There will be no blogging during the holiday season. Hopefully the batteries will be recharged and things will return to normal in the new year.
I can’t see how Mr Quick can continue to lead the Damian Green investigation after this sorry episode. The whole Damian Green affair has portrayed the anti terror Police in a terrible light and has been an unmitigated PR disaster. The sooner the Police drop this investigation and move on to dealing with actual terror the better.
‘It seems a little bit like the addict returning to the drug.’
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams commenting on Gordon Brown’s spending splurge. Ouch!
Only a month ago Vernon Coaker, the Policing Minister in support of direct elections to Police Authorities said that ‘only direct election, based on geographic constituencies, will deliver the strong connection to the public which is critical’ and dismissing fears from the Local Government Association and Association of Police Authorities of the BNP flooding authorities with its supporters he added, ‘The BNP has stood against many of the councillors on police authorities. They have stood against me. How have we beaten them? By persuasion; we have pointed out the racist nature of much of what they say.’
Presumably what Vernon Coaker said a month ago no longer applies as the Home Secretary has dropped plans for direct elections blaming the politicisation of the Police as a concern and the potential for BNP members to get elected. How odd that in an old and established democracy, people fear the outcome of a democratic result.
As far as politicisation is concerned, Jacqui Smith is talking utter nonsense. She seems to think that when Police chase targets and do what Ministers want them to do there’s no politicisation but when there’s a chance that the Police might end up doing what the public demands, they’re being politicised!
It is in the Labour Party’s genes to try and maintain state control over everything. Here, it flirted with local autonomy for Police Authorities albeit based on flawed plans but at the eleventh hour bottled it as it has previously in health and education with plans for Foundation Hospitals and School Academies.
All 800 odd Woolworths Stores will close on 5 January 2009. This will add 27 000 to the unemployment figures which have increased by 137 000 in the three months to October 2008. This is the biggest quarterly fall in jobs since December 1992. Total unemployment is at 1.86million, the highest figure since the three months to December 1997, with those claiming unemployment benefit passing the one million mark. We’re back to 1979, Labour isn’t working.
Richard Branson has described the UK economy as ‘f***ed.’ His spokesman later explained that ‘He’s only saying what everyone’s thinking, in a more forthright way.’ Gordon Brown please note!
Gordon Brown has announced in Baghdad that all British troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by July 2009 as the forces ‘will have completed their tasks in the first half of 2009.’ Leaving aside the merits of the decision, he should have made this announcement to Parliament and properly thanked those who have lost their lives and been injured during the conflict but grandstanding on the international stage is what Brown is currently obsessed with and this announcement fits well into that obsession.
This announcement hasn’t come as a complete surprise. There was a great deal of uncertainty as to the exact role of UK troops in Basra and their effectiveness in maintaining law and order, and whether the Iraqi army has been trained sufficiently well to be able to control Basra. We’ll know for certain when they leave and how much control the Iraqi Government is able to exercise against the Shia militia in southern Iraq.
The timing of the withdrawal raises many questions and in particular whether this will lead to an increase in UK troops in Afghanistan or whether this is playing to a domestic audience in preparation of a 2009 general election. As with everything Gordon Brown announces, this isn’t as straightforward as it seems.