Sunday 22 April 2012

Insolent Delays

A pocket cartoon in last Thursday’s Times just about sums things it up.  There is God, sitting on his heavenly throne, holding a document in his hand.  Turning to an angel he says “Apparently, casting out Satan breaches his inhuman rights.” 

This comes after the latest attempt to cast out that devil Abu Qatada was blocked by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).  The whole thing is a comedy of errors, involving the Home Office and arguments over deadlines for appeals, except it’s a comedy without much in the way of humour. 

Theresa May, the hapless Home Secretary, was under the impression that the deadline for an appeal had passed last Monday.  Oh, no, it hadn’t, came the cry from the European wing, as the legal pantomime got ever more ludicrous, it was Tuesday.  Poor Hamlet, on the threshold of self-destruction, musing about the law’s delay and the insolence of office, did not know the half of it!

The Times was clearly frustrated judging by the headline across the front page.  Europe’s court jesters, it stamped.  Prime Minister David Cameron is also frustrated, vowing to force Qatada out of the country, “no matter how difficult”.  The entire government is clear, he went on, that this man has no right to be here.  “I sometimes wish I could put him on a plane and take him to Jordan myself.”

Hmm, that’s not very encouraging, is it?  By his words shall ye know him.  Here is a British Prime Minister illustrating not his determination and competence but his supine powerlessness.  We just know that nothing is going to happen; we just know that the whole process at Strasbourg, a legal morass, is likely to take months and months and months. We just know that the repulsive Qatada is likely to be released once again on bail, a poison in our midst.  We just know that Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, will not allow Cameron to do the right thing, which is to send Qatada on his way, devil take the consequences and devil take the European Court of Human Rights. 

All this comes on the eve of a conference intended to curb the court’s influence on Britain after a series of controversial rulings.  Yes, yes: more jaw jaw and no war war.  You can have many conferences as you like, says Nicolas Dušan Bratza, it’s not going to change a thing. 

Who is Nicolas Dušan Bratza, you may wonder?  Actually it’s Sir Nicolas Dušan Bratza, who just happens to be the British judge who now heads the ECHR.  I know, he sounds about as British as Belgrade; for it is Serbia from whence this man descended upon us, or rather his father did.  There he is now in his Strasbourg lair, no better example of the law’s delay and the insolence of office. 

The Abu Qatada farce is clearly shaping up to be a new version of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, the interminable legal process from Charles Dickens’ novel Bleak House.  That case was relatively benign, though, with the law simply serving its own ends.  Now the ECHR serves the ends of criminals, who make use of its interminable delays to evade justice.  As the Times said in its leader, the court is being played by defendants to string out the time in which nothing, in effect, happens. 

I have another literary reference in mind, one of my favourite passages from Alice in Wonderland.  There is Alice in conversation with the grinning Cheshire Cat; 

But I don’t want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
'Oh, you can’t help that,' said the Cat. 'We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.'
'How do you know I’m mad?' said Alice.
'You must be,” said the Cat. 'or you wouldn’t have come here.'

We must be mad, literary mad, as a nation ever to have subjected ourselves to this foreign legal authority, even one headed by such a patriotic Englishman as Nicolas Dušan Bratza.  Personally, unlike Cameron, who only talks in his inimitable impotent fashion, I would send Qatada to Jordan, Strasbourg to hell and Nicolas Dušan Bratza to the land of his ancestors for a good long rest.  


  1. 'Enemy of the State' Just kill the bastard.

    1. Sardonic humour is so much more effective, Anthony. :-))

  2. I think the UK needs to repeal the 1911 Parliament Act, expel the life peers from the Upper House, and systematically undo all the damage done since by successive generations of statist weasels. Extreme, I know, but the patient is near death anyway, and sure to die without radical action.

  3. I have just begun reading this:

    One of the authors is a sometime MyT blogger.

    I think you might find it interesting.

    1. Yes, it looks good; I'll add. Who is the MyTer?

  4. Ana I agree with your selected destinations. If they tried to create a bigger cock up they couldn't have done.

  5. GMW Wemyss - one of the early posters who seldom shows up anymore.

  6. Nicely written.. but you can't blame EHCR, they just relay the written word. As for the group under Theresa May.. I know nothing about the niceties of the law, but screwing up such a publicly high-profile and emotive case in such an idiotic manner just smacks of amateurism.

  7. The tail is wagging the dog and Cameron is too weak to bark, Ana.

    Mind you, as far as the EU is concerned this is what I had to say on a recent blog:

    The UKIP leadership said to David Cameron that they would disband if he agreed to a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

    Cameron refused. It could have been so easy but Cameron decided it was going to be difficult. Fair enough, difficult it is then.

    See links:

    David Cameron reaped what he sowed and will continue to do so until he is voted out of office.

    It is a pity to have to say this because I used to like the man and have argued for him many a time. But that was before he broke his promise about the referendum. That changed everything.

    1. Thanks, Nobby. So did I. I was so relieved when he became PM. I took his part long after, even when the doubts began to grow. I can't any longer. I should have known better. I don't think he is a Conservative at all, this wretched heir to Blair.