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Jerry Hayes

Cameron must act quickly on the European Investigation Order; Euronutters are being poked with a very sharp stick.

July 16th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

There are three words that are guaranteed to send a shiver down the spine of David Cameron; European Investigation Order. And coupled with the name of David Davis, the prince across the water, there is the possibility of a serious row that could severely shake the coalition before Parliament is sent off on holiday. Some deft footwork will be needed, or the Sunday papers will go ballistic.

At the mention of anything European, most of us groan, as it tends to be the starting pistol for every one issue nutter in need of secure accommodation. But the EIO presents us with some potentially serious problems. It’s aim is sensible. It introduces a system whereby it is much easier to gather evidence for crimes throughout the EU. All well and good. But like most things that emanate from Brussels,  it hasn’t been properly thought through. When the distinguished organisation of jurists, JUSTICE,  reports that the EIO, ” has inadequate consideration of the rights of the suspect in an effort to improve efficiency”, alarm bells should be ringing at Number 10. Worse, the date of incorporation into UK law is the 28th July. Scary. And potentially explosive.

In it’s present form the EIO would allow any EU police force to start investigations and gather evidence on UK soil. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, as the present system is slow and cumbersome. But where it  offends against everything we hold sacred, is that no judicial authority is needed to verify whether there are reasonable grounds for an offence to have been committed. In this country the police can’t investigate on a whim, they have to have reasonable grounds to believe that someone is up to no good. So, potentially, every corrupt police officer in the pay of the mafia in Southern Italy, could come over here, obtain your DNA and bank balances without going to obtain permission from a judge first. Insane. And downright dangerous. In reality, it may be rather different as this is clearly in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights. There would be test cases. But why bother? Why should be have to put up with injustice, misery and cost?  Let’s just get it right first time round and put in safeguards which will protect the freedom and liberty of the subject.

What JUSTICE sensibly argues for, is that all requests for an EIO  be in accordance with the European Convention of Human Rights, and that there should be  judicial scrutiny. It’s simple, fair and sensible. The danger is that unless politicians understand what this is all about, this will be just another anti European stick, based on ignorance, to beat the Coalition with. David Davis, is genuinely and rightly, concerned about this. He raised it at Business Questions yesterday. Number 10 must not vacillate on this. The deft foot work is provided by JUSTICE, “the UK should opt in to the instrument but in so doing should engage it’s negotiating position to ensure safeguards.” All Cameron has to do is promise that the EIO will operate within the framework of the ECHR and that every application is reviewed by a judge on the basis that reasonable grounds for the belief that an offence has been committed are shown. But Cameron must act quickly to avert an unholy and damaging row. The  Euronutters are being prodded with a very sharp stick that is laced with poison.

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Prima Donna or Maradonna? David Davis hand of plod.

July 4th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

If you hear strange noises emanating from Number 10, don’t be too alarmed, it will only be Cameron and Clegg choking with hysterical laughter over the breakfast headlines that David Davis is joining forces with Bernard Jenkin to scupper the referendum and oppose Ken Clarke’s prison reforms. How delightfully Tory that the sublime joins forces with the ridiculous.

I am very fond of David. But it is the sort of affection that one has for an old and trusted labrador that you know that will soon have to taken to the vet and put out of it’s misery. Many years ago, well before he stood for the leadership, I asked him how he regarded his role in the Conservative Party. “Bayoneting the wounded”, he quipped,with the sort of grin you are never quite sure whether he is being serious or not. Well, now we know. Quite what on earth he thinks he is doing attacking Ken Clarke’s rather sensible and unrevolutionary prison reforms  is a bit of a mystery. Not so much a Prima Donna as a Maradonna; David Davis,” Hand of Plod”.

But thinking and acting are not one of his stronger points. I do not mean this as a criticism, merely that he is an instinctive politician and tends to act before he thinks. I bumped into Francis Maude the night Davis resigned as Shadow Home Secretary to fight a by election about freedom. “Why?” Was the only word that came to mind. “God knows”, said Maude, “quite extraordinary, quite bonkers.The  first we heard of it was on the news”.

In many ways David Davis is very similar to his old friend Alan Clark. Both outsiders, both ambitious, but both somehow not quite fitting in. Clark used to admire his courage after a boozy dinner in joining him zig zagging the precarious battlements at Saltwood Castle. Either could have easily fallen to their deaths. But was it courage, recklessness, or just the adrenalin of danger? Like Davis, Clark was unpredictable. Once I had a problem with an incompetent minister who was, single-handedly, doing his best to lose my constituents a defence contract. I won’t mention his name just in case he is still alive, although it would be difficult to tell. Clark was Minister of State for Trade, and when I went to seek his advice I expected the usual loyalty to a fellow minister. Not a bit of it. “Oh him. What a useless, arrogant, jaw dropping little cunt. I’ll go to Margaret and get the  shit sacked for you”. He did and he was.

It would be far too easy to dismiss Davis as a bitter man positioning himself as a standard bearer of the right,ready to take over from Cameron should he fall under a Cleggian bus. He is ambitious, as his offering to serve in  a Cameron government the moment Chris Grayling self destructed over B & B s  proved. But he never got the call.

So is it just another walk on the wildside, reckless danger for danger’s sake or a calculated career gamble? I’d bet on the former. David is just bored and desperately seeking a political thrill. That he probably doesn’t care if he plunges to his political death makes him more unpredictable and potentially a little more dangerous. He won’t have many followers, but like David Blaine, he’ll have a lot of people holding their breath to see what he does next.

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