Monday, January 22, 2007

Tom Watson's BitchBlog

Tom Watson's blog is becoming bitchier by the day. Today's 'bitchblog' reads...
David Blunkett opposes John Reid’s arguments to restructure the Home Office. He says that breaking the department up will create a “Balkanisation” of government. Now I know I was right to support John yesterday.
Saucer of milk, anyone? Mind you, as I'm reading Blunkett's diaries (review to follow when I have finally finished the wretched book...) I have to say he's got a point.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're not still persevering with that bloody book are you ! One of the few pleasures I still have in life is to look forward to the latest joke in Private Eye as to what will be done with all the unsold copies of it.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...the phoney war between Reid and Blunkett is just that - designed to distract attention from other matters.

Blunkett may have many enemies in the Government, but Reid wouldn't waste his energy on a scrap with him, and probably pops round to 'Annabelle's' for a couple of scotches every week.

Anonymous said...

What do you expect of one of Mr Broon's disciples who's pals with groaning Sion Simons?

IanP said...

and I see the the 'Party' have dragged out their latest offering to put down the Met inquiry, and another veiled terror scare.

See Frank Fields blerb on Comment is Free
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/frank_field/2007/01/best_use_of_police_time.html

Anonymous said...

I don't think that David Blunkett's opinion on this matter counts for very much, and is just sour milk. One of the problems with John Reid's plan is that it was intended that Lord Falconer would take over the Ministry of Justice. However, it was pointed out that this was not possible because he is a member of the House of Lords, and it requires a member of the House of Commons to be responsible and accountable to the public in relation to prisons.

The name of Hilary Benn has been muted for the post of Minister of Justice.

Anonymous said...

The whole thing at the Home Office is cosmetic nonsense.

Q. How is having a Cabinet Minister as opposed to a minister of State underneath a Cabinet minister going to make tuppence difference to the service provide to the punters?

A. Sweet FA.

What was previously crap will stay crap, what was good will stay good.

And it will all detract from the truth of four Labour Home Secretaries in a row and countless junior ministers who between them couldn't find a horsefly on a cowpat.

JonathanSheppard said...

I hope you didnt buy the book! Mind you if you did you would be in a very select club!

Gammarama said...

seems like your bitching about him being a bitch....!

Anonymous said...

Was that the same Tom Watson who was agent in the Hartlepool By-election who said that the statements put out by Jodie Dunn (when she was Dunn shaggin the local journos) about the local hospital being closed down were bollocks?

Perhaps someone should break his leg and send him to Hartlepool hospital?

Anonymous said...

Blunkett is wrong here period. The justice functions of the Home Office should be removed to DCA and that department renamed the Ministry of Justice.

What is the big deal? There's a Justice Department in Edinburgh for heavens sake or have we forgotten that!? And just about every other common law country has one. Only in this country do we persist with the accident of history that is the Home Office. Given it a security and immigration role, and leave it at that.

Not sure Jailhouselawyer that the LC is not the right person to be Minister of Justice. In fact I'd have the LC head up that Ministry because in law he/she needs to be legal qualified. Sure they need to be accountable to Parliament, but the Commons. Where did that come from? It was long thought that the Attorney General had to be a member of the HC for this reason. But Goldsmith manages to be as accountable to the Lords as any previous holder was to the Commons. I'd reform the office AG too after this cash for peerages farce. But that's another issue.....

Anonymous said...

the druid: It was my thought that Charles Falconer would get the job. However, my source said that had been ruled out because he is in the House of Lords and not in the House of Commons. It was not elucidated upon, and I did not ask the reason why because I accepted that he knew what he was talking about.

It could be that John Reid becomes Minister of Justice and Hilary Benn is given the Home Secretary's post. But, Reid wants Homeland Security as his interest lies in the terrorist aspect. In any event, it is supposed to be going to one of Reid's political advisers.

If Blair goes and Brown gets in, he does not want Reid on the backbenches causing any trouble. Brown is unlikely to keep Lord Falconer in his present post. Reid may still go for the leadership. If he does not, it is possible that he will get Homeland Security.

I suspect that it has to do with prisons and prisoners which rules out Lord Falconer.

james higham said...

Would you post an interim 'thoughts so far' on the diaries?

mitch said...

im still reading that bloody book and i have found something disturbing it harks back to a judas priest record that when played backwards had a hidden message, if you read the book backwards or indeed upside down it makes as much sense.

javelin said...

Splitting the Home Office between consumer and suppliers of justice is semantically the same as splitting the food ministry between the farmers and food standards.

I think this kind of "balkanisation" is good for voters and should be reflected in all departments.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jailhouselawyer.

In law I suppose there is nothing to prevent the Lord Chancellor being appointing from the Commons now. Only convention "prevents" this. Indeed, section 2 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 seems to contemplate it, as the "experience" that the PM can take into account when making an appointment includes "experience as a member of either House of Parliament". We assume that the LC has to sit in the Lords because it has been done that way for the last three hundred years and will continue thus.But the CRA removed the need for the LC to sit there. Only tradition remains. And tradition cuts no ice with this lot. Could it be that we are about to see the first non legally qualified/experienced LC of the modern age? Neither Reid nor Benn are. I wonder how the profession and judiciary will react to that news? They underestimated the backlash in 2003 when they tried to abolish the office of LC by press release. Um. Interesting.

IanP said...

A cracking article by the Easter Daily Press (EDP), originally spotted by Norfolk Blogger, lambasting the Home Office for putting Norfolk police under extreme financial strain because of cancelled force merger plans and withdrawal of funding for PCSOs.

http://tinyurl.com/yp7sor

Anonymous said...

the druid:

As I understand it, the only Home Secretary to become Prime Minister was Winston Churchill.

The Tories are cynical about Reid's announcement. I think they are being cynical for the wrong reasons. They are quoting the newspapers quoting doubts from 10 Downing Street. As I said, one of the problems that has arisen that was not first envisaged was the non-appointment of Falconer. It was part of the deal. Now there is a rethink. Not about the idea. The Prison Service and Probation Service has joined up under the National Offender Management Scheme (NOMS). It just needs the courts adding to this. It is two-thirds of the way there.

I have checked the Prison Act 1952, and this does not exclude Falconer. As you say, its probably convention. There again, it could be constitutional.

I did not put Hilary Benn in the frame. My source did. And said he would be happy with this appointment. I merely asked if he was a gambling man who would he put his money on. He is not, but he is shrewd.

I am a very cynical man. In the next few days I will know what exactly I am to be cynical about. Breaking the Home Office up doesn't do this for me. It sound sensible. Something else is about to break.

Anonymous said...

Jim Callaghan was Home Secretary and Prime Minister.

Anonymous said...

anonymous: You're right of course. His name was mentioned, but after that of Churchill, and I missed the significance of the back tracking, in my eagerness to make notes of the phone conversation about the future plans. I think the suggestion was that it was certainly a rare historical move from Home Secretary to PM, and that Brown was more likely to succeed and that Reid would be less of a threat if he got what he wanted. Sound like a typical bully...

night's black agents said...

Thwarted ambition/regicide seems to have curdled him. Ironically, now he's as toxic politically as the man Gordon sent him to assassinate. Gordo can't be seen to reward him lest he confirm his treachery so Tom's a latterday leper. Tom knows he can't depend on Macbroon's future patronage and gratitude has a short shelf-life. Look what happened to those who failed to rid Macbeth of Fleance.

Muttley said...

You're one to talk about cattiness!

william norton said...

Home Secretaries who have been Prime Minister:

Lord Shelburne, 1782
Lord North (ex-PM), 1783
Lord Grenville, 1789-91
Duke of Portland,1794-1801
Lord Liverpool, 1804-06 and 1807-09
Lord Sidmouth (ex-PM), 1812-22
Sir Robert Peel 1822-27 and 1828-30
Lord Melbourne 1830-34
Duke of Wellington (ex-PM) acted as a general purpose Secretary of State for everything for a month in 1834 (so arguably counts)
Lord John Russell 1835-39
Lord Palmerston 1852-55
Herbert Asquith 1892-95
Sir Winston Churchill 1910-11
James Callaghan 1967-70

machiavelli said...

it'll never happen; see yesterday morning's Lobby Briefing...
It was a smokescreen for Turner's arrest...

Anonymous said...

Well the Tories are wrong here. The establishment of a justice ministry is long overdue. Oh how I wish they'd fire up the brain before opening the mouth to make some cheap soundbite. But then Cameron's Conservatives are really "Conservative Lite" (TM).

Anonymous said...

Well the Tories are wrong here.

The Tories proposed this ages ago!

Anonymous said...

ed - when was that then? Precisely and in detail please.