Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Spilling secret beans.

The Times reports conversations between the now Lord Irvine of Lairg and Tony Blair relating to the decision to abolish the position of Lord Chancellor :-
[Lord Irvine] first discovered that the office of Lord Chancellor was to be abolished and the job transferred to a Secretary of State in the Commons in early June 2003, just days before it happened. “I had no intimation of this but when The Times and the Telegraph carried the rumour I determined to see the Prime Minister.”

That was at No 10 on June 5. Mr Blair hesitated and then said that it was being considered but nothing had been decided. Lord Irvine asked “how a decision of this magnitude” could be made without consultation with himself, the permanent secretary within government, the judiciary, House of Lords authorities and the Palace.

“The Prime Minister appeared mystified and said that these machinery of government changes always had to be carried into effect in a way that precluded such discussion because of the risk of leaks.”

What makes Mrs Rigby more than a little bemused is what might have happened had these plans been "leaked" - presumably to the opposition and the media - and if these matters had been discussed, debated and voted on in Parliament, which is where we ordinary folk expect such wide reaching decisions to be made. With a massive majority it would have been surprising if things hadn't gone according to plan.

The end result is that Jack Straw, MP for Blackburn, is "Lord Chancellor" and "Secretary of State for Justice", in charge of the brand new Supreme Court which the "Justice Department" says :
... provides greater clarity in our constitutional arrangements by further separating the judiciary from the legislature.
This is the same Jack Straw that avoided answering a QT questioner, who asked, "Can the recent success of the British National party be explained by the misguided immigration policy of the government?", by coincidence only a day before other secret discussions were revealed (quoting from Minette Marin's article in today's Times) :-
Andrew Neather — a former adviser to Straw, Blair and David Blunkett — revealed that Labour ministers had a hidden agenda in allowing immigrants to flood into the country.

According to Neather, who was present at secret meetings during the summer of 2000, the government had “a driving political purpose” which was: “mass immigration was the way that the government was going to make the UK truly multicultural”.

What’s more, Neather said he came away “from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended — even if this wasn’t its main purpose — to rub the right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date”.

“There was a reluctance ... in government,” he wrote, “to discuss what increased immigration would mean, above all for Labour’s core white working-class vote.” The social outcomes that ministers cared about were those affecting the immigrants. This, Neather explains, shone out in a report published in 2001 after these confidential deliberations. One must question whether this is true. Needless to say, Straw has denied all this and Neather has since tried to back-pedal.
Mrs Rigby can't, from any of the reports she has read, work out what the truth is. She simply hasn't a clue. But, she does know that Britain has changed so much that it no longer even vaguely resembles the Britain of pre-1997 when Labour were first elected.

Since 1997 a whole generation of young people have grown up, they seem to accept that it's normal to be watched by CCTV cameras, that it's normal to be asked for identification by any number of either uniformed or non-uniformed individuals. It's normal for the Police to close roads without saying why, and it's normal for DNA to be taken at the slightest opportunity. It's become normal for summary justice to be served through the post, without the chance of time in a Court of Law to plead innocence.

Since 1997 it's become normal for people's personal and private opinions to result in dismissal from work, and words said in private conversations to be reported to the authorities. It's become normal for ordinary people to be criminalised for trivial 'new' offences, whilst thugs are let off with a warning, or taken to Alton Towers.

It's also become normal for our MPs to be subjects of scorn and derision - unworthy of the trust we, the public, place in them.

Mrs Rigby thinks it will be quite a tangle for the next government to unravel, if they have either the time or energy to do so whilst they are also dealing with the financial mess they will inherit.

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