Jack Straw: Nothing To Do With Us Guv: We’ve Only Been In Power Twelve Years 43


Jack Straw just made a most hypocritical statement in parliament in which he nobly said “I accept full responsibility” and then proceeded to claim he and the government had been perfect, but a lot of other people had been useless.

He was talking of the brutal murders of French students Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/jun/04/french-student-murders-bonomo-ferez-sonnex

Now we will never stop all murder. The killers did it, not Jack Straw. We will never stop all crime. But, as with the case of Baby Peter, in this instance there had been frequent contacts with the authorities in which the authorities ought to have intervened. One of the killers, Sonix, should have been in jail for several different reasons, and was not in jail only because of an extraordinary string of institutional failures.

Except that Straw just explained the institutions did not fail at all. New Labour has been in power for twelve years, so there was “No problem of under-resourcing”. It was instead a catalogue of individual mistakes by everyone except New Labour. It was all due, said Straw, to “Poor judgement and poor management within the probation service and individual failures within the Metropolitan Police and Prosecution Service”.

Yep. Probation officers, policemen, prosecutors, completely useless, the lot of them. Jack Straw’s system is perfect. But you just can’t get the staff nowadays. But Jack told us he had already acted. He had sacked the head of the London Probation Service.

This is the antithesis of the doctrine of ministerial responsibility. You sack a middle level civil servant as a scapegoat and explain it was all their fault.

Straw went on to outline Gordon Borwn style lying statistics of the extra resources that had been put into the services involved. But everyone knows that “extra resources” in public service go into exercises to determine centrally ordered performance targets, which themselves change emphasis with the tabloid headlines. You then have to design all the forms to measure the targets and all the accountants to cost resource spend per target measure achieved. Often there are artificial internal market procedures to monitor and administer too. Loads of accountants for that. And the people at the sharp end find career progression much more dependant on internal form filling ability than on the activity where you interact with the real world you are meant to affect. Then there is the constant pressure not to put people in jail, the jails being too full – for the most part with non-violent offenders, mental health cases and drug addicts.

The serious point of all this is that New Labour continually takes it on itself to blame civil servants for system failings. New Labour did everything good, but are nothing to do with anything bad, as if they had not been in charge for the last twelve years.

Jack Straw’s “I accept responsibility” before going on to deny it ad nauseam was too sickening for words. New labour have become a parody of themselves.


43 thoughts on “Jack Straw: Nothing To Do With Us Guv: We’ve Only Been In Power Twelve Years

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  • Jon

    I’d add to anticant’s list that the EU court decision on the proportionality of DNA retention of non-convicted individuals has been ignored by the Home Office completely. Rather than deleting profiles as they should be doing, they now intend to keep them for up to 12 years. Labour supporters can trumpet the “what about crime detection” angle, but that approach sidesteps the fact that the EU Court is being ignored.

    I think the ID cards project will die eventually, but not before billions are passed over to the private sector to build a big white elephant. NO2ID are extremely well organised for a small an under-funded pressure group and I would urge anyone worried about the rise of the surveillance state to set up a standing order of a few quid every month if they can afford to do so.

    On CCTV: we have recently learnt that the road network of number-plate recognition cameras are to be joined up into a national “anti-terror” detection network. Something very fishy is going on here – it’s almost like they want to introduce new mechanisms for social control. I guess I must be getting paranoid in my young age!

  • Jon

    Incidentally although I side with anticant on this topic, Eddie is generally right about councils ‘spying on rubbish disposal’. This comes from a news story in which people’s wheelie bins would contain an RFID tag to determine how much rubbish individual households were generating, possibly with the intention to charge people an excess fee if they were refusing to recycle.

    The story grew some legs when the angry tabloids got hold of it and rubbished the “left wing” mentality of “spying” and “tree-hugging”. In reality the papers were just annoyed because the idea that individuals can help save the planet represents small social change, which is the enemy of conservatism. It was also another opportunity at tax-bashing, which is often a favourite of the middle-class moaning minnies. In short, the privacy angle was a bit of a red herring – it was much more selfish than that!

  • anticant

    No, Jon, I don’t think you are paranoid. It’s just the mindset of nervous compulsive busybodies who don’t feel ‘safe’ unless everything and everyone else is “under control”.

    And eddie, the NCCL didn’t “disappear a long time ago”. It changed its name to ‘Liberty’, and if you look at its website you will see that it is very active on these and many other issues.

    Be sorry for me if you like. Obviously you are prepared to sacrifice your personal privacy, and everybody else’s, for the sake of some mythical ‘security’. Bring on a British Stasi State if you want to. I don’t.

  • anticant

    Jon, I wasn’t thinking of monitoring rubbish bins – though that is ridiculous – but of those parents who were placed under surveillance (by a Tory council!) to see whether they actually lived where they said they did when applying for a school place for their child. Naughty of them, I know – but they weren’t terrorists, which is what the Act is supposedly concerned with.

    And eddie, I don’t want some anonymous jobsworth snooping on my every movement snd communication. Who ARE these people? One of them might be you (horrid thought!).

  • Clark

    Eddie,

    “Whingeing, sniping, depressed”… No comment.

    YOU are favouring a system that ENSURES periodic total control by the Tory party. IS this what YOU want? If so, WHY?

  • Clark

    Eddie,

    I’m being charitable here, and assuming that you’re not advocating one-party rule in perpetuity by Labour…

  • eddie

    Clark That sounds good to me! Seriously, the two party system has served the USA well enough (I know, I know, I can see you frothing at the mouth already!) in that both parties can represent a broad church of opinion and reach a consensus on most policy areas, albeit that there is a fundamental agreement about basisc beliefs and principles – e.g. the capitalist system etc. It means that single issue areas can be left out in the cold, such as gun control or abortion, but I could live with that. Thatcher did some good and she revitalised the Labour Party, just as Blair has revitalised the Tories under Cameron. As I say, if you don’t feel either party represents your views, get involved and change them from within. You would be surprised how few people would be needed to change Party policy on an issue like ID Cards.

  • Clark

    Yes, eddie, and proportional systems work in a multitude of places without ushering in extremism.

    So what you’re saying is, let’s not have the Tory party till next time, hmm?

  • Jon

    I have always been suspicious of the idea of ‘changing a party from within’. This to my mind is a conservative (not Conservative) device to limit participation and to put speeding bumps in the way of meaningful change. I used to know someone who took the same line, and I understood it at the time to mean tacit disapproval of public demonstrations, letter-writing, direct action and civil disobedience.

    In fact I think the above, organised partly by single issue groups and umbrella organisations are in the short term our best bet on, for example, clawing back some of our liberties. Obviously parliamentary reform is essential but at the moment it is too corrupt, dishonest and set in its ways to deliver significant progressive change.

  • Clark

    I agree, Jon.

    A system that gets stuck in one state for twelve years or so, and only gets wrenched into its opposite state when it’s lost (some critical amount of) public support can never be responsive or accountable. It is precisely the top-heaviness of such a system that permits and encourages the “winning side” to be arrogant and corrupt.

    I attend demonstrations, but it’s a chore I would rather do without. I’d much rather be at a festival or a concert, knowing that my government could be trusted to work for the common good.

  • Jon

    I agree with all you say, except for demonstrations being a chore. They are a joy – it’s being ignored that is a chore! The opportunity to demonstrate is a human right, but we’re still luckier in this respect than many countries despite recently reduced freedoms. I don’t think any government, untroubled by the harassment of ordinary people over a lengthy period, can be trusted to work for the common good.

  • M Anderson

    Brown:

    “I take full responsibility…for what happened. That’s why the person who was responsible…went immediately.”

    What a complete and utter cunt!

  • Paul

    One factor that has been less widely reported in the Sonnex case is that the Sonnex family – despite their known recidivist, feral, Vauxhall Conference League criminality – had been allowed by their local authority to foster a child.

    The agency responsible for this crass placement – probably another tributary in that vast Amazonian delta of Toynbee-ist malevolence that is so much of local government – would almost certainly NOT have allowed a loving white couple to adopt a black child. The point is that morality is just like so uncool for the people running these social services. Ideology comes first – well along with the perverse admiration that middle-class liberal lefties have with degenerates who they’re never likely to meet on a day to day basis.

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