Friday, 27 April 2012

Shut Up And Pay Your Taxes

I was a Civil Servant for nearly twenty years. I don't think I understood the job description properly because I signed up on the premise that I was serving my fellow citizens, on the off chance that most of what I did would be to the benefit of the common weal. Well, apart from compulsory purchase, which is morally identical to the Argentine invasion of the Falklands in 1982.

Anyway, I recently emailed Theresa May on the subject of Graham Mitchell and digressed onto Christopher Tappin and Abu Qatada and the whole dogs breakfast that is extradition:

"Dear Home Secretary,

Please suspend the operation of the European Arrest Warrant with immediate effect because the Portugese Judiciary for one does not even meet the standards of a Kafka-esque Kangaroo Court.

And while you are doing Good Things, may I suggest that you also suspend the UK-US Extradition (One-Sided Kidnap) Treaty because allowing British citizens to be rendered to a country where pensioners are shackled and unarmed black boys can be shot on the street with impunity is wrong.

Finally put that terrorist on a plane to Jordan and deport all other foreign terrorists without regard to their possible welfare: my safety takes precedence over that of people who want to kill me and my family and friends.

My decision on how I vote in the next elections will depend on how the Liberal-Democrat-led Coalition defends the human rights of British people.

Yours Sincerely,

Brian"
 
Over a month on from 23 March, I received this reply:
 
"Dear [Brian],


Thank you for your e-mail of 23 March 2012 regarding the operation of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) and the UK-US Extradition Treaty. I have carefully noted the concerns raised in your letter, which has been forwarded to the section responsible for extradition.
You may be aware that the EAW is administered by the Judicial Authorities of Member States; as such there is no Ministerial involvement in its operation. The Home Secretary therefore has no power to intervene in EAW cases.
The EAW is a system of surrender between judicial authorities based on a high level of confidence between Member States in respect of judicial decisions. I am not at liberty to comment further on your assertions regarding the Portuguese Judiciary.
As you may be aware, Sir Scott Baker’s independent review of the UK’s extradition arrangements was published on 18 October 2011. The report makes a number of recommendations to improve the UK’s extradition arrangements both with the European Union and its wider extradition partners, including the US. The findings of the report can be found at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/police/operational-policing/extradition-review
It is important to note that these are the findings of the panel, which the Home Secretary has not yet accepted. The Government is now carefully examining the review panel’s findings and will announce what action it will take shortly.
Turning to Abu Qatada; as you will be aware he has sought to have his case reviewed by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The Government maintains that his application was made after the deadline for further appeal. A panel of five judges of the Court will now consider whether Abu Qatada’s application is admissible. The panel will consider both the timeliness and the merits of the application.
The Government maintains that Abu Qatada is a very dangerous man, and is determined to deport him from the United Kingdom for good. However, they respect the rule of law and accept that the deportation must not be in breach either of our domestic law or our international obligations. This is why there can be no question of simply ignoring the ECtHR’s determination, or seeking to remove Abu Qatada before the panel has had the opportunity to consider his application. Nonetheless, as soon as this can legally be achieved, they remain convinced that Abu Qatada should be removed from the United Kingdom.
I am sorry I can be of no further assistance in this matter.

Yours sincerely,


Extradition section"

So there you have it, the British Government is utterly powerless.

2 comments:

farmland investment said...

You know, what I find fascinating about this is not finding out the UK is powerless in all these matters. The trend on that has been frightfully clear over the last couple of decades. What is almost comical though is that given the note of your letter, you actually received a reply, and a rather long and responsive one at that! I just had to crack up looking at your missive and then the dry bureaucratic reply you received. As I get older, I tend to find some of the oddest things amusing, so maybe this is one of those cases?

Brian said...

The Civil Service has its customer service wingow dressing like answering letters to hide what is going on behind the scenes from the sheep.
I used the Heenry Root letters as the source of inspiration for mt letter in the full knowledge that I wouldn't cause an epiphany in government policy, merrely a restatement of the relevant policy lines to take, cut and pasted from other documents.
I don't expect a change in policy as a result of my letter because I am neither wealthy nor a media proprietor, but I hope it made them laugh in the correspondence section. It may have planted or nurtued seeds of doubt in the Civil Servants' heads. Ridicule can weaken and topple most things.