the index

All of the articles originally written for the independence index have been imported to and tagged with the index.

Gary and Andrew

Andrew SymeouAndrew Symeou

We are told that our Prime Minister might, just might, be considering doing something about the proposed extradition of Gary McKinnon. This is a cause célèbre and highlights the asymmetric nature of the US/UK extradition Treaty. The Daily Mail has highlighted the campaign recently with a string of articles about the case, that has been going slowly through the courts for the last seven years.(And we laugh at countries like Italy and India for their lugubrious legal systems.) Most other papers and many influential people have voiced their unease and distaste at the case of Gary McKinnon.

For once I'm happy if the PM's spouse has an effect, she has had tea with Gary's mother and is a 'good egg' for refusing to eat veal and foie gras at official meals.

However, even if Gary is spared, another British man faces extradition. This time to the EU. To Greece, that fine democratic country with its excellent legal system!

An honourable man

Andrew MacKinlayAndrew MacKinlay

Labour MP Andrew MacKinlay was one of just ten Labour MPs who had the courage to vote for a review of the 2003 Extradition Treaty in the wake of controversy over the case of the Gary McKinnon.

He is standing down at the next election because he is disgusted at the behaviour of his fellow Labour MPs. 74 had previously signed motions backing Mr McKinnon, or demanding an extradition review yet, on the day, meekly followed the party line. See here. In addition to being a moral man, Mr MacKinlay is a hard working MP and his expenses claims are modest.

Both Tory leader David Cameron and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg have condemned hypocritical MPs who pledged support for Mr McKinnon's fight against extradition before reneging in last week's Commons vote. Yet, why did the Lib Dem MEPs vote for fast track extradition without trial within the EU?

Appeal judges will deliver a ruling on Gary McKinnon on Friday, 31st July.

Democracy - EU style


The Telegraph reports that Marta Andreasen, the EU's former Chief Accountant and whistleblower, sacked by Neil Kinnock and now a UKIP MEP, was yesterday blocked by the centre-right and socialist MEPs from becoming vice-chairman of the European Parliament's budgetary committee. The European People's Party - which the UK Conservatives have now left - and the Socialists broke parliamentary convention on the allocation of committee posts by demanding a vote by secret ballot to block Mrs Andreasen, who was fired in 2004 after she publicly claimed there was a £172 million discrepancy between two sets of Brussels accounts. She claimed the accounting system was wide open to fraud and said: " I think the shop on the corner doesn't have this type of accounting system." Evidently the secret ballot was unprecedented.

Chris Davies, a Liberal Democrat, attacked the "shameful decision" to hold a secret ballot so the MEPs could not be "held accountable for their actions". He said: "The message it sends to the public is that anyone who speaks out against malpractice in Europe risks being excluded from office."

Ms Andreasen, who will still be a member of the Committee is quoted by PA saying: "What are they scared of?

Von Stauffenberg and democracy


65 years ago today, on the 20th July 1944, Claus von Stauffenberg attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

His son Count Franz Ludwig von Stauffenberg, a lawyer and politician, has helped petition the German Constitutional Court which has ruled to that Germany will have to strengthen the powers of its parliament before it can finally ratify the EU Lisbon treaty. Der Spiegel has the full story.

David Cameron has pledged a European referendum if the Treaty has not been ratified and he becomes Prime Minister.

The silicon curtain

The Local, Swedish News reports on the anger against the proposed Stockholm Programme. There are demonstrations in Stockholm now and fury at the Programme which will create a 'big brother' surveillance state. The EU is creating a new Iron Curtain but this time one created from silicon around its borders.

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