I have just been watching Andrew Marr's interview with Jacqui Smith. At the end of the Major government, many Cabinet Ministers appeared on TV and were seen as totally out of touch with public opinion. The interviewer would say something was white and they would say it was black. Perfectly decent human beings were seen as tired and out of touch with the people they were governing. Jacqui Smith exhibited all those signs in this interview. She had a line to take and she stuck to it. She refused to apologise to Damian Green and his family for their treatment and said it would be wrong of her to make any operational comment on the Police action.
Indeed, her attitude was that the Police had carte blanche to do as they liked if it furthered an inquiry. If that isn't the sign that we live in a Police state, I don't know what is. If she can't see that things have gone too far in this case, I cannot see that she is fit to remain in office.
Jacqui Smith rightly said her Department and the Cabinet Office should investigate a series of "systematic leaks". Of course they needed to. No one denies that. But she failed to convince anyone watching about the need for an Opposition politician, who was doing his job, to be arrested.
She also refused to confirm or deny whether she had signed a warrant enabling the security services to bug Damian Green's phone. If it turns out she did, then the consequences are clear.
If she genuinely didn't know anything about the Police investigation until after Green's arrest, if she genuinely thinks she shouldn't have intervened at that point and told the Police they had overstepped their operational freedoms, one has to ask, what is the point of her being Home Secretary? If she genuinely believes the Police have the operational freedom to act as they see fit, and thinks it is perfectly reasonable for nine counter terror officers to ransack a Member of Parliament's home then we live in very worrying times indeed.
The Home Secretary is accountable to Parliament. In this case, it seems the Police are accountable to no one.
PS Carol Vorderman was brilliant in the paper review on this issue, calling the arrest "disgusting". She laid into Jacqui Smith - such a shame she didn't carry out the interview with Smith rather than Andrew Marr. Catfight!