The issue of those dastardly European judges has once again caused a paid-up member of the Pundit Establishment to get themselves into what Spike Milligan might have termed A Very Difficult Position. Add in the ever-present threat (if only in the minds of the unfeasibly overmonied punditerati) of Scary Muslims (tm), with the added myth of jihadis on every street corner, and you have a recipe for first-rate idiocy.
And there is no finer exponent of first-rate idiocy than Allison Pearson, who is inexplicably still given a berth by the increasingly downmarket and desperate Telegraph. Ms Pearson is sorely vexed at the prospect of European judges telling her what to do, the prospect of ensuring her kettle doesn’t waste energy clearly an affront to her personal freedom, and in any case they don’t speak the language properly.
Let's all go down the Strand - ABU QATADA
So it was that she took to Twitter to rant “Don't care whether Brexit is poached or boiled. We are NOT staying under jurisdiction of ECJ which stops us kicking out jihadists”. The ECJ does not rule on jihadists. Perhaps she means the ECHR, whose membership Brexit does not alter one iota. This was duly pointed out to her.
Little good it did anyone, as Ms Pearson was not for intercepting the information imparted as it winged its way in one ear and out the other. “Not only. We are under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice”. The ECJ still doesn’t rule on jihadists, but might have something to say about energy-hungry vacuum cleaners. Mind you, she probably isn’t interested in those, and will have someone to do that kind of thing on her behalf.
In any case, who did she mean? One helpful soul prompted her: “I understand, but it was the ECHR which prevented the likes of Abu Qatada's deportation, not the ECJ”. As she replied “Yes, sorry!”, that suggests she did mean him, especially as she continued to engage in discussion on the length of time taken over Abu Qatada’a deportation.
So let me put Ms Pearson straight on this one. Abu Qatada was accused of all manner of terrorist involvement, but he was never charged with any offence in the UK, even though he was detained on several occasions. And after he was deported to his native Jordan, he was retried on the charges on which he had been sentenced in absentia. The result of those retrials appears to have passed Allison Pearson by.
As Jordanian law dictates, on returning to the country he was retried. On the alleged 1999 terror plot, he was found not guilty, but remained in custody pending a verdict on a second alleged plot. The case against him was dismissed due to insufficient evidence being offered, any evidence obtained through torture now being inadmissible.
So Allison Pearson’s clear inference that Abu Qatada was a jihadi was shown to be wrong. What, then, was the point of ranting at the ECJ? They don’t rule on deporting jihadis, or anyone else. And her jihadi wasn’t one. Or does someone have a problem with foreigners?