Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Ritual Humiliation of Jacqui Smith

There were fun and games at the Home Office last night, when it was discovered that Justice Secretary Jack Straw was insisting on opening the Queen's Speech today on Home Affairs issues, and that the Home Secretary (technically the senior position) would be relegated to do the wind-up. It's the first time that a Home Secretary has been so ritually humiliated. Needless to say the Conservatives will be rubbing it in by putting DD up to open and Nick Herbert to wind up.

Meanwhile Jacqui Smith has written back in response to David Davis's letter about Sir Ian Blair, accusing him of being "opportunistic". That's a joke, when she released her letter to the media before she'd even sent it to DD. Who's the opportunist now then?

Back to the Queen's speech, the Parliamentary Channel were showing some highlights of yesterday and were using Charlie Falconer as a pundit. He really was rather good, and particularly catty. Upon seeing Jack Straw sans wig, he remarked: "It's like wearing pyjamas with no top". And when they honed on on Lord West of Spithead he said: "He sounds like something from the weather forecast." I reckon the only way to shut him up will be to grant him his full £100k a year pension. I'm sure no one would begrudge him it.

Post of the day is Dizzy's on why we don't need gay hatred legislation - HERE. And Our Kingdom makes the point that the 56 days debate is all about covering the Home Secretary's arse [insert sexist comment here].


Anonymous said...

Back to shilling for DD I see.

Not predicting the imminent resignation of Straw or Smith? You used to predict that John Reid was about to be toppled by the brilliance of DD and I seem to remember that every time Reid walked away stronger and DD was weaker.

Interesting to note that you (and therefore DD) gets the inside gossip from the civil servants. i trust we won't be hearing any lectures on civil service politicisation.

Anonymous said...

Its worth listening to the Radio 4 interview on Today with Jackie Smith - she hasn't a clue what she's doing and nearly admits it.

Anonymous said...

Great quote from the Times leader today, re the Big Speech:

"[Gordon Brown] loves the State and the State loves him and yet he has not fully appreciated that the State will never be sated and stands between him and his aims."

Phew. They really are going off him - just as the Daily Labourgraph is rushing into his arms, panting with passion.

Alex said...

Wake up and smell the coffee Iain. Did you really think that a terrorsit was going to crack and confess, or that the police would turn up that extra vital clue, decrypt the clinching email or smash the international terrorist ring in days 29-56?

This has always been about protecting politicians at the expense of members of the public, and if possible some of them would like to see an indefinite internment.

Whenever a politician says their first responsibility is the security of the nation you know that they are just covering their backsides.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Big Jacqui has accused Dave of putting party concerns before national security in criticising the hopeless inept Sir Ian. That's the first I'd heard that Blair is now in charge of national security - may God help us all.

Anonymous said...

(is 56 days enough?)

Anonymous said...

Home Secretary is the senior of all the Secretaries of State.She is the lineal descendant of the "Secretary of State" whose office was split in the late 18th century to allow Fox to become Foreign Secretary with all other duties remaining with the Home Secretary.Altogether a humiliation for Jaqui Smith and her office.

Anonymous said...

"Its worth listening to the Radio 4 interview on Today with Jackie Smith"

I chose not listen to it as I was sure it would not be worth it. Can't believe I was wrong.

Not a sheep said...

Jacqui Smith was hopeless on the Toady programme this morning. Even when faced with fairly tame questioning she floundered badly. To admit not to know how many days of internment may be required was an admission of failure, if she doesn't know (and she is MEANT to be in charge of the policy) then who does, maybe she should ask nice Mr Straw to let her in on the secret.

Anonymous said...

Dizzy's right, of course. We need new discrimination laws like a hole in the head.

Paul Linford said...

I reckon the only way to shut him up will be to grant him his full £100k a year pension. I'm sure no one would begrudge him it.

Would you really not begrudge him it, Iain? A man who couldn't even get himself selected as a Labour candidate and who owed his entire political career to the patronage of his former flatmate?

Iain Dale said...

Paul. Irony.

Anonymous said...

May I suggest that your theory is incorrect.

Jack Straw is the Lord High Chancellor and after the Prime Minister the most senior cabinet minister.

Anonymous said...

I'll having nothing said about Jacqui Smith's arse - I think she's quite shaggable actually...

nadds said...

With Jack's rep as a bit of a ladies man, I'm sure Ms Smith was in a much safer position being behind Straw

Anonymous said...

Another government minister is currently being publicly humiliated live on television. Smirking Liam Byrne doesn't look so smug now he's having his arse soundly spanked by Andrew Neil over immigration.

This follows on from James 'slimy' Purnell's pathetic lightweight performance on last night's Newsnight and Jacqui Smith blurting out "I don't know" when asked live on radio this morning what period they want detention of terorists suspects increased to.

Brown really has gathered an incompetent shower of political incompetents around him.

Anonymous said...

"we don't need gay hatred legislation" - is the intention to make hetros hate gays or for gays to hate hetros? There's enough hatred (much inspired by envy eg this post) in rightwing blogs (especially the comments sections) to satisfy anyone be they gay, straight, in betweenie or none of the above isn't there?

Anonymous said...

Liam Byrne MP Immigration Minister getting the 'smackdown' from Andrew Neil on The Daily Politics a few moments ago. Byrne's 'no-idea' answers show how much politics under Labour have gone down the shi**er. There is no road back.

Rocker said...

This blog is always more insightful when you are not flag waving for DD. He lost; get over it.

Anonymous said...

To my way of thinking we have hardly required any new laws for 40 odd years.

In the past attitudes became more liberal because the people did and the judges and the police naturally changed with the times. There are countless amounts of old laws that are simply ignored by the courts and the cops.

Now the people the police and the judges have become less liberal because they are being forced to be more so.

Using the law to force people to be more liberal is possibly the most silly thinking any politician can come up with.

The question is: Is it cock-up or is it fascist conspiracy?

IMO it is fascist conspiracy and it nearly always is.

It is done to destroy confidence in individual liberty and freedom.

To force the general population to believe that some would start eating our babies if the state did not take control of all of our lives and treat us like the naughty disobedient children they seriously believe we are.

Anonymous said...

I would be very interested to read lawyers' comments here on the question of post-charge questioning.

As a layman, the idea seems far more attractive than lengthening the holding period before charge - what are the pro's and con's please?

Anonymous said...

She was utterly hopeless on Today this morning. Kept arguing that the 28 day limit wasn't enough, and when asked what term was wanted, didn't know! Admitted there had never been an occasion when longer than 28 days was required, but thought that perhaps it might be, sometime.

Talk about out of her depth.........

We now know the reason she seemed so calm when she first became Home Secretary, with the Glasgow and London car bombs, was because she didn't have the least idea what was going on.

DD could well be seeing off yet another Home Secretary at this rate.

Anonymous said...

judith [1.09 PM] In my opinion there are no legitimate objections to post-charge questioning, and suspects should be told that 'no comment' answers will count as evidence against them.

The origins of the present prohibition on such questions go back at least to the 18th century and probably earlier.

Before 1898 defendants were not allowed to give sworn evidence in their own defence. They not only had the right to silence; the law inisisted on silence.

As a quid pro quo for what now seems a bizarre rule there were severe restrictions on questioning a defendant before his case came to court. He had to be cautioned before he was questioned and once he had been charged he could not be questioned at all.

The thinking was, that the prosecution had to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt without any help from the defendant. He could not be required to incriminate himself.

Then in 1898, defendants were allowed to give evidence for the first time. But the full implications of this change were not appreciated. The defendant was now allowed to explain himself, in the witness box, but he still enjoyed the right of silence.

As a result, since 1898, the prosecution has been placed at an unfair disadvantage.

The prohibition on questioning is still said to be justified on the basis that a man should not be required to incriminate himself.

But why not? Or rather, why should a man not be required, as part of a criminal investigation, to answer legitimate questions thrown up by the evidence?

Anonymous said...

All Labour ministers do the 'wind-up' for me.

Anonymous said...

DD demolished the case for mor ethan 28 days today. jacki smith actually looked scared as she sat there being sliced up by Davis

Anonymous said...

Has Jacqui Smith cracked up? She has been behaving oddly today, and seems strangely "out of it", terrified even.

I suppose that's what happens when you promote people way above their ability?

We've already seen Bob Ainsworth, Andy Burnham, Ed Balls, James Purnell, Yvette Cooper, and Liam Byrne (amongst others) taken apart and humiliated live on television.

Who's next, out of Brown's sorry bunch, to be publicly skewered?


Some misunderstanding here. The Lord Chancellor (Jack Straw) has always had precedence over everyone except for the Prime Minister. So no conspiracy here! But Smith is a total disaster with the charisma of a molusc. I'm sure she did my hair once.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:24

Are you living in a parallel universe? Is john Reid still Home Secretary? Nah. Is David Davis still the Shadow Home Secretary?

So, your point is what?

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, Trumpeter!

Anonymous said...

Just a thought. Do you think Jack Straw is to Gordon, what Prescott once was to Blair ?.

Because Blair could never rein Prescott in, despite Prescott's uselessness, bumbling, feathering his own nest and extra-marital affairs etc. And this was because Prescott once did his master's dirty bidding, but also because he knew where the skeletons were.

And perhaps Gordon is now having to do the same with Jack Straw - ie allow the vain and preening Straw to build his own ego-inflating empire and trample on fellow cabinet members etc....and all because Gordon is in hock to Straw for the latter helping to manoeuvre behind the scenes in 2006/7 and help force the toppling of Blair and to engineer the mighty Gordon's coronation


Anonymous said...

Iain, I'm a bit confused. Who is DD... is it David Davis or Jacqui Smith?

Anonymous said...

People ask questions but don't attempt to give logical answers.

Jackie Smith does not know her own policies because she does not decide them.

Gordon Brown does not have a vision because he has not been told what it is yet.

Governing and opposition MPs can not ever give a straight logical reason why we are becoming a province of a European super state against the wishes of a majority of the population of Europe. Because there is no straight logical reason, even they understand.

The world does not make any sense generally. Because the people that know, don't give us the full information from which to work it out for ourselves.

Women are good at doing as they are told and not thinking to deeply about anything other then the size of there backside on camera. Which is why they are perfectly excellent people to be seen to be running the country.

If Jackie Smith was as intelligent as a HS is supposed to be. Why does she give the impression that she would be under qualified to run a milk round?

Answer; because she is under qualified to run a milk round or in fact anything at all. A milkman has do his job properly and deliver milk.

Which is one of the many highly questionable reasons why she has been selected for the most important job in British politics at this time.

She can not deliver anything other then excuses and thats just fine for her real bosses, otherwise they would sack her. They do not because.

She is doing a great job at making excuses and hiding the real agenda. Mainly because she has not the foggiest idea what it is and does not even care to ask.

Only tell her bum is looking big on the box, and see how interested she gets then.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:24am, if it is politicisation of the civil service you are after, here you go

from Matthew Parris article in the Times today - the chairman of the rail regulator's stepping down letter.

That do?

Anonymous said...

I see that Lord Drayson, who I understand is some spiv appointed by New Labour as a minister in the defence department, has resigned so he can take part in the Le Mans races.

Excellent timing when it has just been announced that one of our soldiers died needlessly because the Ministry of Defence fouled up issuing the correct kit. Shame Lord Drayson couldn't show the commitment that is expected of the soldiers who rely on people like him.

One wonders on what basis he was appointed to the job in the first place - clearly commitment was not one of them. Did he make any donations to party funds? - I think we should be told.

Anonymous said...

I certainly wouldn't begrudge Falconer his pension. Whatever you think of the reasons he became Lord Chancellor, the fact is that taking the role cost him hundreds of thousands of pounds in future earnings (he can not practice as a lawyer anymore). Furthermore to penalise him extra for opting to sacrifice 10s of thousands of pounds when in the role, (by not taking the full salary), at a time when most people complain about the amount that Govt and MPs are paid just makes it even more absurd.

Anyone who thinks he benefited financially from becoming Lord Chancellor is just being blinkered.

Anonymous said...

Don't wish to cross swords with Mr Hayes but Straw's official title is Secretary of State (for the DCA) and Lord Chancellor.The office of Lord Chancellor has been downgraded as he is no longer Speaker in the Lords and his own title ranks it after his Secretaryship of State.The Home Office is the senior Secretaryships and therefore he should rank after Jaqui Smith.I really should get out more....

Anonymous said...

I am not sure about that, Penlan, though it is a well-articulated position - although some duties have been removed from the Lord Chancellor's role by having a Lord Speaker (or Lady Speaker), I'm not sure that amounts to being 'downgraded' - not compared to the Home Secretary's job, which lost a great deal more than that with the creation of the MoJ.

The Lord Chancellor actually outranks all non-Royals, with the exception of the Lord High Steward (we have not had one for many years) and the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is followed by the Archibshop of York and the PM respectively.

I'm not convinced coming second in a list of titles necessarily relates to ranking, as ordering does not always determine precedence (Victoria was "Queen of England, Empress of India" in that order, although Empress outranks Queen). Also, I am not convinced that Home Secretary is the true inheritor of the role of 'First Secretary of State' - in the absence of a DPM, would that not fall to the Foreign Secretary? Certainly, the last time a PM died in office, the natural successor was the Foreign Sec, and America still calls its Foreign Secretary the Secretary of State.

Just some thoughts - nice to discuss obscure constitutional matters on this blog for a change! The real question is if the PM was hit by a bus, who would Her Majesty ask to take over? I suspect Straw, but she might ask Harman as Acting Leader of the biggest party! What do you reckon?



Anonymous said...

OK, looking at the constitutional issues...

Jack Straw was quite right to insist on speaking first, he's the Lord Chancellor, the most senior extant Great Officer of State, so he has precedence over anyone in Parliament with the exception of Mr Speaker.

Morus: The office of Lord High Steward is indeed the most senior Great Officer, it's only filled at a Coronation, so 1953 is the last time there was one. Admiral of the Fleet Viscount Cunningham held the office then.

Of the Secretaries of State, the Secretary of State for the Home Department is the most senior, so if Mr Straw wasn't also Lord Chancellor Ms Smith would indeed take precedence over him, but he is so she doesn't!

As for the argument that the Lord Chancellor should be demoted in rank because he's lost some of his responsibilities; that argument applies equally to the Home Secretary, who has lost responsibility for the justice system.