Julian Assange has now spent 777 days in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. For every one of those 77 days the British Police have maintained a guard over Mr Assange’ s tiny piece of sanctuary on theoretically Ecuadorian soil in London, just in case he skips out of the country and thus avoids his required appointment with the Swedish police who want to question him about allegations of sexual misconduct. I do not know whether the Swedish Police are frightened of flying, or whether they are simply too proud to fly to see Mr Assange, but they have refused to interview him in the Ecuadorian Embassy, and so the British Police have maintained a guard which has cost the taxpayers of these islands £8 million so far.
777 is a magic number. It is a long time to spend in virtual house arrest, but Mr Assange fears that should he go to Sweden and answer the questions, not that he would face trial in Sweden but that he would be rendered to the United States where the authorities would gladly put him in prison and throw away the key (after due process of course) for having embarrassed the great government of the United States with publications of secret and disgraceful documents and videos on Wiki-leaks.
Virtually everyone agrees that the British taxpayer should not have to pay to guard Mr Assange. The Swedes could pay, but won’t, just as they could travel to interview Mr Assange but they won’t.
Having maintained a guard to prevent Mr Assange’s escape for 777 days, the British authorities would lose a considerable amount of face if they stopped the guard today. Authority hates to lose face and will not do it, as long as there are taxes in the kitty which can prevent a loss of face.
The best solution that I can see is that Mr Assange should leave for Ecuador and the British Police should let him. They can stage some mishap or cock up which would prevent the drain on our taxes, which could no doubt be used for better things. Whether, should this drain be stopped, the taxes would be used for better things is an entirely different quest.