Friday, October 15, 2004

Europol is watching you

Cripes!! Turn my back for one minute and the newspapers are crammed with news about "Europe" – at least both the Telegraph and Times are, which is all I have had time to look at so far.

As well as stories, both these newspapers have leaders on the EU, each different but both linked by a commons theme. In this Blog I will deal briefly with the Telegraph offering and, in another Blog, with the points raised by The Times. I will then identify the linkages and broader issues in a third Blog, once I have dealt with my recent, and appalling experiences in the Irish Sea.

As to the Telegraph, then, this newspaper heads its leader with "Europol is Watching you", commenting on its own full-page spread encompassing three stories on the justice and home affairs theme. Click here, here, and here.

The brief point I want to make here is that the Telegraph seems, at last, to have discovered Tampere and the agreements made at the European Council in 1999, on extending Brussels jurisdiction into criminal justice, policing and immigration.

Five years on, however, the paper observes, "hardly anyone in Britain is aware of what is being done." One can only respond to this with a rather sour note by saying "well whose bloody fault is that then…", noting, after all, that the Telegraph is a newspaper which has the resources to make people aware of what is happening.

Better late than never, I suppose, but it is then galling to see the paper offer "Congratulations … to David Davis, the shadow home secretary, for alerting us to the menace in Parliament yesterday." "Part of his problem", it adds, is that "the scale and ambition of the Tampere agenda can make an accurate critique sound hysterical... A corpus of EU criminal law; a European police force; an EU prosecuting magistracy; a border gendarmerie; habeas corpus under threat - these things sound so outlandish that people are disinclined to believe them."

Tell us about it!!!

Despite this, the leader and all three pieces are an essential read, but take the leader conclusion with a pinch of salt: "It is often said that the Tories spend too much time talking about Europe. But, as Tampere demonstrates, the EU now affects virtually every aspect of public life in Britain."

The problem, we on this Blog would aver, is that the Tories - and the Telegraph - spend too little time talking about "the elephant in the room", and the latter rather too much time on such things as the girlfriends of English football managers. But it is, good to see that, at last, someone is beginning to wonder about the pile of foul-smelling ordure on the carpet.

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