David Blackburn

Should Cameron mention McKinnon?

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Lord Tebbit poses the question on his latest blog, pointing out that Nick Clegg campaigned against Gary McKinnon’s extradition, and urged the government ‘to do the right thing’.


Well, now he can and it would be a popular decision in the current circumstances. The US-UK extradition treaty should be unacceptable to any government that considers itself sovereign, but this is no time for bluster and confrontation. Barack Obama has leapt about with shrill adolescent abandon; it would be hypocritical for Cameron to return fire in kind. Despite what Obama protests, BP is not solely liable (Halliburton and TransOcean have a case to answer). And Obama’s naked political desperation and anti-British sentiment has come at the expense of American shareholders and pensioners – 26 percent of US pension funds hold shares in BP. Cameron can win the high ground by calmly suggesting that Obama’s current strategy is counter-productive. As Nick Clegg put it yesterday, this must not descend further into ‘megaphone diplomacy’.

This latest outburst from the Obama administration is politics at its most puerile. Far more worrying was Thursday's news that the US State Department had reiterated its support for Argentina's position over 'Las Malvinas'. The State Department wants London and Buenos Aires to negotiate, which is at odds with the British government's policy and the desires of the inhabitants of the Falklands. The British government needs to think about Obama's diplomatic outlook - it shouldn't take long to reach the obvious conclusion.