Gary McKinnon

posted by Nick Hornby June 11, 2009 at 1:48 pm Charity ,

Gary McKinnon is the 43-year-old man who hacked into various US military networks, including NASA, from his home in Wood Green in North London, because he was convinced that the US government has been hiding information about UFOs. McKinnon has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome by Britain’s leading authority on the condition, Simon Baron-Cohen, and he is now facing extradition to the US, where he will be tried under anti-terrorist legislation. I, along with thousands of others, have signed a petition asking the Prime Minister to at least allow McKinnon to be tried in the UK, and you should too.

So far the Government has predictably failed etc – Jacqui Smith, our former and hapless home Secretary, turned down McKinnon’s appeal a while back. Now another hearing is taking place, and yesterday McKinnon’s QC told the high court that Smith “erred in law and reached a flawed decision in response to the medical evidence. She underestimated and misrepresented the gravity of the situation without obtaining evidence of her own, made no inquiries and sought no assurance as to the grant of bail before, and repatriation after, trial in the US.”

Very few of us, I think have any desire to be politicians, which is presumably why the vast majority of them appear – from here, at least – to be idiots: there’s simply not enough competition. (And, as they are like nobody you have ever met, they are the least representative people on earth, which is something of an irony.) Yet every once in a while, we need them to do something manifestly right, and fair, and human. What are the chances?