Monday, February 28, 2011

Clegg the opportunist

Some of us view the Liberal Democrats as opportunists, happy in opposition and ready to leap aboard any passing bandwagon that takes their fancy. Others are more negative, of course.

Clegg has continued his march towards being a statesman by abandoning a cause for which he expressed great support whilst in opposition, that of Gary McKinnon, who faces extradition to the USA for hacking into defence computers - a crime for which he could be prosecuted in the UK. Nick turned up on the picket lines with Mr McKinnon's mother and wrote articles in support of the hacker
The life of a vulnerable man is on the line. Gary McKinnon’s case is as serious as that. Unless someone intervenes there is the distinct possibility that he may be handed a sentence measured not in years but decades, and die behind bars in a brutal American Supermax prison. It is the basic duty of a government to protect its citizens... The only conclusion possible is that the British Government cares more about its relationship with the United States than it does about the welfare of its citizens... The truth is this Government has lost its basic sight of what’s right and what’s wrong.

Now in government, Clegg has refused to meet with Mrs McKinnon as 'it would be better all round' if they didn't - although he has no part in the extradition decision. Apparently, there's nothing he can do.

He can't have it both ways - if the last government was wrong by not intervening, then Clegg has also lost sight of right and wrong. I fear his vision is impaired by the fumes from whatever power he thinks he has. Not for the first or last time, Calamity Clegg is forced into an embarrassing reversal over a bandwagon policy he endorsed in opposition.

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