Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jacqui Smith's Unravelling Record

It really hasn't been a good week for Jacqui Smith. Indeed, I can't remember a worse one for a politician since Gordon Brown's last one. As Cilla used, to say, let's have a quick reminder...

  • A forced apology to the House of Commons over her second home claims
  • The ban on Geert Wilders being overturned by the courts
  • The Damian Green police action being criticised.

And remember that Alan Johnson recently overturned her ban on the US shock jock Michael Savage entering this country.

I cannot remember a former government minister's record unravelling quite so quickly. Ever. Can you?

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

That Jacqui Smith is useless is hardly a surprise. As was said of David Frost, she rose without trace, and was appointed as Home Secretary purely as tokenism to assure at least one woman in a major office. As with Estelle Morris and Ruth Kelly, she was over-promoted for reasons of internal Labour party politics. Her fall is as unsurprising as theirs; she's better off on the back benches because that's all she's capable of, and like La Kelly she'll be looking for a new career next spring as she's almost certain to lose her seat. Good riddance.

trevorsden said...

Michael Martin? His twang must have misled you - what he actually said was, "a ----ing fairy bugger"

The Glasgow Kiss he then planted on you probably added to the confusion.

Anonymous said...

..and it's only Tuesday!

John C said...

I agree anonymous.

For me, Jacqui Smith losing her seat will be more 'Portillo' moment of the 2010 election night coverage.

She was goddam awful.

At least Estelle Morris did the brave thing and resign and admit that she was not up to the job.

DMC said...

Jacqui Smith before she become Home Sec, was actually pretty impressive.

I think she was promoted too fast, I think she perhaps should have been promoted to something like Communities or Culture.

Also she was unfortunate to have been followed by Alan Johnson, whom really is the star prefromer of this government.

Anonymous said...

When someone has misappropriated £116,000 and is told to apologise but keep the money, it can hardly be considered a bad week.

I hope she doesn't resign. I hope she decides to contest the next election. I want the pleasure of her being forced to listen to the opinions of her Constituents on her (and her husband's) thievery. I also want the pleasure of watching on election night when she is humiliatingly thrown out of Parliament.

I'm sure the good voters of Redditch won't let the country down.

Anonymous said...

On the positive side for her though, £116000 of free money obtained by deception with no need to pay it back.

Dick the Prick said...

Iain - apols for bad etiquette but FPT - is it possible that the Carter Ruck injunction was just a new supreme court judge who was just spunking off in public. It ain't Carter Ruck that was at fault and not the oil firm legally (bit ropey operationally by sounds of it - tbc I guess) but the fact that the judge didn't tell them to bugger off.

Back OT - only cared about Jacqui when she was home sec - don't care now - cheerio!

judith said...

As I recall, Estelle Morris had the honesty to say she wasn't up to the job, unlike most males in politics.

And I always had a little soft spot for Ruth Kelly - I think she, like many mothers in Parliament, discovered being an MP was a bigger and nastier job than it looked at first.

Dick the Prick said...

COT - on BBC2 they're getting monkeys drunk - awesome!!

Anonymous said...

You're forgetting that her expenses claims have not, yet, gone away. There may, still, be a major sting in the tail on that score.
Lying about the number of nights she spent in Redditch is not going to help her cause, nor her defence of the case being brought by the Sunshine Centre.

David Anthony said...

I cannot remember a former government minister's record unravelling quite so quickly. Ever. Can you?

Hopefully Gordon Brown's...

Glyn H said...

Wrong slot, so to speak, as I don't do twitter; but on your way to Osterley? It's mid/late evening and you live in TW. WTF are you doing? I admire your energy but is this not putting yourself about a little too much?

outed said...

As someone once said "born to wear clown shoes"

James D said...

I'm sorry, but it's not really her record. She was just another incompetent minister. She has done her ceremonial job of carrying the can.

The real villains in the Home Office are still at large. The most notable of their number are the Permanent Secretary and architect of the Damian Green fiasco, Sir David Normington; the Director of Banana Republics, Lin Homer; her deputy who seems to think Britain is a large borstal, Brodie Clark; and the unholy trinity behind Biometric ID Cards and the Integrated National Database: James Hall, Duncan Hine, and Katie Davies. I can take no pleasure in the downfall of Ms Smith whilst these six politicized civil servants remain in post.

The only way the British people and government can regain control of these areas is to make them all redundant (if we can fire Sharon Shoesmith for not knowing things, we can surely fire civil servants who know they are doing things against the public good). Let the FCO appoint a Home High Commissioner with responsibility for passports and migration; and let economies of scale be found in joining up the management of the police and fire brigade at the DCLG.

The incompetence, politiicization, and waste goes much deeper than the former minister. A future Conservative government must excise this cancer or else have it destroy its weaker members, just as it destroyed Ms Smith.

Fausty said...

She was hopeless as Home Secretary and ruthless.

She's also made fraudlent claims and should pay the relevant price - prosecution.

Apart from Brown and Mandy, she's probably the most loathed person in Britain!

Peter said...

She must have a very thick skin.
After all the blunders, humiliation and fiddling and she still reckons she can carry on as an MP.
How her party haven't told her to step aside is beyond me. It just shows how far Labour have sunk.

Anonymous said...

``I think she, like many mothers in Parliament, discovered being an MP was a bigger and nastier job than it looked at first.''

What has being a mother got to do with it? Her husband doesn't work and provides full-time child care, so her position is precisely the same as a man whose wife provides full-time child care. That she has a lot of children is her problem, not mine, and that as education secretary she regards the service her department offers as suitable for the people who pay her wages but not suitable for her little darlings just shows you the contempt she holds the rest of us in. Another one we can hope to watch having their `careers' ended next spring.

Chris A said...

but Iain can you ever remember a Home Secretary as thick as Jacqui Smith before?

Silent Hunter said...

Jacqui Smith!

Proof that Crime DOES pay!

Jimmy said...

"I cannot remember a former government minister's record unravelling quite so quickly."

With a memory like that you'll go far.

Bath plugs for the many, not the few said...

Is it too much to hope that even worse weeks for Jacqui Smith lie ahead?

However, the anticipation is somewhat diminished by the suggestion that she could be moved to the House of Lords after her forthcoming defeat at the next election, where she can doubtless continue to feed at the trough.

Dimoto said...

Very well said James D!

Anonymous said...

Did nobody ever wonder about the security of papers she took 'home' to read in a terraced house box room?

Ron Todd said...

DMC

If Alan Johnson is a star then the group he is a sat of must be a sorry bunch indeed.

Cynic said...

Jacqui Smith deserves what happened to her but the bigger problem is the Home Office itself.

'Mot fit for Purpose' said John Reid, and he was absolutely right. It is a total utter mess.

The split into Justice and Home has helped but left 2 departments that are still unfocused, poorly managed , hopelessly incompetent and cost more. At one point Blunkett did clean out the senior management moving about 30 SCS in a month - but it was a simple scything operation cutting down the committed and good with the disastrous. Those who filled their shoes were little better and had lost all corporate memory.

In general the SCS don't do major projects (don't have the skills old chap), procurement (terribly complex), accounts (I was more a classics man myself). Many of these are all farmed out to consultants - very often including retired members of SCS who have miraculously acquired these skills upon leaving the Service

There is a fundamental split between those who do operations and the Praetorian Guards who think great thoughts and write policy papers for Ministers. These are often unconnected with harsh operational realities but when things go wrong guess who gets the blame? "Oh Minister, look at the mess they have made of implementing YOUR policy"

Although the mix of the SCS has changed in recent years you will find that the nouvelle riche have ended up in operations while the Praetorian Guard is usually irredeemably white and Oxbridge - though they do let gals in now, provided they are the right sort of gals.

So the fundamental problem is that both Departments are still too big and do too much. They are have corralled Ministers into making all the decisions. This swamps them and prevents them for holding officials to account.But above all we need a completely new business model for running Government Departments and there is no chance of developing one while the SCS remains unreformed.

That's why the new Conservative Government offers a once in a generation chance for transformational change. It must not just be about cutting costs - but redefining HOW we manage government.

PS left to their own devices the SCS respnse to this will be to set up a Machinery Of Governmnet Working Group (MOGWG). This will have about 25 members and a secretariat of 10 staff. It will produce a carefully honed report (circa 2014) highlighting the way in which the Department of Widgets can make a 3% productivity improvement in widget production in 2016. Anything more radical will be delayed 5 years in the hope of a change of administration at the next election when it can he quietly shelved or by which time leading members of MOGWG will have retired and be working for the consultants employed to implement it

syndicate said...

This is the same woman in her role as Home Secretary has been rushing through laws that allows the government to pry into peoples private affairs. well she has been hoist on her own petard wonderful!

John K said...

Cynic

Cruel but fair, and chimes with my experience in Education in various incarnations.

David D

You left out "Sir" Gus O'Donnell, Cabinet Scretary, who oversaw the whole charade.

Grumpy Old Sod said...

But will she be getting a letter from Sir Thomas Legg to help things along a bit?

Mel Cannon said...

She's waiting for confirmation of a seat in the Lords before she steps down.

DespairingLiberal said...

JamesD and Cynic are right - it is the attitudes amongst the top brass in the H.O. that constantly create these bizarre and outrageous situations, as for example when they decided it was fine to despatch plod to arrest an MP because they felt mildly embarassed by some leaks. It's even more preposterous that the police involved compliantly took orders from this grotty clique to arrest a democratically elected representative carrying out his proper duties as an MP.

Hopefully at least the latter will now have changed, but I have no faith in the former.

Alas, there seems little ground for optimism that the rather inexperienced, error-prone and much flipped Chris Grayling will be able to do much to bring them into line. David Davis would have been a different matter altogether.

King Athelstan said...

Whats this obsession with Postman Plod? He's a horrible snarky little tosser dressed up in in a phoney hail fellow well met persona.

Triffid said...

And yet she still hasn't been prosecuted.

Isn't it normal practice for Home Secretaries to be given an automatic peerage ?

My, won't that be a happy sight to see a proven thief with her grin stuck on her face as she gets to trough for years to come ?

Unsworth said...

@ James D

Exactly. And one should also consider those at senior levels elsewhere - MoD being but one example.

Who is that ensures continuity?

Thatsnews said...

Good grief. If Alan Johnson is their star performer, then they are doomed.