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Agree 100%. The disaster is the fault of the Treasury, and Brown is the Treasury. He's had far too easy a ride over this and the many other disasters he's inflicted on Britain over the past ten years.

I think the real problem yesterday was summed up when room was found in prison for the NOTW royal editor, but not for a pedophile. Obviously the NOTW guy had done wrong and deserved to be punished, but is he real a dangerous threat to society?. What are our jails for now?

I would like to see us commision a report in sentencing and punishment to see if there are different ways of punishing non violent and sexual offending, and to see if overall punishments really are fitting the crime at the moment.

England is a Democratic Centralist Society - Brown's 3-Year Plans lay down in detail how money is to be allocated and how many lamp-posts each council must have lit, and detailed control from the Micro-Manager Extraordinary in the Control-Freakery Centre.

Brown is the Wizard of Oz and Blair is The Tin Man

I would like to see us commision a report in sentencing and punishment to see if there are different ways of punishing non violent and sexual offending.

I agree entirely, Andrew - especially as I believe Geoff Hoon confessed on Thursday night's Question Time that the current sentencing regime has zero impact on, for example, burglary offences. (I commented on this at the time.)

And of course some culpability lies with the dour one in the Treasury - he's been Blair's puppet-master for too long now to avoid it. Occasionally makes me wonder just what it is that Gordon has on Tony...

Yup, if I remember correctly, Brown froze Home Office spending at the last budget. Puts all Labour's tough talk into perspective.

Just as Gordon Brown is perhaps the main culprit where the pensions scandal is concerned (as highlighted by Jeff Randall and Ros Altman on ITV a couple of nights ago).
Gordon Brown was also in favour of going to war against Iraq.
Most of the mud attaching to Blair must also attach to Gordon Brown.

I can't agree that Brown is the only or the real or the main villain of the piece.

I could list if not actually name many other people who should share the blame for over half a century of failed government policies on law and order.

Editor I agree that "Gordon Brown is the real villain of the affair"

Gordon Brown has raided every budget for his pet projects of Tax Credits (£14 bn) and SureStart and all the other alphabet-soup black holes that money has been attracted to

Some insights into the Home Office's own paper on forecasting prison places in 2002.


The "lowest" forecast (page 11) was that we needed 88,400 places in 2007.

This supports the story line above that the Home Office knew it needed more places but Brown blocked it.

This post from Wat Tyler's Burning Our Money site shows how the prisons crisis was predictable and predicted.

At PMQ's, I couldn't understand why Cameron didn't come back at Blair when he said 8000 places will be in place in 2012, that the prison population was forecast to be 100000 or therabouts. Where are the other 12000 prisoners going??

I get frustrated that Conservatives are not punishing the government more for their blatant failures.

Clearly we have to build the prisons that judges require and Labour have failed to do that. However, we also have to work earnestly to reduce the number criminals. That has been this government’s real failure – and a surprising one for a supposedly caring socialists. Wherever you look, the government has failed to understand crime.

ASBO’s: a badge of honour.

C-FAR: better results than the Probation Service and cheaper too – but not part of Gordon’s state monopoly on public funds and forced to close its doors.

Hug a Hoodie: David Cameron was mocked for talking intelligently about reducing crime. He should now be ramming their mockery back down their necks (but the media won’t go along with that because they were complicit in the smeer).

Automated fines: if you’re an honest person and you’re on the system, the computers will clobber you for late car tax, speeding, tax returns, etc. But if you’ve off the system, you get away with it all with little prospect of getting caught. No wonder there are now 2.25 million invisible cars (up 1 million on two years ago) being driven without tax – and likely as not without MOT or insurance too. The problem is growing so large that sooner or later the government will give us the only answer it knows: a road tax amnesty. Oh joy.

This is only partly correct as it only deals with the symptoms. We also need to look at the way Labour has accelerted the breakdown in law in order since 1997 (it had begun before).

I agree with Mark Fulford about the easy ride we give the government. Hope I'll be forgiven for pasting in a relevant post I made on the home page.



I do feel concern that even when the party tries to make these sort of points, the punches always seem to me to lack a heavyweight impact. Is it just me or has David Davis lost some of his vigour over the last couple of years?>>

It will be crime not the environment that will win us the next General Election.

Brown may well be the architect of this shambles but surely at least equal blame must be laid at the door of the last three Home Secretaries who have failed to argue their corner hard enough. Each knew what was going to happen and could have resigned none did. They deserve all the flak that is being aimed at them. The more I learn of Blunkett in particular the more I see what a spectacularly useless minister he was.

Martin Wright @ 16.05 - I bet David Davis hasn't lost any of his vigour, it is just that he has been reined in, and perhaps reluctantly!

And Malcolm the last three Home Secretaries may have been less than effective, but are you really suggesting that they may have been able to influence during their relatively short terms, He who has been sitting in the Counting House for nigh on ten years now, and is renowned for being unbudgeable anyway???

They could have resigned Patsy and explained the reasons for doing so. None of them did so they deserve everything they get. I did make a mistake in my last post though. It should have been last 'four' home secretaries. It was under Straws' watch that the Home Office finances began to fall apart.

Patsy Sergeant - yes, I had been wondering about that. No doubt some wise person will tell us not to worry about missing the open goals, it's all part of a broader long-term strategy for electoral success!

My post above seems to have lost its intro to Simon Heffer's piece about the way Labour had accelerated the decline in law and order.

Martin - was that a deliberate double meaning for 'open goals'??, because it made me chuckle a bit since it is so apt at the moment!!!

Patsy- let's just put that down to a "lucky strike",to continue the footballing metaphor!

Michael Portillo has taken up this 'Brown to blame' theme in his Sunday Times column:

"The goal for the Tories must be not only to end Reid’s career but also to paint Brown as the co-offender. It is the chancellor who is principally responsible for allocating enough public spending to achieve each of the government’s policy objectives. In a properly functioning administration there could not be such a mismatch between changes to sentencing policy and the distribution of resources to prisons.

In part it is because Brown has squandered money ineffectively on health, education, tax credits and the “new deal” youth training scheme, leaving the Home Office strapped for cash. As a former Treasury minister, I should add that chancellors always take a dim view of the Home Office — and for good reason. Its demands for money are never-ending and the value it achieves is unimpressive.'


Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has today outlined why Gordon Brown is to blame for the Government’s failure in its most basic duty of protecting the public.

Clearly John Reid has only himself to blame for some of the recent errors in managing the Home Office.

But the root cause of the current crisis began well before the current Home Secretary’s time, and can be firmly laid at the door of Gordon Brown, who:

· Prematurely froze the Home Office budget, instead of considering its needs in the Comprehensive Spending Review;

· Supports the £20bn ID card scheme instead of building new prisons;

· Tied up the Home Office in a web of central Treasury targets;

· Has blocked new prison projects through the Private Finance Initiative, because these would be “on-balance sheet” and add to the government borrowing figures.

Commenting Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said:

“Gordon Brown likes to claim he has been the one running the government for the past 10 years but when trouble arrives he quickly vanishes. His Treasury targets, his skewed PFI accounts and his extraordinary decision to freeze the Home Office budget, have all contributed to the current crisis in our prisons and the criminal justice system.

“Protecting the public should be the first duty of anyone aspiring to be Prime Minister, but it is clear that Gordon Brown’s political meddling is letting the country down and making the country less secure.”

Good release - let's hope the papers pick it up

It will be crime not the environment that will win us the next General Election.
After more than 50 years of Liberal Criminal Justice Policy from Labour and the Conservatives people with a great degree of justification are going to be cynical about both main parties, so for all 3 main parties I doubt it's going to sway people much between them, might drive people towards other parties but unless the Conservative Party are proposing a real crackdown with far harsher prison regimes, more police, lowering of the burden of proof, restoration of Capital Punishment and Corporal Punishment in prisons and scaling back restrictions on the police then I doubt people are going to be generally very impressed.

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