Stand up for the UK

There is one simple answer to US Senators wanting UK and Scottish Ministers to attend Senate hearings to answer for their conduct: “Never”.

UK Ministers are answerable to the UK Parliament. If the US needs clarification of UK policy or actions it should seek it through diplomatic channels. I did not agree with the Scottish decision, but they had every right to make it following their process of law.

The UK Parliament does not demand that the US administration comes to answer here when US citizens or companies behave in ways we dislike.

The last government signed a lop sided extradition treaty with the USA and gave to the EU the extraordinary power of the European arrest warrant.

It is high time the UK defended and reasserted its own judicial and decision making integrity. The US may wish to assert all types of extraterritorial jurisdiciton, but that is no reason for us to give in or to take it seriously.

It is also time the US gave up its vendetta against BP. They should instead have a full enquiry into what went wrong in the Gulf, examining objectively the mistakes made by all the companies concerned with the well, and the actions and inactions of the US safety and oil regulators.

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23 Comments

  1. Mike Stallard
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    I am beginning think that "Rule Britannia" is seriously out of date. We are, as the great Tacitus said, rushing into slavery.

  2. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Good. So how about some actions that match the words. Repeal the Lisbon Treaty and renegotiate. I am not sure that LibDem supporters will be as resistant as their leaders. Tell the Americans that we will attend their Senate hearings when senior American representatives go to India to testify about Bhopal. And tell them that the American Senate is a subsidiary political body in a declining power.

    Medium sized nations like the UK that wish to remain sovereign and independent have to get out of debt, spend more on defence, and take allies wherever in the world they are to be found.

  3. Alan Jutson
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Agreed.

    If we cannot run and be responsible our own Country, then what is the point of us electing Parliament Members.

    No other Country should take precidence over our affairs.

    Hey wait a minute, I forgot about the EU, it would appear we cannot say no to them !!!!!

  4. A G
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    There is only one test of our government's mettle with the USA and that is what they do about Gary Mckinnon. Asperger's Syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder and is part of the autistic spectrum group of disorders. There is growing evidence of subtle anatomical brain changes in sufferers. Gary's behaviour was typical Aspergers. He followed his obsession which was driven on by his condition. The mental processes of sufferers are very complex and difficult to understand and I suggest that anyone who is interested looks up 'theory of mind' which will give them a flavour of it all. Asperger's is common and under diagnosed and once you know about it you see it everywhere. If Gary is extradited it would be as cruel as handing over someone who is mentally handicapped.

  5. nonny mouse
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Expcet things to quiet down after the mid term elections. Until then attacking BP is easier for Democrats than admitting what a poor job Obama is doing with the economy.

  6. waramess
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    But what an irony if the USA uses its powers under the extraditiion treaty to ensure the presence of English and Scottish ministers to testify before Senators. A very just reward.

  7. JimF
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Agreed on all points but it is worth adding the complication that the UK, not to mention “England” in the eyes of many Americans is being tarred with a decision which was taken by a Scot in the Scottish Parliament under the eyes of a Scottish ex-PM. We are either a Sovereign nation or not, and major decisions such as this which affect the overseas view of all parts of the UK should in principle be taken with a veto by the Sovereign Government, which would then be in a position to take the wrap.

  8. Max Van Horn
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Agree completely. Our leader needs to grow a pair. Obama has no love for Britain and has a very dubius political background.There is more to this public whipping of BP than meets the eye.To look at the actions of the USA through rose tinted glasses is the action of a fool and we seem to be fielding quite a team.

  9. Iain
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Part1.

    Well that would be a turn up if they did, for the British political establishment have had one consistent strategy for the UK, to sell us out. This decadence, this malaise, this inability to fight our corner has been going on for generations now, it set in with our retreat from colonialism but it never stopped when it got to our borders. When they got to our borders they continued the retreat apace, selling us out the EU, there was a policy name for it 'Managed decline’. The establishment latching onto multiculturalism where they couldn't find anything worth fighting for in our culture, the lack of outrage from the establishment when Islamists set up Sharia courts and when they sit on their backsides while the City flogs off all our assets, are just more examples of it..

  10. Stealth Jew
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I agree. G-d willing things will calm down after the midterm elections set things right.

  11. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    While I agree fervently with the spirit of standing up for the UK, would JR expect (or require) any member of the Bush administration to appear before the Iraq enquiry and give evidence?

  12. Javelin
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    My answer to the US would be "sure" we'll send Gordon Brown over to explain. You can bang him up if you want to. But nobodys seen him for months and you'll have to send a snatch squad.

    • nonny mouse
      Posted July 25, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Gordon is in Africa, trying to tell them how to run their economies.

      His plan seems to be to get them to borrow a ton of cash and spend it on IT. Shame they don't have enough electricity to run the equiptment.

  13. Iain
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Part2
    So its not surprising when the US starts attacking an important company to the UK, BP, the instinctive reaction form Cameron (from an establishment education and family) and his Government is to side with Obama and seek to justify his attack on BP. It was only when the likes of the Daily Mail started demanding some spine from the Government that their tune changed, but as we see from Cameron’s later reaction to US Senators demanding that our democracy is judged by them, we find he had slipped back into the apologetic attitudes of the Establishment, when he should have been outraged at their insult and interference. If Cameron had been more forthright from the begging we would have seen the extent of the attacks on BP, neither would the Senators have contemplated insulting our democracy.

  14. Iain
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Part3
    The only person who didn’t buy into the Managed decline policy agenda was Mrs T, when she went out and hand-bagged for Britain and the likes of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office were outraged, and in the end did her in for her temerity to believe that we had a future as a country. They complained that Mrs T broke their bat before went to bat for Britain, but we see the result of allowing them their way, a complete capitulation on all fronts.

    So yes lets fight our corner, its long over due, but be in no doubt of the task, there is an intransigent establishment blocking your way, and they will be resentful and dangerous if you attempt to move them from their complacent ways.

  15. Steve
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    The US Senate needs reminding that the well was being drilled by an American company using an American rig with an American crew; the blow-out preventer (that didn't) was supplied by another Amereican company. BP was the concession holder, the actual drilling was all sub-contracted to Americans.

    I didn't hear them demanding an enquiry into the Piper Alpha, or Ecofisk B, or the many other screw-ups offshore by American companies world-wide. Or Bhopal.

  16. HJBbradders
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, you are totally correct. But when are we going to hear such common-sense points of view expressed by the present government? When is the British government going to get some spine and tell them where to get off? What about Bhopal, what about Piper Alpha, what about NORAID, which only stopped after 7/11? What about the crazy, lop-sided extradition agreement? The USA has a bunch of politicians who wouldn't last 24 hours in the HoC. It is about time that we stopped kow-towing to America: an economic giant, a political pigmy.

  17. Rich
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    John – the government of the day has been selling Britain out for as long as I've been alive (I'm 44). Labour may have signed a lopsided extradition treaty with the US and signed Lisbon, but the Conservatives took us into Europe under false pretenses and then signed up to Maastricht. And Cameron went back on his "promise" (which nobody believed anyway) of a referendum on Lisbon.

    The Tories and Labour are exactly the same. You read like a Conservative, how can you belong to today's so-called "Conservative" party?

  18. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    UK ministers are answerable to the UK Parliament, so why don't you haul up Blair, Straw and Brown to explain under oath what role they played in the events leading up to the release of al- Megrahi? While you about it, cross -examine the Scottish ministers also.

  19. Andrew Johnson
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    British politicians standing up for Britain and British interests? If only – Dream on John.

  20. Acorn
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the yanks should be reminded of Piper Alpha. Did Occidental ever get prosecuted? Did any US politician get put before a UK enquiry?

    • Mark
      Posted July 26, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Did Occidental's role in Libya get questioned at a time when IRA funding and training was being supported there?

  21. Derek Buxton
    Posted July 26, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    There are undoubtably a lot that needs explaining however we have now the prospect of European policemen arresting British nationals on British soil as well as bugging 'phones and demanding DNA and suchlike. In America the FBI cannot do that unless the crime crosses a State boundary and they are invited in. So "no more Sovereignty will be given away", that statement looks tattered now. Yet above we are being called upon to act as a Sovereign Nation, I would suggest that we are no longer in that position.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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