Qatada Syndrome strikes again

I have long warned about how the UK is in the middle of a major disease outbreak. No its not measles in Wales, but Qatada syndrome in Westminster. Symptoms of this disease involve paranoid ramblings about a chick-hawk wannabe Jihadi con man by the name of Abu Qatada, easily identified by the phalanx of special branch detectives following him around. Labour’s Harriet Harmon had a bad case of this disease, but Teresa May has come down really badly with it and it seems to have spread to Cameron also.

They are proposing a new law and even defying the European Court of human rights if necessary…of course they haven’t thought that far ahead as the result of that would be to allow Qatada and his family to sue the government and make a few million for “the cause” (the Mirror will have a field day with that one! the Tory party, official sponsors of Al Qaeda!). Nevermind the fact that they are playing into his hands by highlighting his cause when they should be simply ignoring him (leave it to immigration officials to kick him out) not using him as a political football.

Of course the UK is far from unique in having a problem with radical islamic “clerics“. Other European countries have similar problems. Are they threatening to withdraw from the EU human rights act? Actually no, largely because they’re too busy deporting these guys to go all Daily mail on the matter! As even the Express (hardly a bastion of pro-EU sentiment) seems to have worked out this week the French have deported numerous Qatada like figures with little difficulty and without getting into a messy legal battle with Strasbourg.

How do the French do it? Well they put the guy on the plane first, then allow his lawyers to start appealing afterwards. Because the French have a constitution there is little that Mr Jihadi can do to prevent his deportation beforehand, unless it can be proved to be unconstitutional (and that ain’t an easy thing to prove). Hence he often has to challenge the legality of the deportation after the event. Of course even if he wins and even though the French by law have to let him back in, one has to question whether the Arab state will let him go (of course this then becomes an internal legal issue for said Arab state and no longer a French problem).

By contrast in the UK, where we don’t have a constitution, the police, UKBA or government can’t tie its shoelaces on this issue without first asking a judge for permission. Inevitably once the threat of torture outside the UK is raised, judges (in the UK and in Strasbourg) often feel the safest course of action is to deny deportation.

The fact that the UK supported “rendition” of alleged Al-Qaeda subjects to countries like Gaddafi’s Libya and Syria back during the war on terror hardly helps as it suggests that Britain has a “reputation” for supporting torture (something any judge has to factor in). So in essence we can consider Qatada’s continued presence in the UK as the price we pay for Blair supporting Bush.

Similarly the whole “health and safety gone mad” is largely a UK phenomenon. There’s been a few issues in other parts of Europe but never the sorts of extremes seen in the UK (councils chopping down conker trees or banning cake sales sort of things), largely because this is being driven by risk adverse council’s fearful of being sued (what I refer to as SAPS, Save Ass Policy Schemes). They fear this because, without a constitution, its at the whim of a judge to decide things and obviously they’d rather not take the chance.

The solution to these legal issues isn’t to “defy Europe” but instead take a leaf out of Europe’s book. Bringing in a UK constitution would solve many of these legal issue, e.g. we could solve much of so-called “compo culture” by just putting a “common sense clause” into it (e.g. if you ‘re stupid enough to trip on the pavement this is you’re fault for being thick and not looking where you’re going).

Of course if the solution was that simple you may inquire why few of the major parties are keen on a UK constitution. Well that’s largely because what a constitution involves is transferring of power from the government and the court system back to the people. Obviously if you’re rich enough to be able to influence the government to pass the laws you want and can afford to buy justice (like those super injunctions of a few years ago) then the last thing you want is some sort of constitution (here or in the EU) giving the pleb’s a whole load of “rights“. Remember what happened in the American colonies when the Yanks got a whole load of new “rights“.

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