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The Home Office’s latest abject failure

John ReidIt’s at times like this when I begin to wonder why we bother with the Home Office.

After a series of Home Office blunders and Home Secretary resignations, the incoming John Reid said the Home Office was ‘not fit for purpose’. He gives himself 100 days to fix the problem, and proudly announces ‘job done’. Then, as if by magic, yet another abject failure on the part of the Home Office is revealed.

The hugely complicated bureaucratic beast that is the outsourced Criminal Records Bureau is shown once again to be less than perfect, as if anyone had committed a crime abroad then it would not show up on their record. Mainly because no-one knew they’d committed it, police included, since the information sent by foreign officials had laid undiscovered in a file somewhere in Whitehall.

Ministers deny all knowledge, then it emerges that they were sent a letter last year about the problem. Presumably it was filed in the same place as the criminal records. So what excuse will be given for this mess? Probably that the letter sent acknowledging receipt of the first acknowledged merely that the letter had been received, not read. Or some such bollocks.

But at the end of the day, what does it matter? Even if the junior ministers get fired, in Blair’s jobs-for-all government they’ll be paid off and then rehired a few months later. It’s just another example of the ‘pretty straight’ ‘whiter-than-white’ Prime Minister and his incentivised dirty government.

The obvious solution is a wholesale review and redesign of the Home Office, possibly splitting it up into several smaller departments. David Cameron’s suggestion of a separate Terrorism Office is faintly ridiculous as it leaves bodies such as the Police with two governmental masters with different priorities, but the department could be split into several more manageable chunks. But it never will be, because that would involve a wholesale spending review, and that would never do at a bloated over-funded Home Office.

It would be nice to see some true accountability for these blunders, though. But introducing a system of proper accountability is not in the interest of any MP, so that’s certainly never going to happen – whatever party leaders might want us to believe.

Let’s sack the lot of ’em!

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

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