Rattled by the rush

As a postscript to the Mail’s take on the extradition debate, you will note that the MPs singled out for their vitriol were those who had at some point signed EDMs expressing concern about the extradition arrangements between the UK and USA. Some specifically in relation to the Gary McKinnon case, others – including me – in completely different circumstances which were (wilfully?) misrepresented by the Mail.

Obviously a significant number of Labour MPs who didn’t sign any of these EDMs voted along with us, against the Tory motion. (Sorry, make that the opportunistic, hypocritical, shameless Tory motion. That’s better.)

So basically those backbenchers who have never expressed any concern at all about the issue, for whatever reason, have completely escaped the Mail’s censure. Isn’t the lesson to be learnt from this by new MPs: don’t express any opinions, don’t speak up, don’t sign EDMs, don’t nail your colours to the mast, don’t raise your head above the parapet? Otherwise whatever you say may be taken in evidence and used against you.

And before people steam in with charges of hypocrisy against those of us who did sign an EDM or EDMs, and then voted ‘the other way’ – no, none of us did. You have to look at the wording of the motions, and the purposes of an Opposition day debate; even if the Government had lost the vote on Wednesday, and was therefore politically if not constitutionally bound to review the Extradition Act, it would not have affected the current proceedings against McKinnon. You can’t renegotiate a treaty overnight. Wednesday’s debate was about one thing, and one thing only: the Tories jumping on the Daily Mail bandwagon in order to score a few political points. I think the Lib Dems position on this is more honest – naive, perhaps, but honest – but the Tories are just shameless. They took far more of an interest in the extradition of their banker friends, the NatWest 3, than they did in the McKinnon case, until the Mail got involved.

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