back to article McKinnon's mum stands against Straw at general election

Gary McKinnon's mum is standing for Parliament against Jack Straw in the UK's upcoming general election. Straw holds an 8,000 majority in his Blackburn constituency, which Labour has held since the 1950s. Sharp, standing as an independent candidate, is realistic enough to know she can't win but is nonetheless running because " …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Don't be silly...

    "It's something I feel I have to do. If we don't stand up we all might wake up in a Nazi style police state," she said.

    Don't be silly, it's not a Nazi-style police state. It's much more East-German Communist...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      East-German Communist...

      No, she's right. We've *already* woken up in the East-German Communist police state, the Nazi one is the one to worry about if Mandelweasel & crew get back in.

      1. Eponymous Cowherd


        That's Lord Mandelweasel of Twatspanner to you.

        Show some respect!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A difference...

      ...that might seem irrelevant to those that fall foul of it....

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Good luck to her

    Its a shame she is unlikely to eat an 8k majority but I wish her all the best.

    Its equally bizarre that Gary has spent 8 years fighting something which shouldnt happen - and barely counts as a crime. This is magnifed by the fact that for some reason Teh Ebul h4xors seem to get disproportionaly severe sentences.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Jacqui Smith

      Would have been a better target.

      Sleazy and sitting on a wafer-thin 2,716 majority.

  3. Sven
    Thumb Up


    I hope she wins or at least takes some votes away from him. Instead of just moaning about it, she actually goes for it!

    Nice one!

  4. My Alter Ego
    Big Brother

    Good for her

    Nice of her to highlight the Pinochet debacle, to be quite honest, I'd forgotten about it. She's got a point too, at the rate NuLab are going it'll be a criminal offence to highlight government incompetence & hypocrisy.

    The only thing I wish she hadn't done is use "Nazi", as it may detract from her sincerity.

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Except the comparison is becoming very apt.

      Sure, the government isn't killing jews and gypsies but, the indoctrination of youth into the service of the state, the increasing state control of private capital and the constant chipping away at anything that isn't "healthy" (As defined by the state) are all consistent with the national socialist program. Hitler also dropped in a massive state-funded stimulus package and had an obsession with environmental affairs (it's often remarked that the nazi party was the first environmentalist movement to gain traction).

      None of these things on their own make someone a nazi. I'm not saying that. I would even consider myself a conservationist. Being "Green" or supporting the idea of some level of state intervention or "stimulation" doesn't make anyone a nazi (there are sound economic arguments for and against each of these positions). It's the convergence of interests that leads to the totalitarian state, with its inevitable descent into absolute control of every aspect of the individual's life, potentially up to the "removal" of undesirable elements by force, which produces valid comparisons to nazi germany.

      Try and argue that our government *isn't* trying to control every aspect of our personal life. And despite the argument I can hear brewing, democracy is not incompatible with the totalitarian state. In fact it can tend to produce it if you aren't careful - as a wise man once observed the democratic state ceases to function when the electorate realises they can vote the wealth of the treasury into their own pocket - to which I would add, at which point the totalitarian state is almost inevitable. Once the totalitarian state has begun to coalesce then democratic elections mean nothing, as the state acts in spite of the wishes of the electorate and continues to consolidate its control through legislation ostensibly aimed as "undesirables" and newly defined criminal activity. You can vote for the new guy who will promise the earth, but when the state continues along the same path as before, proscribing activities that were seen as a natural right just a few years ago, then it is a totalitarian state.

      Successive governments in this country have, directly or via the chambers of the EU, continued on the path of proscribing activities that were, up to that point, natural rights, shielded by the use of high profile "issue" legislation that allows them to slip their restrictions through almost unnoticed. These activities are not immoral or unethical. They are merely against the law. The state we live in has acted, up to this point, over the last fifteen years, to produce a situation where everything an individual does is potentially illegal, so that each of us can be forced to live our lives according to the direction the state wishes. Therefore we live in a totalitarian state.

      1. Red Bren

        I also agreed with almost all you said until...

        "Successive governments in this country have, directly or via the chambers of the EU, continued on the path of proscribing activities that were, up to that point, natural rights"

        I would argue the EU have actually been a hinderance to this slide into totalitarianism.

        "The state we live in has acted, up to this point, over the last fifteen years, to produce a situation where everything an individual does is potentially illegal"

        It's been going on longer than 15 years - the Tories were happy to curb individual libertie, as enyone who enjoyed dancing to music charchterised by a reptitive beat were to find out.

    2. MinionZero
      Big Brother

      I agree with most of what you say but...

      Why the hell shouldn't we use the word Nazi!

      This whole infuriating Godwin's Law style stupid anti-Nazi word attitude of denigrate anyone who dares to highlight growing fascist attitudes in society is greatly helping to make matters worse. We need to highlight fascist attitudes if we are to stop them.

      I hate the way our society is sliding into ever more authoritarian and totalitarian attitudes at times showing some even outright Orwellian thinking. To quote an old 1993 film, "This fascist crap makes me want to puke." I guess thats wrong to say now as it dares to highlight the previous generation's attitudes against fascist crap. Worse still society these days is being constantly reeducated into accepting this fascist crap as the norm, so its no wonder so many people are failing to see how bad state control is growing behind the scenes.

      One of the biggest problems we seem to have with this slide into a Police State is too many apathetic bystanders. I've been looking back over history and sadly this is a common pattern caused ultimately by apathetic bystanders as a country slides into trouble, where the bystanders fail to see how bad its getting (so fail to provide feedback to stop what is happening) until its to late to stop what is happening. All the time we waste, we slide ever more towards an Orwellian future setup to control us ever more closely, so ultimately an ever more powerful Oligarchy can profit from that increasing control. That is increasingly happening now.

      So I say good luck to her. I doubt she has a hope in hell of winning, and I can see she is only really trying to help her son, but even if by trying to stand against what is happening, she ends up helping to highlight just how bad our slide into a Police State is becoming, then she has done good in my mind.

      I also find it interesting to find out Straw opposed the extradition of Augusto Pinochet because I didn't know that bit of news. To quote Homer Simpson, D'OH! :) ... He totally shot himself in the foot there, but then sadly no surprise to find another two faced politician.

      But then Pinochet had power and so like most control freaks, its no wonder Straw didn't want to help set a president for extraditing and punishing people in power, because then where would such a law end. (Control freaks want more control, so they would never risk a legal president that could in any way undermine power). Its why they are always soft on their own kind (unless they want to make a political show trial of someone who doesn't really have any power remaining), because ultimately they always have one eye on their own position of power, so they don't want to risk anything that can undermine power. They always want more power, which is why ultimately we are sliding into this Orwellian Police State.

      This whole Godwin's Law style stupid anti-Nazi word attitude has to die out. Its time to highlight and stop the "fascist crap" whenever we see it, because its badly undermining our society and frankly creating an ever more dangerous long term future for our next generation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You have to ask?

        Because too many people have cried wolf with that very word, assuring that it now is impossible to discern whether the cryer had the right of it. Thus, knowing that, you should take the implicit advice to heart.

    3. Mike 102

      it's already

      It's already an offence to photograph a police officer but it seems not if they are helping children across the road and only if they are shoving innocent members of the public over in the street....

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Playing hard ball knocks over the weak straw man and foreign cuckolds alike?

    Is Gary denied the use of a computer and Internet access, and thus an ability/facility rendered to all others and to Mr. Jack Straw, to help his mother stand against fascist incumbents in a democratic UK General Election. That would surely be criminal in a democratic free society, would it not ...... and something to immediately clear up with Mr Jack Straw, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, who is bound to know surely?

    1. M Gale

      Plus One

      The Martian, speaking more sense than anyone up for election.

      As usual.

  6. paul 97


    thankfully shes isnt standing as a tory candidate - they would have sent him to the guatmo bay a long time ago.

  7. Craig 12

    "it's important to stand against erosion of civil liberties"

    We can't all be winners. We can't all get our own way. That's not a democracy

    Sometimes you are right and you still don't get what you want. This woman needs to realise she lost this one.

    Even one vote for her would be a wasted vote.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon


      No, a democracy is a system of choice. Without someone standing against Straw on these issues voters have less choice, not more. Democracy is being able to stand up for your own views and hope that enough people in the constituency agree with you.

      Even if it's only a token figure that vote for her, it's enough for the papers to get hold of and make hay with (straw/hay geddit?) thus raising the profile. She's fighting for her sons liberty, she is allowed to pursue any legal means to do so in this democratic country*.

      * I know, I know - wishful thinking, but if enough people did this then there might be a chance, however slim.

    2. Jim Morrow

      vote for gary's mum!

      >> Even one vote for her would be a wasted vote.

      so, a vote for that tosser jack straw wouldn't be a wasted vote then, would it? i see...

      have you just been let out of the zanulab re-education camp and had the bliar chip fitted?

      btw if enough of blackburn's voters waste their vote on gary's mum, she'll get elected. 'cos that's how the system works. it's called democracy.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        vote for Gary's mum!

        If enough people vote for Gary's mum, then the second placed candidate could get bumped up and evict Straw.

        It would be a win-win situation, she would evict Straw and not have to serve in parliament!

        1. Andus McCoatover

          Awful concept!

          ...If she loses...

          She wouldn't even be entitled to flip Gary's apartment for a Duck-house. What is the world coming to???

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!
      Thumb Down

      Winners and Losers

      "We can't all be winners. We can't all get our own way."

      That's very true. However, it'd be nice if the winners were, just occasionally, people other than the career politicians and their associated cronies (of whichever stripe).

      And sometimes it's important to keep resisting things that are wrong, rather than to just "realise she lost this one" - even if you know you can't win. If everyone just said "oh well, this is completely immoral, but I guess we lost this one, we better just give up", then there's no telling just how far things could go. ID Cards? DNA databases? Increased stop & search without reasonable cause or suspicion? Long-term house arrest at the discretion of a politician without a conviction? Extradition without evidence? All these would have been unthinkable 20 years ago and we now regard them as just part of life in the UK. They're all in place, but people are still resisting them - and I'm proud of each and every person who does, no matter how small their contribution.

      She probably won't win. But kudos for trying.

  8. Flugal
    Thumb Up

    Best of luck

    If I were in her constituency (Or "contichency" as Tony Blair now pronounces it) I would vote for her.

    Unfortunately for her, I understand that whatever Straw's shortcomings as a Home Secretary and minister are, he is actually very highly regarded as a local MP, and genuinely meets the public in the streets regularly to discuss their concerns. As an MP, we need more like him. As a Home Secretary we defintely do not.

    Still, best of luck to Mrs McKinnon.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Best of luck

      "As an MP, we need more like him. As a Home Secretary we defintely do not."

      Of course the locals like him: he's presumably steering lots of government pork towards the rump of BAE Systems' local empire.

      Meanwhile, does this not just show the fundamental flaw in this Lord of the Manor era electoral system of the Britards? "I like m'local MP so much - he really represents us!" What the hell is local government for, if everyone is fixated on "local boy done good" and short-sighted lobbying down in Westminster? And why should some "local boy" become Minister of "Justice" on that basis?

      We need more than "electoral reform" - words that give the "first past the post" fetishists the willies - we need a complete overhaul of the electoral system. Having some whipped "local boy" warming a seat in Westminster does no-one any good, even if he does get to ask the Prime Minister random questions in a backslapping manner on an occasional basis.

      1. borkbork

        First past the post sucks

        but even when you have a two-party preferred system like the one we have here in Australia, it seems the voters are too dumb to use it properly anyway. I guess that's what happens when the average person has more clue about how to fill out a betting slip at the TAB than an electoral ballot paper.

  9. Andus McCoatover

    Is this helping?

    I somehow think that this may backfire. Dunno why, just a gut feeling that this is a Bad Idea(tm).

  10. Anonymous Coward


    Vote early and vote often....

    What's a mere 8000 votes for a haxor...?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    What I don't understand... how ANY Labour minister can any longer have a 'safe seat', especially a weasel like Straw. What are the electorate in that area THINKING about??!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Safe seats

      There are plenty of seats around the country where you could paint a turnip red (or blue) and it would get elected by first past the post.

      According to the Electoral Reform Society there are 382 safe seats in the UK. In Manchester and Merseyside 3/4 of seats are effectively already decided. 2/3 of those in London could not change on any conceivable political swing.

      There's an Excel sheet of the data linked from:$1369334$470346.htm

    2. Paul RND*1000


      Too many people just vote for the same party they always do, regardless of any other factors. Usually the floating voters and turnout will decide the outcome of an election, but in some places there are such large concentrations of voters who always vote the same way that really, having democratic elections is a bit pointless.

      Which quite defeats the purpose of having democracy in the first place.

  12. Paul Johnston
    Thumb Down

    Not the best idea

    Independents don't do too well against the Straw man. Last time Craig Murry ran and got nowhere!

  13. Chris Miller
    Thumb Down

    Jack Straw

    "He would have made a good lord mayor of Birmingham in a bad year." (Said by Churchill of Chamberlain).

    Sadly, the voters of Blackburn (my home town) would elect a poodle so long as it wore a red ribbon round it's neck ... oh wait, they already have.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    There is only 1 thing I wish for....

    at that is a Country FREE from this catastrophy of a Labour Govt .Lets think about it. If Primary School children ran the Country could they do worse than a deficit of over 1 TRILLION £ Sterling ? I dont think so ,and even they would not want Duck Houses, only sweeties . Seriously, I would love to see a Country run by Old Age Pensioners and School Children as they couldnt do worse than Labour.

    As for all the promises being made. What a load of BS they expect us to believe. Remember the promise of a Referendum on Europe ?. Did Labour keep that promise ?. Like hell did they.

    I like these websites: and

    HAVE A LOOK and make sure your speakers are on whilst you read the words..

  15. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    The final Straw

    James 139 has the key reason he *should* be opposed.

    "The US can request UK subjects be extradited on different terms that we can request their citizens, they just need suspicion, we need proof. Nice to see its fair and balanced then."

    it is fundamentally unjust. It is *unlikely* that she will defeat him (but remember the Glasgow Labour seat with the 26000+ majority that went to the SNP with a 4000+ majority) his taking a substantial hit (bringing his majority to say "marginal") might give him a gentle tap with the clue stick.

    I believe a conviction under the Computer Misuse act would be virtually certain but I'm not sure what the penalties are under UK law (substantially less draconian than their US counterparts).

    I also believe his *real* crime is making DoD computer security "experts" look stupid. DoD people, you got owned by a stoner whose differently conscious. Get *over* it. Get your staff to learn *basic* password security and practice it.

    Mine's the one with "The Hacker Crackdown" in the pocket. Back then it was AT&T and DEC that were screaming about "Documents costing 100s of 1000s of $ going missing. SOS/SOB.

  16. countd
    Thumb Down

    I thought...

    That "Gorgeous" George Galloway was going to take on Straw. Just found out that the preening prick is going to contest Poplar and Limehouse instead - bah.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    why is he being treated this way

    why are the US goverment, persisting on trying to extradite him for trial in the US, for a relatively minor crime.

    I tell you why - he potentially discovered secrets the US goverment dont want revealing (think UFO's , ET's, 9/11 etc..). I think they are not 100% sure what he discovered, so they need him over in the US to give him a good waterboarding to see what he did find. Google this to make up your own mind

    1. James 139


      Yes, to most people it is a minor crime, he probably did little, if any, real damage to the systems in question, certainly a LOT less than someone deliberately out to destroy them.

      However, what he is ultimately guilty of, and this is what a lot of people see it for, is making a US Government institution look foolish and incompetant.

      Which they obviously are if it was that easy to get in.

    2. TimeMaster T

      What he found

      What he found out wasn't as important as the fact that the IT department at the DOD are a bunch of incompetent ninnies who couldn't lock down an umbrella. He didn't use some "l337" hacker skills to crack complex passwords or tunnel through fortified Firewalls, from what I know of this case the servers he was able to get into had weak passwords, badly configured permissions and any script kiddie probably could have done way more damage.

      The US wants to make him pay for making them look like idiots, and they won't back down because they would loose face by admitting they really are idiots. Once you have egos involved logic and rationality get pushed to the wall and shot in the back of the head.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        The Keys to the MaJIC Kingdom .......

        "What he found out wasn't as important as the fact that the IT department at the DOD are a bunch of incompetent ninnies who couldn't lock down an umbrella. " ..... TimeMaster T Posted Monday 12th April 2010 21:36 GMT

        Don't you believe it, Timemaster T, for what he found is vital and critical to the survival of the US in its present form, and everything else you hear about anything/everything else is smoke and mirrors and red herrings. And with that info/intel rogue and wild, Uncle Sam needs to consider his untenable position and think of a Radical and Fundamental Change at the top of Elitist Capitalist Ranks in Order to Driver a New Policy for Currency Hungry Markets with, if they want to have a say in the Future, their SMART Sponsorship of Champion Spenders in Virtual Entrepreneurship and Cloud Command Centres, which is where IT is at in AI nowadays. And it should be well noted that it is a courtesy that they be so invited to participate, but it is not a necessity, nor even a requirement for onging rapid progress, and some would posit that it is a courtesy they do not deserve because of what they have been doing wrong, and knowing that they are doing wrong, for so long, just to maintian and retain their dominance. However, with the chance to redeem the situation with the financing of its solutions, would their fate be inextricably linked to their next future moves, with more of the same old destructive status quo being their final act nemesis and as a last gasp desperate throw of the dice, beloved of the crazy gambler and born loser.

    3. TimeMaster T

      What he found

      What he found out wasn't as important as the fact that the IT department at the DOD are a bunch of incompetent ninnies who couldn't lock down an umbrella. He didn't use some "l337" hacker skills to crack complex passwords or tunnel through fortified Firewalls, from what I know of this case the servers he was able to get into had weak passwords, badly configured permissions and any script kiddie probably could have done way more damage.

      The US wants to make him pay for making them look like idiots, and they won't back down because they would loose face by admitting they really are idiots. Once you have egos involved logic and rationality get pushed to the wall and shot in the back of the head.

      I for one wish Mrs McKinnon the best of luck. Even if she only get a few thousand votes those votes wont go to Straw.

      A voice that speaks out against injustice, for any reason, is never a wasted effort.

  18. Martin Nicholls


    "The fact that the Gary McKinnon extradition case has exceeded the lifetime of this current Parliament, is a scandal which belies any promises of swift or fair justice, made by this Labour government"

    The reason it's lasted so long is they lost more court cases than Microsoft have been involved in. Maybe time to realise you're on the wrong side of the law.

    Or as somebody involved in the original investigation put it: he could have been tried, convicted, done his time and been out by now.

    The only thing labour did wrong was let him have so many appeals.

  19. Graham Marsden

    he could have been tried, convicted, done his time and been out by now.

    Or he could have tried for a minor offence in this country and got a slap on the wrist or tried for a trumped up serious offence in the USA and locked up for years.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @Graham Marsden

      "and locked up for years."

      I think that should read "decades, if not given the death penalty."

  20. Anonymous Coward

    on a side note, about independent candidates..

    (forgive the dumb questions), what happens if a majority of candidates who win are independents? And what happens if there is no political party with a majority (or at least the minimum required)? Can the independents form together into a coalition party? If so, how about encouraging more independent candidates with local issues (applicable local issues - something like Jury Team) being promoted further - get all the mainstream muppets kicked out...

    I'll get my coat, it's the one with "anarchy" written on the back...

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Hung parliament, not anarchy

      There's no actual law requiring the majority parliament to form the government. We elect MPs, allegedly to represent us in parliament and the convention is that the majority party forms the government. However, the Queen is the person to "asks" the leader of the majority party to be her Prime Minister and form a government of ministers ash so chooses. Were the independents to become the largest block of MPs the Queen could simply say "this is the largest party" and ask one of them to form a government. Or she could ask the leader of one of the other parties to form the government. If she wanted to be really cruel she could pick the party with the least number of MPs and ask their leader to form a government. Imagine Broon being made PM again without even enough votes to decide what's on the Stranger's Bar lunch menu. It'd be poetic, if nothing else.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      the british constitution explained

      when there's no overall majority in parliament, the monarch asks the leader of the party with the most seats if he/she can form a government. if they say "no", the process repeats with the leader of the party with the next highest number. this continues until someone says "yes" if all party leaders eventually say "no", another election is called.

      the last time this happened was in living memory: the wilson government in 1974. heath couldn't form a government. wilson said he could. he dared the opposition to vote down his queen's speech and force another election (which arithmetically they could have done). they didn't. 6 months later he called another election and won a small overall majority in parliament.

      coalition administrations are quite common in other parts of the world, particularly when there's some form of pr to elect them. they're quite common here too: the scottish parliament and welsh/ni assemblies and lots of councils for example.

      btw the jury team are a bunch of loonies who make ukip look respectable

  21. Andus McCoatover

    Lotfi Raissi, anyone

    Don't have to go much further to find the lies US is feeding the UK.

    Oh, wait - incoming news:

    'Course, that's a fake video. Must've taken 'em hours to move the set of the "Moon Landing", in case the 'waving' flag was visible while they shoot up some camera-wielding mannequins.

    However, I've been led to believe there's another on the way. A Disney film about 40-odd playmobil dwarfs and elves shot to bits. Filmed in Realistic Vision from an authentic Black Helicopter and made available by - Wikileaks,org, Ooh, can't wait.

    Nah, personally I believe in the Gospel of Gordon Brown (with Tony Blair as His Prophet (PBUH) ).

  22. John A Blackley

    Not a question of guilt or innocence

    The man in question did commit the crime of which he is accused - he confessed to doing so. (By the way, the "They've got weak passwords" 'defence' is utter rubbish. If I leave my house unlocked you're still committing a crime if you enter uninvited.) Mrs. McKinnon and the rest of Gary's team are using the appeals system to fight a greater injustice - and that is, as many posters have already said, the completely unjustifiable extradition 'treaty' between the US and the UK.

  23. Mike 102
    Thumb Up

    Good on her

    She has some valid points. Straw should go...


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