Cabinet splits over McKinnon…
The Daily Mail has a rather extensive splash on this story; leading off with the comments Peter Hain has made and finishing off with an lengthy rebuttal of Alan Johnson’s rather lame ‘well I would really like to keep McKinnon in the UK honest but I really can’t’ effort in the Sunday Times yesterday. Hain identifies the source of public angst being;
“that it is much easier for people to be extradited from Britain to the U.S. than it is for people to be extradited from the U.S. to Britain.”
I think Hain is right but really what lies at the heart of this is a failure of successive British governments to actually stand-up to US governments. Nobody wants a completely stand-offish stance towards everything the US does but it might be nice and not too much to ask that a British government is assertive and self-determining of it’s own national interest. Sadly, Alan Johnson’s article actually showed a continuation of the rather timid approach taken by British governments and the Mail continues on in it’s article to savage the Home Secretary’s position:
“where ‘exceptional’ new evidence comes to light after an extradition request has been approved, the Home Secretary has an ‘implied power’ to halt the process.
In Gary’s case, this was the emergence of the fact he was suffering from Asperger’s, after all rights of appeal in the UK courts had been exhausted. At least three leading lawyers insist Mr Johnson is wrong in his repeated statements of impotence.”
It is to be hoped that this travesty will be halted however, unless something is done about the wider issue then problems like this will continue to persist. What really needs to happen is for a political leader to break the taboo and openly question the terms of the ‘special relationship’ we have with the US; until that happens there will be other McKinnon’s.