The Sun made very interesting reading this morning with their hatchet job on John Reid. Their front page headline depicted Reid with his brain missing alongside the headline JOHN REID'S BRAIN IS MISSING. Inside there was a two page demolition job on Reid by George Pascoe-Watson, who has become as close to Gordon Brown as Tom Baldwin was to Alastair Campbell. The Dour One will have jad a wry smile on his face this morning. That's not to say Reid doesn't deserve a good kicking for his total and utter failure to address the prisons crisis.
Yes I read that as well. Mind you to be fair to John Reid the upcomming lack of prison spaces has been known about since 2000 and several Home Office ministers did nothing.
They even managed to sell off a prison ship!
Iain, you disappoint me - I thought this was going to be an article which would complain at how scandalous it is that our democracy is being undermined by main stream media tycoons who think they, and not the people, should decide who governs us...
That said John 'Don't exceed our prison capacity, 'cos we ain't gonna build no more' Reid is past his sell by date. Although a good man to have around if you want someone who can pretend everything in the garden is rosy when there is a 'bush fire'..
Check out Steve Bell's brilliant cartoon this week, with John Reid as 'Special Powers Man' complete with wearing his briefs on the outside..
This may be a case of Brown v Reid, but any story which highlights the sheer incompetence of the Blair era is surely a good thing?
Still... the enemy of my enemy is my friend... and someone has to derail the Incoronazione di Gordon
nah, its all a ruse, to build the internment camps that Sir Ian Blair spoke of...
As I don't possess a brain in the first place it can hardly be missing can it?
I have a suggestion for the prison crowding problems. Given the madness in New Labour I think it may just work.
What we do is ... we put the prisoners up in schools. That's right. During the day the children can go to school. Then at five o'clock when the prisoners get back from work the children will have gone home and the prisoners can use the school canteen to cook their evening meal. Compared to some of the other stupid ideas this Government has, I think this may just fly.
javelin why is it so silly?
no different from an open prison.
set them to work during the day , sleep over , out again 6 am.
Its a brilaint idea , no socialist could ever have come up with suc simple and practical idea.
turn the currnt open prisons into secure camps , schools into open prisons
The Sun, or rather Rupert Murdoch, is playing a devious game in my view. It seems to be backing Brown for the Labour leadership while dropping hints that it is going to back Cameron at the GE. I can only conclude from this that Murdoch believes Brown is a more beatable candidate from the Tories' point of view, and has
therefore decided to set him up for a great fall.
But don't blame it on poor old GPW. He's only obeying orders, as indeed his Thatcher-worshipping predecessor Trevor Kavanagh did when ordered to suck up to TB.
Javelin & Hitch...I think you may be onto something.
On the same vein, the government holds loads of properties of little value that could easlily be turned into prison space. The DTI has a large central London office and they are without any value whatsoever. The Home Office operates Lunar House in Croydon for it's immigration directorate. As we have no immigration policy at all other than "let em in", surely we could sack all those useless civil servants and put prisoners in there as well. Great Minster House in London is another candidate if we get rid of the less than useless Department for Transport (what Transport policy?). I'm also given to understand that the MoD has many central London offices.....
....And finally as it appears No.11 Downing Street is used for little more that the meetings of the Sith Institute, how about stuffing some prisoners in there as well.....
sorry Iain, it didn't show in the last comment!
benedict - I take your point, but you are making it sound like they were 'asleep on the watch'. It is worse.
This is a deliberate policy. If they can keep the number of prison places level, then they can live in a sort of denial that crime is increasing by telling the public:-
'The number of prisoners has NOT increased under labour' - despite the fact that the reason for that is that many of the 'prisoners' are in fact somewhere between 'open' prison and a town very near you readers..
Having prisoners and schoolchildren share school premises may seem like a good idea, but what about the dangers of them meeting at the changeover ? Who will guarantee that their minds will not be perverted by the cunning, amoral and nihilistic character of the pupils ?
This is surely 'Brown's reward' for having kept the BBC licence fee on a tight leash. Surely Nulabour have learnt by now that sucking up to the media is a fool's game - it can only give a short term boost to ratings.
Blair has courted the 'Daily Mail' for years - has it done him any good ? I think not - such a 'Faustian' pact was bound to come a cropper in the end.
Although others may point out that with 3 elections in the bag, it has worked for its intended life span.
Irrespective of the motivation behind this article it is impossible to deny its accuracy. Reid has cocked up every job he has had in government. He has hung on purely because he has been shifted every time the truth has started to come out about his department. This time his bluff is being called and a few hysterical headlines are not going to cover up the fact that he's a long way out of his depth.
Sorry I missed your point Iain? What was factually inaccurate about the story?
I phoned The Sun Missing Brain Hotline to report a find, but when they turned up it transpired that someone had dropped a walnut...
I am quite prepared to allow the poor prisoners to be housed in the castles and palaces that I hardly use and they can tend to the maintenance of these places and keep the gardens looking nice ready for Spring.
I think that the Sun headline 'John Reid's Brain is Missing) is grossly misleading. Has there ever been any comprehensive scan to establish that the attack dog had an adequate neural mass in the first place?
Given that there will have been all sorts of projections of existing prisoners' lengths of stay and current and future sentencing trends available to Ministers and top civil servants in the Home Office since time immemorial, there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for the present 'prison places crisis' except that the place is not fit for purpose, and run by the latest in a string of Secretaries of State who are similarly not fit for purpose.
Split it in two and you'll get TWO ministries which are not fit for purpose!
I am retired after working for 40 years in the Criminal Justice System. Throughout my working life there has been a crisis in the prison system. Various governments have utilised police cells, implemented early release schemes etc etc. Most Home Secretaries have contacted the judiciary to remind them of community penalties and only use imprisonment for those who are at the highest risk to the public. Despite much legislation by successive governments and criminal justice agencies telling us what they are doing to protect us with their unscientific risk assessment etc, the Criminal Justice System remains the same. Sadly, one cannot fit individual offenders into tick boxes nor do much to change behaviour.
An analyis of criminal convictions indicates that there has not been an increase in the number of offenders processed. We have become more punitive as a society - we have upped sentencing. At one time we gave out discharges and fines. These are now community orders. Those sentenced to community orders are now getting short prison sentences. Those given short sentences in the past are getting longer sentences. At the same time reconviction rates have remained stable regardless of the punishment. There is little difference between community penalties or imprisonment in this respect.
John Reid is having a torrid time having taken over a mess from many previous Home Secretaries. The media are now on the bandwagon...There has always been individuals absconding from Open Prisons, people on parole licence do reoffend. However, Open Prisons play an important part in preparing long term prisoners for release. In addition, we keep prisoners motivated (and prisons riot free) by the opportunity to be released early for good behaviour etc.
The Home Office has come under criticism - much of which is unjustified. At the same time, it is having to cope with a greater security need etc. John Reid is doing a good job trying to get to grips with an old fashioned department. I think he is doing a good job....
The thing is about the left-wing is that whilst believing that human nature can be almost entirely conditioned socially they also believe there is only one way of doing things - which happens to be their current ideology. The switch over from Blair to Brown will be very interesting from that point of view.
If you think I'm wrong - imagine New Labour suggesting they teach philosophy in schools. Would they really want to tolerate lots of English people thinking for themselves and inventing their own ideology? Any ideology as long as its based on our Human Rights and our version of what is politically correct. No, New Labour are quite happy with a Terry Gilliam Brazil like bureaucratic, largely dysfunctional industrial world.
Vote for Joe?
Vote for Joe?
Just looked at a debate on teaching Britishness in schools on the BBC. What struck me was that if Britishness was taught it would be "New Britishness" - made in the image of New Labour a New way of being. And I am sure Gordon Brown will have a New Britishness for us as well. New Labour stands for a New Britain - or Cultural Genocide to you and me.
I seem to remember history being full of politicial parties trying to wipe of culture. Cultural genocide never worked without ethnic genocide - but Blair and Brown seems to be giving it jolly good go.
the ethnic genocide's coming... thats why they building all the Internment camps...oops new prisons..
They are definately gonna need a lot more prison space when ID cards get in and are made compulsory....I'm not having one and won't pay any fines imposed........
likewise. I see Dizzy this morning says that 3000 DVLA records are sold each day now.
wish i could opt out of that one too, and the NHS spine network....
Is Blair shagging Ruth Turner?
Quentin Letts hints at it pretty strongly in today's Daily Mail.
I reckon he knows summat we don't.
Turn to page 18 of the Mail today and observe a great writer doing a masterly demolition job on the proposed Home Office split.
Re prisoners dossing down in schools: I think the Heads might have something to say about that. And the press wouldn't be able to print it.
You may be amused to hear that at today's Press gallery lunch when Reid stood up to speak he called Pascoe-Watson and threw a Walnut Whip at him.
Those who will now escape prison will instead be in the community supervised by an already swamped probation service. Some will re-offend spectactularly and John Reid (I refuse the Dr bit - only an insecure emotional cripple would insist on a "Dr" title when he's not a medical man) can then blame the probation service.
Why have none of you - particularly those who are apt to rant and fire off instant solutions - Javelin, Peter Hitchens, anyonebutblair etc - given a constructive response to the man below (anonymous 1.59)who actually has worked in the system.
Is it because you guys are all mouth and no thought.
Are you uncomfortable that it was just as bad under St Margaret Thatcher - which it was.
anonymous [1.59 p.m.] I don't agree that we are getting more punitive. What has changed is that we no longer pass short prison sentences (7 days, 14 days, etc.) because, we are told, they "do no good." So petty criminals no longer expect to go to prison for a first offence.
Now most criminals commit at least ten crimes for every one detected, and often have five or six convictions (= 50 or 60 crimes) before someone eventually plucks up the courage to send them to prison. So by and large, in the present climate of opinion, CRIME PAYS. And because we have a free market in crime, when crime pays, more people take to it. This is why our prisons are full.
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