Monday, May 22, 2006

Give Us Our Money Back

Some people seem to be arguing that you can't blame the government for the shambles at the Home Office- that's just the way it's always been.

Can that be right? Did we always have the releases of foreign murderers and rapists, the absconding prisoners, the predatory paedophiles left at large, the cocked-up criminal records system, the non-existant border controls, the officials selling visas for sex? (As a real teeth grinder, watch this video to see how our Immigration Directorate is now manned by the self-same guys who demand bribes at up-country Nigerian road blocks).

Did we always have Home Office mandarins who never take responsibility and who can't even produce accounts that add up?

Alarmingly, it seems quite possible: Michael Howard says that when he became Home Secretary his officials told him his main job was to explain to the public why government could do nothing about rising crime. Another part was to big up the Home Office's preferred measure of crime- their annual opinion survey that somehow always says it's falling, even though actual recorded crime goes on rising in line with the evidence of our own eyes (the British Crime Survey).

But if these problems have always been there, what makes anyone think our meet-the-new-boss-same-as-the-old-boss national politicos have the slightest chance of sorting it out?

This is protection we'd be better off without.

Time to go back to the drawing board. Every year government spends about £30bn on law and order, including the Home Office. That's about £500 pa each. Now take Mrs T and I: we live in a town of about 100,000 people, so its share is £50m. We could buy an awful lot of law and order for that, epecially if we implemented some of the Major's more innovative ideas for Shock and Awe Justice.

Give us our money back and we'll look after ourselves. A local sheriff, cheap and cheerful prison, and community engagement- we'd all be a whole lot safer than struggling on under the guardianship of these unaccountable clowns.

2 comments:

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