Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Who knocked the wall down?

I've always thought that we were going to hit the wall we have been backing up to all these years, the old bulldog spirit would suddenly appear and there would be civil disobedience throughout the country until our sovereignty was restored, but I now suspect that someone has knocked it down when we weren't looking and we have to decide for ourselves when to stop taking this shit.

This from the Englishman. It makes me weep.

When is someone in that rat's nest at Westminster going to have the balls to stand up and say ENOUGH is ENOUGH?

Apologies, I think I have to publish the original article in full...

A grim legal first killed this firm
By Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 1:37am GMT 11/12/2006

Members of the House of Lords were shocked last Wednesday to hear, from Lord Willoughby de Broke, the extraordinary story behind the closure in October of a Lancashire cheese firm, employing 26 people.

John Wright had built up Bowland Dairies in Nelson into an £8-million-a-year business making curd cheese, mostly exported to five EU countries, including France and Germany, for use in quiches and flans. On June 12, inspectors of the European Commission's Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) visited the plant for 90 minutes, looked through the paperwork and, after misinterpreting one document, issued a "rapid alert notice" that its products were unsafe. The milk in the cheese, they claimed, broke EU rules on antibiotic residues.

On June 20, after thoroughly inspecting the plant, Britain's Food Standards Agency (FSA) strongly disagreed. It recommended one or two minor changes in procedure, and allowed production to resume.

On July 4 the commission repeated its claim that the milk did not comply with EU rules. The FSA responded that the FVO inspectors seemed to be confused over the type of milk the firm used. Telling the European Standing Committee on the Food Chain that "no evidence was found that contaminated milk was used", the FSA issued a notice to all EU member states that Bowland's cheese was entirely safe and fit for market. The commission appended its own negative comments to this notice, effectively maintaining the ban.

Black propaganda began to appear, claiming that the firm had been selling cheese contaminated with cleaning fluid and sweepings from the floor. Bowland took the commission before the ECJ and, on September 8, Judge Bo Vesterdorf, president of the Court of First Instance, having reviewed the case legally and scientifically, found unreservedly in the company's favour.

The commission was ordered to withdraw its notice and its comments about the firm. Twice it refused. On September 12 Vesterdorf ordered it to "stand aside". The commission tried to add a statement to the court order, claiming that it had lost on a mere technicality. The judge ordered this to be removed, observing: "It is sad that a company is dying while giants fight it out".

On September 27 the FVO returned to Bowland, this time for an exhaustive two-day inspection, but could find little wrong. (Any findings, the commission's chief inspector told Mr Wright, would be "non-emergency".)

However, on October 4, the commission asked its standing committee to approve a commission decision banning Bowland from further trading. The 25 members present were not shown the court's judgment or any technical evidence, other than a defence of the new procedure for testing antibiotic residues – from the firm which had devised it. Twenty two countries voted for a total ban, with Britain abstaining.

The commission announced that it would seek to have the UK food safety authorities fined for failing to protect consumers against contaminated milk (despite the court ruling and the lack of any evidence of contamination). Furthermore Britain was warned that the FVO was about to carry out a full audit of Britain's £5-billion-a-year cheese industry.

Despite the FSA's solid support of Bowland and its insistence that no rules had been broken, the Department of Health bowed to the commission's diktat. On October 16 it rushed through a statutory instrument, the Curd Cheese (Restriction on Placing on the Market) Regulations 2006, to take immediate effect. Section 3 read "No person shall place on the market any curd cheese manufactured by Bowland Dairy Products Limited".

Never before, it is believed, has a statutory instrument been issued in Britain directed at closing down a single named company (breaching the ancient principle of British law that "the law must be blind", i.e. it must be general in application, not directed at any specific individual or body).

When Lord Willoughby de Broke recounted this chilling story last week, eloquently supported by others, including Lord Greaves, a Lib Dem who lives near Mr Wright's plant, peers were visibly horrified. The only defence that Lord Warner, as junior health minister, could muster (apart from seriously misrepresenting the terms of Vesterdorf's judgment) was to plead that failure to implement the commission's decision "would constitute a serious breach of the UK's obligations under the EC Treaty". For truth, justice, the rule of law and Britain it was a black day.
See the post below Drip, Drip, Drip...

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