Step by step we are getting our country back. Which is nothing less than what we asked for
I suspect most of us are still in the frame of mind of wishing to pretend that much of the last four years hadn’t happened. But cast your mind back to the dog-days of Brexit. That time when the country was stuck with an unworkable parliament and Gina Miller and Andrew Adonis2020欧洲杯足球即时比分 seemed to appear semi-constantly before our eyes. In those dark days the people trying to trick the country into remaining in the EU frequently used some variation of the following line: “It’s not clear what the voters meant when they voted. After all, what does it actually mean to ‘leave’ the EU?”
Through the chalklike substance into which some of us had by then ground our teeth we would manage to say, “It means leaving the EU.” “Aha,” the reply would come back. “But what do you mean by the EU?”
At this point some of us started to fear we would lose our heads as well as our teeth. But the answer that I found worked best was: “The whole caboodle. The parliament, the customs union and the court. Especially the court.” Which is one reason why the news this week that the UK is going to leave the jurisdiction of the European Arrest Warrant is so pleasing.
O2020欧洲杯足球即时比分f course there was always a problem with arguing for our removal from this process. Arguing that you are keen to get out of the jurisdiction of an arrest warrant is the sort of thing that can bring suspicions down on a fellow. “What exactly do you think he’s done?” people might choose to whisper.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Worse still there was the willingness to use hard cases. This was the sort of thing Nick Clegg was especially keen on. The moment that someone argued that we should get out of the European Arrest Warrant, Mr Clegg would be on to it almost as fast as he was on to Facebook once he’d lost his parliamentary seat.
“Aha,” he would say, a gleam of imminent victory in his eyes. “So you want a famous paedophile/bank robber/genocidist to walk free do you? You’ll be happy will you, for this rampaging murderous child-abuser to go on holiday and keep holidaying for the rest of his days?”
Hard cases make bad laws, they say. But here was a case of a bad example making a worse argument. There were two principal problems with it. The first was that it is still illegal to kill people in most of Europe. Many of these governments look down on murder. The fact that you withdraw from one instrument of arrest does not mean that from the next day it is holiday time for murderers across the land. The EU’s own existing arrangements with Iceland and Norway demonstrate that. Extradition treaties exist and can even be improved without handing to any foreign judge across the continent the right to issue an arrest warrant on somebody in the UK.
And that fact is worth dwelling on as we remember another aspect of that argument that was so badly misrepresented in recent years. That is the question of sovereignty.
It is another issue that the panjandrums of Remain were always sniffy about. If you pointed to all the opinion polling and data that proved what many of us felt in our bones – that the British public are uncommonly sensitive to issues of sovereignty – then another sniff occurred. The general public had no idea what sovereignty was, you would be told. It was too abstract and complex a concept to be understood by non-lawyers. Of all the fibs told about the British public in recent years this was one of the worst. The fib that the erosion of our sovereignty over recent decades was a concept too complex for us to grasp. That fact is that we grasped it – and grasp it still – very well.
W2020欧洲杯足球即时比分e know that if our laws are not made here in Britain we are not a sovereign country. We know that if foreign judges make our laws, or are able to make judgments that operate inside our borders, then we are effectively not a sovereign country. It turns out that sovereignty is an eminently easy concept to grasp. The British people grasped it and voted accordingly almost four years ago.
And that is why the news about the European Arrest Warrant is so welcome. In all these recent years there was a risk that a weak British government might be tempted to take us out of the EU a little bit. Take our MEPs out of the parliaments in Brussels and Strasbourg, for instance, but leave us having to accept EU laws in most respects. Or leave the customs union but have to remain in total, obedient alignment with every fluctuation in European custom alterations until the end of time, or of the EU, whichever comes first.
So the fate of the European Arrest Warrant is therefore significant, not least because in PR terms it is one of the fights that Continuity Remain will throw everything they have at. We can expect them on the airwaves for some time to come telling us that this decision in some way puts the Government on the side of international criminals. They will argue that there are dark motives behind this decision. And if the Conservatives did not have a healthy 80-strong majority in the House of Commons it is precisely these sorts of arguments that could have put such decisions on a knife-edge. Only a year ago such an announcement would have caused an eruption of Wollastons and Soubrys. Some votes would have been swayed by their bunkum and we’d have been off again, with yet another issue that the Government was not allowed to address.
But – deo gratias – we no longer live in the failed state we did only a few months ago. Today the British Government is able to make decisions that are correct, right and popular with the public, even if a few noisy voices in the Left-wing media and whatever remains of the Liberal Democrats disagree with it. Step by step we are getting our country back. Which is nothing less than what we asked for.