be clear, this trio, the former NATO boss Javier Solana; the
Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh; and the failed governor
of Hong Kong Chris
Patten did not speak for the people of Europe. They spoke
for themselves. The death penalty may not be popular among the
European elites, but it is demanded by many European populations.
Indeed, it goes further than Parliament denying the will of
the voters, now even the will of Parliament is denied. Under
Convention on Human Rights, to which (although separate
from the EU) all
EU countries now have to adhere, the death penalty is illegal.
It is under the same convention that murderers are not extradited
to the United States because of the chance that the courts might
rule on the death penalty. To pass the death penalty would be
to break with the European Convention, and to break with the
Convention would be to break with the European Union. Many legal
and political authorities contend that Parliament
does not have the right to leave the EU.
OF THEIR BUSINESS
is not, however, the biggest tragedy. The argument over the
death penalty is rightly one for sovereign states. What a country
does about crime is surely, a home affair. This is the most
astounding factor of the European visit. Not only are they misguided
and undemocratic, but they are also imperialist. The brutish
Yanks must learn to doff their cap to European
civilisation. The American government may be, as George
Bush himself said, arrogant; but this is European arrogance
on sticks. American politicians have little choice but to let
decide on this issue. These Europeans, like others before
them, have taken a particular dislike to the death penalty and
they tell Colin Powell to behave like the establishment boy
they believe him to be. The real target for their genteel wrath
are the people of America, they are the targets of the insult.
moral imperialism was shown before Bush’s election when a delegation
of French parliamentarians wanted to visit the governor of America’s
third biggest state and future president just to lecture
him on the death penalty in Texas. It’s almost a pity that he
didn’t lecture them on the advanced racism that permeates France.
Similarly the Council
of Europe, a pan European body that acts as a waiting room
for the European Union, has sent some busybodies over to lecture
on their use of the death penalty. Britain has also been guilty,
as it has shamelessly used its links to the Privy Council
court in many Caribbean countries to slow the rate
of hangings in these formally independent countries. Strangely,
the pro-Cuban EU ministers will not be delivering the same lecture
to Fidel Castro.
is the formal part of the column. I wish to apologise on behalf
of ordinary Europeans, both for and against the death penalty,
for the arrogance of our masters. We believe that America’s
justice system is America’s business, to be decided by American
people. You have made your views known through a far more democratic
process than we can hope for, and we respect this although
many of us may disagree. Now perhaps if we can go and tend the
beam in our own eye first.
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