Theresa May’s successor should not allow the UK to be entangled in EU legal, defence and security projects

Theresa May’s successor should not allow the UK to be entangled in EU legal, defence and security projects

Napoleon is reputed to have said, scornfully, that the British are “a nation of shopkeepers”. Well, he then discovered that as warriors we didn’t do too badly, at Trafalgar and Waterloo.

However, to a large extent he was right. We have always been concerned with trade and prosperity, ever since Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations and David Ricardo pointed out the advantages for all of free trade between nations.

This concern has become almost a fixation on trade to the exclusion of all else, as regards our relations with Europe and with the EU project. Right from the beginning, we called it the Common Market. In 1975 we voted to remain in it, thinking (and being deliberately told) that it was basically just a free trade arrangement. Even today the argument is nearly all about how Remaining or Leaving will affect jobs and prosperity. We have disregarded the fact, openly proclaimed in continental nations, that the purpose of the project is to build a United State of Europe. The economic steps taken so far, like the single currency, have been but stepping stones to that ultimate aim, as the founding fathers wanted.

I have said a United State, singular, not United States, of Europe as it is commonly called. The Constitution of the United States (plural) of America defines matters which fall into the purview of the Federal government and distinguishes them from matters which are the exclusive prerogative of each individual State. Not so the draft EU “Constitution”, later translated into the Lisbon Treaty. This defines matters of “exclusive Union competence”, and matters of “shared competence”. The latter are areas where individual States may be allowed to legislate unless the Union has already legislated in them. There are no areas reserved for the exclusive competence of the member states. This means all power is in effect concentrated in the centre. Such is the Napoleonic model.

Now, if Europe is going to become a single State, we need to ask, what does that mean in practice? What is the essence of State power? The State is that body in society which alone can use violence, legally, on the bodies of the citizens. If anybody else seizes someone and locks them up, against their will, beating them and manhandling them forcibly if they resist, they are criminal kidnappers. But if officers of the State do it, under its laws, it is called justice. Likewise if a private person takes money from someone, threatening to seize their property by main force and lock them up if they refuse to pay, they are robbers. Or protection racketeers. But if the State does it, it is called taxation. These powers are regulated by the criminal laws of the State in question. The control of criminal laws is thus the handle for control of the State and of all the people in it.

The legal monopoly of the State over the use of violence also serves to constitute armed forces, which defend the State from external aggression, providing its external security. They can also be used on the home front, against disorders and rebellions, providing internal security where the police alone are unable, or perhaps unwilling, to cope.

The issue of Security is therefore not just about keeping people safe from criminals, or keeping a country safe from foreign invasion. Whoever controls the security services, internal and external, of a State, controls that State and all the people in it.

For 370 years now we in Britain have experienced transfers of power without violence, by voting, elections and agreed legal procedures. We think that to win power, what matters is the presentation of ideas, winning debates, column inches in papers, airtime on radio and TV. We have forgotten the old truth that when push comes to shove, bullets beat ballots. Or as Mao Tse-Tung put it, “Power springs from the barrel of a gun”. They are learning that lesson in Venezuela today. And they are aware of it in continental Europe, where nearly every nation has experienced violent transfers of political power in living memory.

All humans are accustomed to living under the power of a State. This power used to be vested in a King, who claimed a divine right to rule. Nowadays, at least in the “West”, it is considered that the only legitimate power derives its authority from the Will of the People. This is expressed in elections and occasionally in referendums.

To pursue its aim of building a United State of Europe, the Eurocrats in Brussels are now openly taking steps to set up a unified European Defence Force. Mrs May’s (badly misnamed) “Withdrawal Agreement” would bind the UK to sourcing our military matériel from EU providers. This alone would limit greatly our freedom of movement.

A group of retired high-ranking officers of our armed forces and intelligence services – Veterans for Britain – have been working to alert the public and the politicians to these developments. Their work has been largely ignored by the mainstream media. Clearly once the UK’s and other member states’ armed services are amalgamated into a unified force under the EU flag, controlled and commanded from Brussels, British regiments could be deployed to fight abroad in wars not decided by our Parliament.

Not only that, there is an even greater danger: our soldiers could then be stationed far from Britain, say, on the Ukrainian border, while, say, Latvian, German and Romanian units could be deployed in Britain, available for public order service, to face down riotous behaviour by members of the British public protesting, say, against laws passed by the Eurocrats in Brussels, whom we did not elect and cannot dismiss.

This would be the consequence of handing control over our external security to Brussels, as Theresa May was planning to do, and it appears, was already quietly doing (see PESCO and other measures monitored by Veterans for Britain). Her civil servants will doubtless aim to continue this process with her successor.

But Brussels also wants control over our internal security, our legal system and in particular our criminal laws. In 1997 the Commission held a seminar, which I attended, in Spain, to unveil its “Corpus Juris” project for an embryo single criminal code for all Europe. This code embodies the principles used in the Napoleonic-inquisitorial procedures of continental European countries, and our unique safeguards of individual freedom such as Habeas Corpus and Trial by Independent Jury, part of our Magna Carta heritage, were to be ditched.

It would set up a European Public Prosecutor, who would have a delegate in each member state, to whom national public prosecutors would owe a duty of “assistance”, i.e. would be subordinated. He and his delegates would be armed with fearsome powers of arrest and detention of suspects for up to six months, renewable for three months at a time, “pending investigation”, while the authorities seek evidence to justify the arrest, with no right by the prisoner to a public hearing during this time nor obligation on the prosecution to produce any evidence of a prima facie case to answer. This is the regular practice in countries governed by the Napoleonic-inquisitorial systems, and Corpus Juris would extend it to the British Isles.

Luckily this project was eventually brought to public attention, and in 1998 Kate Hoey, then Home Office Minister, promised Parliament that the Government would veto it if it were ever formally introduced. The next year a commission of the House of Lords, chaired by Lord Hope of Craighead, examined Corpus Juris and published a Report (HL 62) rejecting it.

However, at a conference in Tampere that year, the Blair Government put forward the idea of Mutual Recognition by member states of each other’s judicial decisions. This eventually led to the adoption of the European Arrest Warrant in 2003. It was opposed at the time by the Tory Party, but later, when they were in office, it was touted by May and David Cameron as a necessary tool for combating crime. Yet its main feature is that it dispenses with the need to show or indicate any evidence of wrong-doing to the court that is expected to extradite a suspect. It was presumably assumed by the MPs who blithely and blindly approved the measure, that the requesting state must have already gathered evidence before issuing the warrant, as is the normal practice in Britain. And that this evidence would be produced shortly after extradition had taken place.

What is unappreciated even by lawyers and law-givers in Britain, is that as often as not there is no evidence yet gathered by requesting states in Europe, since their procedures do not need any evidence previously gathered of a prima facie case to answer, in order to arrest and imprison someone. In numbers of cases this has caused considerable controversy in the UK. So far the argument that the EAW is illegitimate since it is repugnant to Magna Carta (sec. 38) has not yet been tested in court.

Each continental country has, not only a legal system that is quite alien to our own, but also police forces that are very different from ours. Ours are typically unarmed, locally recruited, commanded and deployed, and tasked with the prevention and detection of crime. Theirs are lethally armed at all times, nationally recruited and deployed, organised under a military central command, and tasked chiefly with the maintenance of public order.

Some fifteen years ago, Brussels decided to set up its own “European Gendarmerie Force. Eight EU member states are at present contributing their own “police forces with military status” to this Federal riot-police force, and they are training side by side in barracks in Vicenza, Northern Italy, being welded into a single body. So far they have been wearing an EU armband over their national uniforms, and have progressed to a unified headgear. Doubtless they will in due course be issued with a “European” uniform…

Under article 6.3 of the Treaty of Velsen, signed by the contributing states, they may be deployed in any state “with its consent”. What is perhaps not appreciated is that once they have set their boots on the territory of a member state, they will not be obliged to leave if that State says it withdraws its consent, for they owe allegiance only to Brussels.

The referendum debate in 2016 took place very largely around arguments of trade and control of borders. The issue of Security was almost entirely neglected. Yet if the result had gone the other way, if the Remain vote had won, the powers that be, in Brussels and in Westminster, would surely have taken this as a total acceptance by the British people of the entire EU project – hook, line and sinker. We would have found ourselves subjected to the full nine yards, namely:

  • No more opt-outs or rebates
  • Doubtless in due course adoption of the euro, as provided by the Lisbon Treaty
  • Not just the European Arrest Warrant, which is a stepping stone to Corpus Juris, but the full Corpus Juris itself
  • The amalgamation of our armed services into a unified EU Defence Force

We would have found ourselves inextricably bound in, a province of the European “Empire”. The danger, however, is not ended.

At present, we have Mrs May still at the helm and she will remain there until a successor can be found, maybe until mid-to late July. She is on record (Hansard) as having said, in reply to a Parliamentary Question by Dominic Raab in June 2012 when she was Home Secretary, through her Minister James Brokenshire, that “of course” she would call in “special intervention units from our EU allies onto British soil” if she “saw the need”. This would mean French Gendarmes, Italian Carabinieri, Spanish Guardia Civil – the very forces that make up the European Gendarmerie Force. Once here they would not leave, if asked to by a new British government. They would take orders only from their masters in Brussels, who claim supremacy over us.

This incredibly reckless, some might say treasonous, statement, has passed completely under the radar, unnoticed and uncommented upon by all. Her potential successors – including Dominic Raab who elicited this statement from her – must be asked to comment on it. The safety of the realm demands that nobody who does not reject it outright should be allowed near the levers of power.

She had also said she intended to sign a Security Treaty with the EU, “after Brexit”. She went to Munich to say she was “unconditionally” committed to this. Not only that, her then Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, told Parliament in 2017 that even after Brexit the Government aimed for us to remain a member of Europol, and to keep the European Arrest Warrant as is. A possible successor to Theresa May, Boris Johnson, is rumoured to have offered the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer to Amber Rudd if she backs his leadership bid…

We can thus see that while the British people have been engrossed in a debate about jobs and trade and prosperity, a spider’s web net of steel has been quietly spun around us, by the clever fellows in Brussels and their willing or ignorant accomplices amongst our own politicians. We still have a chance to break free, before the net closes in.

Whoever takes over from Theresa May must reject her “unconditional commitment” to accepting these fetters on our national – and personal – freedom. The European Arrest Warrant must be reformed, so that a British court is empowered to see, and assess, the evidence against a suspect, before granting extradition. Habeas Corpus must not be sacrificed. Otherwise Napoleon will be having the last laugh on us after all.