Friday, 4 July 2014

The silence of the Ukip lambs

Isn't it strange how quiet it has all gone for Ukip, apart from the rather miserable business of turning their backs on everyone at the European Parliament.  They are not being talked about in quite the same way now, and largely - it seems to me - because the BBC and Guardian are less obsessed with them.

That doesn't mean they have gone away.  Given that, in the absence of the Lib Dems, they are articulating the only insurgent challenge to the political establishment, I expect they will continue to grow in support.

You will gather from this that I believe that Ukip thrives when the Lib Dems start compromising their crusade against the structures of power.  And let's face it, they are bound to do that to some extent when they are in government - but only to some extent.  Margaret Thatcher made no secret of her ambitions because she was in government, and I don't believe that doing so need always be incompatible with the limits of coalition.

But let's leave that on one side.  Liberty have taken up a case which goes to the heart of why Ukip's challenge is also compromised.

This is about Eileen Clark, British and a mother of three children, who left her American husband in 1995 with the children after a decade of abuse.

She came home to the UK, and was charged with 'custodial interference' in the USA, a charge which she believed had been dismissed.

Suddenly, nearly two decades later, she finds herself charged by the US authorities with 'international parental kidnapping' and struggling to fight off an order for extradition.

She is obviously terrified to be taken back to the USA, in the custody of US marshals, to face her abuser in court.  Clearly no American citizen would be extradited from here in the same way.  Thanks to the changes made in the extradition treaty by the Blair government, we are now completely abject when it comes to defending our own citizens.

Yet, for some reason, Ukip are silent on the issue - presumably because they don't care about the imbalance in our transatlantic relationship in the way that they care about the imbalance in our cross-Channel relationships.  Though I don't see why not.

But the Home Office has been adamant and Eileen was put on a US plane at Heathrow yesterday morning.

I find it quite extraordinary that we are colluding with an attempt to use kidnapping legislation to tackle what ought to be a civil dispute, where a vulnerable family needs some protection.

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