Today’s first letter addresses the issues surrounding the mass immigration of illegals via the Mediterranean into Italy. It is from our eminent contributor Torquil Dick-Erikson and needs no further explanation:

Sir,

The Italian government has told Brussels that unless Italy’s EU partners take in a fair share of migrant boat people, Italy will withhold its annual subscription of €20bn to the EU budget. The Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said on TV that the EU is proving quite “useless”. This is fighting talk.

The response is even more pugnacious. Salvini has been notified that he is now under criminal investigation by a section of the all-powerful Italian judiciary on charges that include “kidnapping” (“sequestro di persona”). This is evidently the “judicial” interpretation of his refusal to allow the disembarkation of African migrants on board the Italian coastguard vessel Diciotti currently docked in Catania port in Sicily, until the EU accepts a proportionate distribution of the migrants amongst member states. Brussels has replied sternly that this is unacceptable “blackmail”, and that if Italy refuses to pay its membership dues it will be subjected to additional fines and interest payments.

The intervention of the criminal judiciary in what was a political stand-off raises the conflict to a whole new level.

The plans to set up a European Public Prosecutor are not yet completed, but large swathes of the Italian judiciary (a quite independent and unaccountable body that comprises investigators, prosecutors and judges, but excludes defenders) are sympathetic to the EU project and hostile to the present government.

Under Italian criminal procedure this kind of notification can be accompanied by an order for the suspect’s arrest and incarceration, “pending investigation”. “Precautionary custody”, ie imprisonment, can then last for several months, or even longer, and during this time there is no right to a public hearing where the prosecution would have to exhibit evidence of a prima facie case to answer (Habeas Corpus is unknown). If the suspected crime is as serious as kidnapping, this would normally have happened had the suspect not been a Government Minister – in Salvini’s case it would have to be cleared first by a special “Tribunal for Ministers”. However one of his functionaries is now also under investigation, and would not have this protection.

British persons hit by a European Arrest Warrant are also subject to the same procedure of lengthy incarceration in Europe on no evidence, pending investigation. One was even a British judge, Colin Dines, subjected to an Italian EAW, who was trussed up and shipped over to a prison in Rome, for an investigation which months later collapsed completely.

Britain has not seen such degenerations of political disputes into violent confrontations resolved by main force, not since King Charles I tried to arrest some members of Parliament, provoking the Civil War, over 350 years ago.

They have been common in continental Europe in living memory. Our political and judicial traditions are totally different from theirs and this why we must disentangle ourselves completely from the EU project.

If our referendum vote had gone the other way in 2016, we could doubtless have found ourselves ending up in a similar situation to Italy’s today. And if Mrs May is allowed to go ahead with her proposed Security Treaty, we still could. She means to keep the EAW and our membership of Europol indefinitely, and as Home Secretary she went on record (Hansard, June 2012) as saying that “of course” she would welcome European gendarmerie units onto British soil, if “needed”. Once that happened, no British government could order them to leave, for they would only take orders from Brussels. It would be tantamount to being under alien military occupation.

Respectfully, Torquil Dick-Erikson

From Italy and the EU to Brexit and the UK: the next letter comes from our correspondent Roger Arthur:

Sir – Mr Hammond (report in the DT, 24-08-18) should contrast the front page DT report dated 16th August, with his predicted post-Brexit GDP loss.

It was reported that the EU fears an 8 to 9% erosion in its GDP (£5,857 bn pa) due to a no deal Brexit over 15 years, or 0.5% pa, if the UK no longer complies with the EU rule book. The IMF predicts an even higher negative impact on EU GDP.

Assuming that the EU’s loss becomes the UK’s gain, then 8% loss in EU GDP implies an increase (repeat: increase!) of £460 bn, or £1.5% pa in UK GDP.

So why does the BoE Governor predict that UK GDP would reduce (repeat: reduce!) by several % points after Brexit. How can the difference be explained?

Probably because Mr Hammond’s economic model assumes continued compliance with the EU rulebook, based on the Chequers proposal.  But that omits the enormous long term benefits arising, as the burden of EU regulations is shed in the longer term, because no PM can bind the hands of future governments.

The impact is not small. As estimated by Gordon Brown in 2005, the EU regulation burden equates to 7% of GDP, ie around £140bn pa in today’s terms. So perhaps the Treasury could do a sensitivity analysis, with different overhead assumptions, as any business would.

Please Mr Hammond, let us have a complete long term picture, ranging not just from pessimistic (as you have done) through to realistic and optimistic scenarios. You might even increase your credibility in the process.

Respectfully, Roger Arthur

Finally, an important statement from Martin Costello, UKIP Wiltshire, with a link to an article in the Swindon Advertiser which you ought to read:

Sir,

Allow me to draw your and your readers’ attention to this article in the Swindon Advertiser,  reporting on the decision of the Party disciplinary panel to clear me.

I would like to thank the party for the professionalism and swift dealing of this matter. I am absolutely delight that I can now continue my duties and focus on my role of making UKIP a electoral threat once again. I would like to thank those who messaged me with support, I was overwhelmed by the volume.

The local duopoly of Tories and Labour are utterly rattled by the party’s astonishing rise and we have sent out a clear message to the political establishment that the People’s Army will not accept anything but a full withdrawal from the failed European Union.

Respectfully, Martin Costello,  UKIP Wiltshire.

 

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