Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Victims' wrongs

With so much attention on the forthcoming demise of the euro – and with it, one hopes, the collapse of the European Union – it is easy to forget that the evil empire marches on regardless, its Brussels-based eurocrats entirely unfazed by the destruction of the entire global economic order.

One sign of that activity came with the EU commission work programme for 2012, but another little delight waiting for us is the proposed directive "establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime".

Quite what that has got to do with cross-border trade or stopping Germany from invading France (or vice versa) is anybody's guess, but the proposal was snuck in last May as COM(2011) 275 final, under the Justice and Home Affairs portfolio.

Despite the UK automatically being excluded from such directives unless it chooses otherwise, the "eurosceptic" Boy has permitted an opt-in, which means that when the directive comes into force, it will apply to Britain, even though there was no need.

Some might think that there is little chance of this administration going for the repatriation of powers if it is voluntarily accepting directives when there is no need to do so, and they would probably be right. Forget the smoke and mirrors emanating from Tory Central Command. The march of EU integration is alive and kicking in Whitehall.

Now, however, the Failygraph - which is in favour of our continued membership of the European Union – is whingeing about the possible effects any directive might have on UK armed forces deployed abroad.

It would appear that, as currently drafted, the directive would confer "directly enforceable rights" in the British military justice system on anyone claiming they had been mistreated by British personnel anywhere in the world.

Needless to say, the administration is seeking to play down such concerns, arguing that the overall effect of a directive would be beneficial, as it will "help to ensure that Britons who become victims of crime when travelling in Europe are given the support they need".

One has to acknowledge that things certainly could be improved, but it is hard to see any directive having any effect on the Paris police, much less on the plods in the outer reaches of Rumania.

Nevertheless, by the time the directive hits the law books, one can be assured that the UK will implement it fully, to the letter, and if it does allow fuzzies beaten up by brown jobs to claim shed-loads of our cash, we can be sure that HMG will be right there with an open cheque book.

You can bet your sweet life, though, that soldiers who are killed or maimed while on duty abroad will not benefit in the slightest. Victims' rights, in this context, will suddenly evaporate.