Monday, November 29, 2004
Should we gloat when we see Denis MacShane moan that vested interests within the European Union wish to impose further burdens on the British Labour market and undermine its flexibility?

There is a concerted effort by key players in Brussels on the European Commission, in the Council of Ministers and the European parliament to take Britain in the direction of rigid labour markets,” he said.

“Some want a made-in-Brussels straitjacket, by imposing bureaucratic inflexibility on the ability of workers and employers to shape working hours that suit individual needs of employees.”

Mr MacShane urged the ambassadors to convey to their governments the need to “say goodbye to out-of-date thinking from the 1980s about how work time should be organised”.

Given the efforts of Brown to crush the benefits of supply side reform and mire our economy in Wilsonian mediocrity, it ill behoves any Labour minister to blame others for their own mistakes. Perhaps some of the brothers are waking up to the cold dawn when their economic luck runs out and they realise they burned all the fat on quangos and jobs for the enemy class.

The news about Mandelson's alleged links to the Equatorial Guinea plot hit the front pages and will probably slink away just as fast. There does not appear to be any substance to this story, unless picked up by African authorities looking for public scalps. This whole episode demonstrates the lack of gravitas in "international law".

The Observer said that, despite clear obligations under international law, the British Government failed to warn the government of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.
The Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told the House of Commons this month that his department had received "confidential information" about the plot in January, but could not verify it independently, and so did not pass it on.

On this basis, we would notify any sovereign government of possible threats against their positions. Let us make this clear: international law would appear to demand that we notify a sovereign government of an impending coup attempt, no matter how odious the regime.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has discontinued its mandate for investigating human rights abuses in Equatorial Guinea since 2002. In the same year, according to Amnesty,

...more than 60 people were convicted of "attacking state security" and attempting to overthrow the government, on the basis of confessions extracted under torture after an unfair trial.

International law in action!

(23.08, 29th November 2004)


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