editor of the Sun, Britain’s largest newspaper, says Mr. Blair’s decision signs away 1,000 years of British sovereignty and hands “control of our economic, defense, foreign and immigration policies to Brussels. The EU will also gain authority over our justice, transport, health and commerce systems — and dictate the strength of union power.”

Mr. Blair has ruled out a referendum or vote on his decision to terminate the existence of Britain as a country. He says the issue is too complicated for voters to understand.

Think about that for a moment. Do you think it is too difficult for people to understand the difference between being an independent country and a province in a European empire? Do you think voters can’t understand the difference between electing a government that is accountable to them and being ruled from afar?

Not even dictators claim the power to terminate the sovereignty of the countries they rule.

The Sun conducted a survey to determine what the British thought about Mr. Blair terminating their country next month. The newspaper discovered that 81 percent of voters were unaware of the imminent loss of national existence. Eighty-four percent thought the people should have a vote on whether there is to be an England after June.

Even Valery Giscard d’Estaing, the gung-ho pro-Europe former president of France, says it is vital that people vote. Otherwise, the new European state begins as a coup d’etat.

As Britain would no longer exist, it could no longer sit on the U.N. Security Council or be a member of the Group of Eight leading industrialized countries. Britain’s unique legal system, with its habeas corpus and double jeopardy protections, would cease to exist. Native Britons could be imprisoned for voicing opposition to their cities being overrun by Third World immigrants.

But Mr. Blair thinks these changes are too difficult for British voters to evaluate.

The Sun says it is going to campaign for a referendum and not give up the country without a fight.

The rest of the British media and Parliament apparently believe that Britain is not worth saving. Few seem concerned that a democracy will cease to exist without the consent of the people.

This fact itself seems to suggest that Britain has already made the transition to tyranny. Physical torture chambers might not exist, but psychological torture does. Britons can be arrested for self-defense. Imagine having to decide whether to submit to rape, robbery or assault or face arrest for responding with excessive force. Force capable of driving off an attacker is likely to be “excessive,” especially if accomplished with use of a weapon.

In the early days of U.S. “airport security,” women had silver bullets on their charm bracelets confiscated, as if these were real weapons. In Britain, toy guns can mean arrest and loss of job. On Aug. 2, 2002, the Evening Standard reported that three 12-year olds in Northumbria were arrested by police for playing James Bond with a plastic toy gun. The children now have police records, and their DNA and fingerprints are on file for life. Recently, a college professor was dismissed, because he permitted a student in his photography class to use a toy rifle as a prop in her photos.

Habeas corpus and protection against double jeopardy mean little when criminal sanctions apply to self-defense and to children playing with toy guns.

It might be that, practically speaking, the British have already lost the protection of their law. In choosing Mr. Blair, perhaps the British people showed an indifference to continued national sovereignty.

Such a sorry example of democracy as Tony Blair’s Britain is not a role model for Iraq. In any event, democracy is unlikely to get far in Iraq. The United States will oppose democracy if it means an Islamic government under the Shi’ite majority. The Sunnis and Kurds will themselves object to rule by the Shi’ite majority. One has the feeling that multicultural Iraq is heading in three directions or back to dictatorship.

Let’s see, no weapons of mass destruction, no democracy — why was it we invaded Iraq?

Paul Craig Roberts is a columnist for The Washington Times and is nationally syndicated.

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