Some things just simply take your breath away; despite all the umming and arrring Alan Johnson has decided he cannot stop the extradition of Gary McKinnon. He has decided that the extradition does not breach McKinnon’s human rights;
“The secretary of state is of the firm view that McKinnon’s extradition would not be incompatible with his [human] rights,” said the letter, dated 26 November. “His extradition to the United States must proceed forthwith.”
McKinnon is described as a ‘serious’ suicide risk and the medical backdrop to his case is clear for all to see; so how it escapes the Home Secretary is puzzling. However, if it was ‘incompatible’ with McKinnon’s human rights then of course Johnson would stop it surely? Well, remembering rendition flights the answer is maybe not but it is clear that Johnson has been leant on to take this unfair and totally unjust descision.
I would say after this and the Nutt fiasco Johnson’s chances of becoming the next Labour leader have totally evaporated. Not a bad thing in all liklihood but wider questions have to be asked whether he has fufilled his duty as Home Secretary to protect the rights and well-being of a British citizen.
Obviously Johnson has not and given this is a fundamental failing it is one that demands he resign from the post he currently occupies. Many criticised the Scottish National Party for it’s descision to release convicted Libyan Al-Meghari but at least it showed spine which has obviously deserted this Labour government. Fundamentally, the treaty that McKinnon is being extradited on is one-sided;, unjust and unfair in itself and should be immediately renegotiated.
A wider issue exists here and it is one that as it looks to recompose and reorientate for opposition the Labour left will have to deal with and that is the issue of civil liberties. Historically, defending civil liberties has been part of a commitment to extend democracy however, this is something that seems to have changed now Labour is in power. More specifically, it is something that is distinctly part of the Blairtie agenda and therefore something that the Labour left needs to change if it wants to be rid of the ‘third way’.