UK: The Killing Edicts of the Republic of Euroland

by MELANIE PHILLIPS September 15, 2010
Those of us who are troubled by Britain’s loss of sovereignty to Brussels have always been aware that EU membership poses risks to our political health.
 
Even so, few could have foreseen that belonging to the European Union can literally kill you. Yet this now appears to be happening.
 
Cases have recently come to light of hospital patients dying needlessly because there was no junior doctor available to attend to them — principally as a result of EU-imposed rules.
 
Last month, a man with breathing difficulties who had been admitted to Musgrove Park Hospital in Somerset was forced to wait for more than five hours to see a doctor — by which time he was dead.
 
In a previous incident within the same hospital trust, another elderly patient had died in distress because only one junior doctor was on duty to look after 100 patients.
 
The West Somerset coroner Michael Rose observed that these cases hoisted ‘clear warning signs’ over the disastrous impact of the European Working Time Directive on the running of hospitals.
 
This directive, implemented for all junior doctors a year ago, forbids them from working more than a 48-hour week — even though this has caused chaos in doctors’ rotas and cut short vital medical training.
 
The directive ostensibly aims to secure a better work/life balance for a range of employees. But its rigidity has all but wrecked basic standards of hospital medical care.
 
In particular, it has stopped junior doctors from being routinely attached to a particular consultant or team. Instead, they go from one team to another, providing medical cover.
 
The result is that the all-important requirement of continuity of care has been destroyed, since these doctors are parachuted in to treat patients of whose histories they are ignorant. Patients’ needs now matter less than the doctors’ legal requirement to clock off.
 
Such lethal idiocy illustrates the working of the bureaucratic mind at its most blindingly rigid and obtuse.
 
What may work well for, say, long-distance lorry drivers proves a disaster when applied to a profession which needs to deliver continuity of care, as well as sufficient experience to train doctors to the necessary standard.
 
As coroner Mr Rose pointed out, in the past, hospital doctors would have observed some 800 operations before being promoted to consultant status. Yet today, many registrars who become consultants are lucky if they have seen a third of that number.
 
Doctors say that the reduced hours mean less time learning from consultants, less exposure to ‘real medicine’ and a loss of confidence in long-term career prospects.
 
Almost a quarter of junior doctors now drop out of NHS* training after two years, while one-fifth of junior doctors who apply for further training are refused because they lack experience.
 
Presented with this self-inflicted catastrophe, our politicians bluster disingenuously that they can, and will, resolve the problem.
 
Thus, the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has told MPs that reforming the directive is a government priority, and that he and Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, will go to Brussels to negotiate an opt-out for junior doctors.
 
Just whom do they think they’re kidding?
 
Why should the EU suddenly give Messrs Lansley and Cable an opt-out from an arrangement to which Britain signed up with no such reservations — despite many warnings that it would have precisely this disastrous outcome?
 
What politicians try to deny is that having hitched its wagon to the EU juggernaut, Britain cannot pick and choose which laws it will implement and which ones it will reject.
 
Membership of the EU means inescapably that countries hand over their precious powers of self-government to the functionaries of a new and fundamentally anti-democratic entity — a bureaucratic state.
 
This has been created entirely on the premise that unelected officials know best and therefore have a right to meddle in, and micro-manage, everyone’s life.
 
They, thus, ride roughshod over countries’ very different ways of doing things, all in the name of ‘harmonising’ practice — aka destroying the ability of member states to decide how best to run their own affairs.
 
The result is that the Working Time Directive is merely one of the countless ways in which British government ministers have lost the ability to represent the interests of the people of this country.
 
Even before the EU constitution came into effect, a high proportion of Britain’s laws were effectively dictated by Brussels. With the constitution now in force, Britain has signed away what remained of its power as a self-governing nation.
 
Some of the oppressive outcomes are already becoming apparent. Under the terms of the European Arrest Warrant, more than 1,000 people in Britain were seized and extradited last year on the orders of European prosecutors — often for minor crimes such as leaving a petrol station without paying.
 
Now the forthcoming European Investigation Order is provoking concern among the police.
Commander Allan Gibson, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ spokesman on extradition, has protested to the Government that it will give foreign police the power to order British forces to carry out investigations, house and body searches and surveillance in Britain on their behalf.
 
They will also be able to demand the bank records, DNA profiles and other personal details of British citizens.
 
Once again the Government pretends it can head off this threat to the British way of life, with Home Secretary Theresa May promising that it will ‘seek to ensure’ that the final version of this Order contains a test of proportionality.
 
But, once again, this pledge is meaningless, since the final shape of the Order will be decided by qualified majority voting in Brussels — which means we could be outvoted.
 
Indeed, this whole pretence that British ministers can exempt Britain from these treaty obligations is a cynical smokescreen.
 
These deeply coercive and anti-democratic measures were agreed by British ministers.
It is successive British governments that freely entered into these EU treaties and thus betrayed so shockingly the democratic freedoms for which so many in this country have given their lives.
 
For David Cameron’s Tories to pose as opponents of the EU superstate is the most cynical sell-out of all.
 
Having reneged on his promise to offer the British people a referendum on the EU constitution, Mr Cameron clearly wants to pick a fight with the EU as much as he wants a hole in the head.
 
On one side, he is locked into coalition with the euro-fanatic Lib Dems; on the other, the last thing he wants is to re-open the fissure over Europe within his own party.
 
And so he is giving away yet more power, as with his acquiescence to the EU regulating British banks despite warnings that this could damage the UK’s financial services sector.
 
The surreal outcome is that while Mr Cameron’s government is feverishly arguing over and promoting cuts in public expenditure, welfare reform, a supposed education revolution and a host of other policies purporting to ‘change’ Britain, it is actually becoming a mere hologram of a government, with no more power in reality than a regional council in the republic of Euroland.
 
This despite the fact that a new YouGov poll shows almost half of the public would vote for Britain to leave the EU. But then, our involvement with the EU was marked right from the start by a total contempt for the wishes of the British people.
 
Once, British citizens died to defend the sovereign powers of Parliament. Now they are dying because Parliament gave those powers away — and all without a shot being fired.
 
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Melanie Phillips is the author of the powerful and frightening "Londonistan" which can be purchased here and she blogs at The Spectator.
 
*NHS – The catastrophic British health service, funded by compulsory insurance payments, which has been praised by one of the architects of Obamacare.

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