Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Monday, 19 June 2006

Labour populism from the ridiculous to the dangerous

This Labour government seems to want to run this country solely according to what this or that Minister thinks will play well in the tabloid press. Two of the latest examples, from today's attempt at setting the news agenda:

- The Prime Minister thinks it appropriate to second-guess the England manager in his choice of team for England in the World Cup. Of course I accept that Tony Blair will have his own views on this matter, but his naked attempt to keep himself in the public eye on this hot-topic issue is laughable.

- Home Secretary John 'hard man' Reid is criticised by Dyfed-Powys Police Chief Constable Terry Grange, the child protection spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers, for 'surrendering' policy on how to deal with paedophiles to the agenda of the News of the World newspaper; Mr Grange told BBC News that this year alone in the US five people had been murdered:


"by people who have accessed the sex offenders register, gone to their houses and killed them".

"This government has accepted the principle that they are prepared to be blackmailed," he told BBC News.

Mr Grange accused Home Office officials of "attending meetings at the behest of a newspaper to discuss what the newspaper wants and then surrendering to their wishes - altering their whole approach over night".

He spoke of an "abandonment of any real strategic design in the Home Office for the management of sex offenders in favour of trying to find out what one particular tabloid newspaper wants and then complying with their wishes".

"If the officials working at the Public Protection Unit at the Home Office were able to speak, they would tell everyone they are in a state of complete despair as to where the strategic plans, the original intent - a coherent strategy for managing sex offenders - has disappeared to.

"It is impossible to work consistently, coherently when every month or every six weeks there is a policy change or reaction brought about by pressure from the media.

"Most of my colleagues - certainly chief probation officers across the country - find it impossible to do their jobs.

"The only people with any real strategic intent and understanding of where they want to go and the will to be ruthless in getting there is the News of the World."

Of course, this is all according to Mr Grange, but last Monday's attempt at setting the news agenda by John Reid was the quickly retracted suggestion that people should 'have a go' and defend themselves when faced with crime, despite the fact that this can be both dangerous and foolhardy, if the case of Tony Martin and other numerous cases are a guide. So John Reid has recent 'form' in this area.

Mr Blair's brand of populism is ridiculous, pathetic even - that practised by Mr Reid (and predecessors Clarke and Blunkett) is idiotic and dangerous!

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