Is this all that Gordon has left to do?
I guess all the other problems facing the government must be solved as Gordon Brown is now to turn his attention to making sure that premiership teams select more British players. As The Guardian sports section puts it: ‘British players for British clubs.’ Brown is a genuine sports fan and there’s public concern over the issue, but is this really an issue worthy of government time?
Time for a hysterical overreaction
We've been having an argument in the office and I'd like you to settle it. On their side is sweet reason and a sense of proportion. On my side? I think the maths is on my side. The question is this - how seriously should we take the latest fiasco at the Home Office?
The problem for Jacqui Smith
Well, even before the recent difficulty over immigration Jacqui Smith wasn't particularly highly regarded. Her usurpation by Jack Straw made her look desperately weak, in a job that demands political strength perhaps more than any other cabinet post. John Reid's tactic was to say, after every such incident, 'Yes, this department's rubbish. I'm trying my best to sort it out, but Jesus!' It was surprisingly effective.
Davis accuses Jacqui Smith of risking public safety in order to avoid political embarrassment
In a Security Industry Authority statement, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith tried to defend herself over the issue of illegal immigrants being given security-related jobs. She emphasised how quick and "robust" she had been in dealing with it and claimed it hadn't been made public knowledge because they didn't have a clear enough picture of the situation.
Jacqui Smith, spinner par excellence
The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, has been caught out trying to bury bad news about 5,000 illegal immigrants. She gave a robust defence in Parliament today and won some of the hearts (if not minds) of MPs. However, Ms Smith, who Black Country parents will be pleased to know no longer is a teacher, is alas in charge of our security and borders. It is rather worrying that she can’t be a bit more upfront about the truth. But then the truth and Labour Politicians long ago parted company.
Ed Balls shows he is more politician than Cabinet Minister
Ed Balls came to the House for a debate on Education and Health with a soundbite in mind. He intended to share it with Parliament, the media and anyone else still listening. It praised the government and ran down the Conservatives in a predictable and foolish way. The soundbite was that Labour wants educational excellence for all, the Conservatives for the few.
Cameron's plan for referendums on council tax increases is another tax on local people
David Cameron proves again that sound bites are more important than substance when he announced that under the Tories, local tax payers will have the right to have a referendum on council tax increases each year. What utter twaddle. Anyone who knows anything about local elections knows that they actually impose a great cost on the council. Imagine holding a referendum each year and how much that would cost. I'll give you a simple figure. If the cost of a referendum for a council was just £120,000, then this equates, for an average sized district council to 2.5% of their annual council tax take. So get this. David Cameron proposes that councils spend 2.5% of their budget each year in order for local residents to decide if council tax should be cut by 1%.
Cameron has missed the point of localism
The Conservative party is correct to be concerned about local control and accountability: but this is the wrong way to go about it. Whilst David Cameron’s latest proposals appear to be about giving power to local communities, in practice they would just replace a national cap on council tax increases with a nationally set threshold after which a referendum must be called. This is hardly a step forward.
Gordon Brown’s Foreign Policy
Gordon Brown spoke about his foreign policy in detail for the first time since becoming Prime Minister. Previously, Mr. Brown was considered to be obsessed with domestic policy, with foreign affairs very much on the periphery:
Britain is losing the arguments in Europe
So we’re winning the arguments, eh? The EU is coming round to our way of thinking, is it? Anyone who thinks that reformers are now running Europe, and that Nicolas Sarkozy is one of them, should look at the speech I have just sat through in the European Parliament. Its full text hasn’t yet been posted, but Francophone readers will find a summary here.
Inside Out - the Tories accept the liberal view of prisons by asking Jonathan Aitken's opinion
Actually I don't think that Jonathan Aitken or Jeffrey Archer should have gone to prison, though both should certainly have been disgraced for their lies in court. Perjury in civil cases rarely if ever leads to jail, and it has always been my view that these two went to jail as part of a general Blairite frenzy, in which the criminal justice system sought to show that it was as New Labour as everyone else. Oddly enough, though I think Jeffrey Archer in general a laughable figure, I have some sympathy for the way he has behaved since he was imprisoned.