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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Thursday, February 08, 2007

EU to Set Punishments

Franco Frattini has launched his latest attack on the independence of national justice systems.

Releasing toxic chemicals, dumping hazardous waste and other serious "green crimes" would be punished by up to 10 years in prison and a €1.5m fine anywhere in Europe.
This crosses the boundary, by setting penalties at EU level. But sod sovereignty and all that, the people want it:
Franco Frattini, European commissioner for justice and home affairs, believes that the public is so concerned about damage to the environment that the measure will be popular across the continent.
The bastards never miss an opportunity do they. Even more worrying is the eagerness of some of our own quislings to collaborate.
The move is backed by UK Conservative environment spokeswoman MEP Caroline Jackson, in a U-turn on the party's traditional stance on EU matters. "EU leaders should establish a clear unified legal framework so that environmental lawbreakers can be prosecuted through their criminal courts in all 27 member states," Jackson said.
I look forward to this woman being deselected.


paige said...

But then it is good to know that the Conservatives despite proclaiming their objections to the ID cards are in fact for a pro Nazis style of policing..
Comments by Lord Lucas of Crudwell & Dingwell (Cons)
.43 pm
Lord Lucas: My Lords, I shall concentrate on Part 3 of the Bill, the information-sharing provisions, and try to persuade my Front Bench and the Liberal Front Bench that this continual trying to stop the tide will just not work. They are in much the same position as Canute was without showing his wisdom.

There are so many good reasons to undertake data sharing. In any individual case you could persuade certainly this Government and I would imagine any Government that it is worth doing. If you are concerned about, for instance, the misuse of provision to support people when they claim that they are disabled, why not take data on people claiming disability benefit and match it, say, with camera data to see who is hopping and skipping round merrily in their town centres when they are supposed to be confined to a wheelchair? Why not look at the data from their credit cards or telephones to see whether they are ranging round the country when they are so disabled? Why not look at their medical and tax data to see what sort of income these people have and whether that is compatible with what they are saving? There is an argument in favour of this which it is possible for the Government to make when faced with substantial levels of fraud. They can say that fraud must be prevented and all that will happen is that people with suspicious patterns of data will be investigated. We will become much more effective at detecting fraud than we were before.

There is no good argument before the event for preventing these sorts of activities. The process of this Government and I would imagine of any following Government will be to do this more and more as capabilities improve, because it is the most effective way of preventing fraud. What we have to do, surely, is to ensure that what is being done is within what we find acceptable. The key to that is to know what is being done. So I want to persuade my Front Bench to support the provisions in the Bill—to make a start in this Bill, anyway—that say that where the provisions of Clauses 61 and onwards are used, such use must be registered with the Information Commissioner’s office and the commissioner must have the power to find out more about what is being done in a particular case and to make reports on it. In that way we will build up a real understanding of what is being done in our name and we can consider each individual case in relation to the request that was made, what has been done with the information, and any complaints made to the commissioner about it. We can then judge whether the powers are being used reasonably. There is always an argument for such powers, but there is always a suspicion that when these powers are given they will be used unreasonably.

There are many arguments for traffic wardens and for the enforcement of parking tickets. When, some 15 years ago, we passed legislation to decriminalise parking restrictions, it was done with the best of intentions. Now, some councils in this country set out to make the lives of their citizens a misery and to do so in order to generate revenue for themselves. The thing has gone beyond what is reasonable. If you do not have data to show what is going on, it is very

7 Feb 2007 : Column 747

difficult indeed to challenge that. The Government are making efforts now to row back on that by removing the incentives given to parking enforcement companies to issue ever greater numbers of tickets and by introducing measures to ensure that efforts are put into keeping the main roads clear, rather than into persecuting mums dropping off their children in the back streets. If we know what is going on, we can pick up on misuse. If misuse is going on at the level the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, talked about, we can say, “This has gone too far and we need to do something about it”.

At the moment, the public want us to do this. They like the idea of fraud being prevented and do not see the danger to themselves. That is fine, and my noble friend on the Front Bench suggested that that understanding permeates her own team. This is not a Bill that will be easy to stand up to because the public do not share in such libertarian outrage as we have. I understand it when the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, and others say that Part 1 of the Bill is a constitutional outrage, but it is going to be very difficult to stand up against it in the current climate. So the way to deal with our worries about data matching is to make sure that we have the information. If Part 1 is to go through, it must do so on the basis that we will record properly what serious crime prevention orders are—who they are given to, why they have been issued, what has been their effect—so that, unlike ASBOs, we know how they are being used and thus apply the proper level of scrutiny to the application of this extraordinary power.

I share all the reservations expressed by the Liberal Front Bench and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd, about the direction in which this Bill is taking us, but I do not see that it is stoppable. I do not see a power in the public will to go against it. But we must ensure that we know what is happening in our name. We must understand enough about this measure to ensure that if and when it goes too far we can put a quick stop to it.

Arthurian Legend said...

Arthurian Legend, Islington's newest blogger, has just linked to you...

The Leadership Blogger said...

How big is the slush fund the EU uses to bribe our own politicians to sell this country out to the EU? Bigger than the (alleged)BAe one, I'll bet. And we pay for it.

Anonymous said...

The reason this line is being taken is because waste disposal has been totally ignored by this governemnt, it has consistently failed to implemement effective strategies to deal with it. Do you remember the fridge mountains? The same is happening with the new electrical directive.

James Higham said...

This one's a hard call. Yes, Europe should keep their f-ing hands off but at the same time, toxic waste in the rivers is not a nice thing.

The Leadership Blogger said...

Dunno what Paige is on about, but: " When, some 15 years ago, we passed legislation to decriminalise parking restrictions, it was done with the best of intentions." is risable. If by "best of intentions" he means it was done to enable them to raise vast amounts of cash, well, they did so.
The purpose of data sharing / ID cards is NOT to ease things for the ciizen, or to make public serves more effective. It IS because this government has a stalnist attitude to the population - the pople are servants of the state and must be monitored, controlled, punished, in support of the state. It has F all to do with ANY of the justfications thay give, absolutely F all. They know perfectly well it will prevent NO crime, and is very dangerous to democracy, but they aren't democrats anyway.

Serf said...

This one's a hard call. Yes, Europe should keep their f-ing hands off but at the same time, toxic waste in the rivers is not a nice thing.

James, they are getting to you.

Where rivers cross national borders (for example) obviously pollution problems are not confined to national borders. Allowing nations (or effected individuals) to sue upstream polluters in some EU court or other would solve this problem.

However, what they are proposing here is to harmonise punishments, as a first step towards destroying our national justice systems.

Never forget, you could theorectically agree with every law that comes out of Brussels and still believe that the EU shouldn't exist.