Thursday, July 15, 2010

'Craven, Complacent, Conceited & Catastrophic'

The coalition's commitment to reducing prison numbers has been presented as being something surprising and out of character for a Tory dominated government. However this is only because people make the mistake of believing what the Tory's say rather than traditionally do (with the notable exception of Michael Howard). Stephen Pollard reminds Telegraph readers of one of Margaret Thatcher's Home Secretaries:
One only needs to turn the clock back a few years to the tenure as home secretary of one of the most craven, complacent, conceited and catastrophic public figures of recent years: Douglas Hurd. As home secretary he presided over record crime increases, allowing more criminals to roam the streets than any of his predecessors and ruling out any notion of reducing crime. Lord Hurd's philosophy was Conservative penal tradition at its worst: that the purpose of policy was to stem the increase in crime. The thought of reducing it was laughed out of court.

No liberal penal idea was too much; any idea of punishment didn't bear contemplation. As home secretary, from 1985 to October 1989, Lord Hurd set out to reduce the prison population. The consequence was a rapid increase in crime. In 1985 there were 46,800 prisoners, rising to 50,000 in 1988 as judges responded to the consequent crime wave. But rather than back the judges, he cut the prison population so that it fell to 45,600 soon after he left. Police-recorded crime increased from 3.6 million in 1985 to 4.5 million in 1990. Yet even today he still bangs the drum for reducing prison numbers as chairman of the Prison Reform Trust.

When Labour claimed that a Tory government would take us back to the 1980s I was delighted, unfortunately the one aspect of the Thatcher government that the coalition seem to want to emulate is their strategy on crime, where the brilliant idea of not locking up convicted criminals led to a surge in offending.

Ken Clarke attributes the fall in crime from the early 1990s to his success as Chancellor rather than Howard's tenure as Home Secretary. However it is noticeable that the recent recession saw a drastic fall in the homicide rate to its lowest point for almost 20 years so it isn't really clear cut that economic growth reduces crime.

7 comments:

Furor Teutonicus said...

something surprising and out of character for a Tory dominated government.

You jest?

In a coalition, the minor party ALWAYS has the reins. Because the larger party are shit scared of them dumping them, and leaving them at the mercy of the electorate.

THAT is why you do NOT want PR in Britain. WE have had nothing but coalitions since Adenauer, and see what crap it has got US into!

David Vance said...

Clarke is a lunatic. He should be locked up...

Ross said...

FT- the minor party probably has a disproportionate influence compared to the major based purely on a seat count but it is still less influential.

DV- That would be a cruel and unusual punishment for the other prisoners.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Ross said...

FT- the minor party probably has a disproportionate influence compared to the major based purely on a seat count but it is still less influential.


I KNOW from where I write(talk). We had a bloody "green (Whom, as a party, only got around 5,xyz% of the vote!) as a FOREIGN MINISTER remember. ( Joshcka Fischer).

Now let me remind you of the power that this prick had;

From the 1966 Grand Coalition government of Kurt Georg Kiesinger onwards, the office has been held by a member of the smaller partner in coalitions. Therefore, the Foreign Minister also mostly holds the office of Vice Chancellor of Germany, although there have been notable exceptions, most recently during the term of Franz M√ľntefering as vice chancellor (2005-2007).

The Vice-Chancellor of Germany (German: Vizekanzler) is, according to protocol, the second highest position in the Cabinet of Germany

In case of the Chancellor's absence, the vice-chancellor acts in his or her place, for instance by heading cabinet meetings. The vice-chancellor will not automatically become chancellor for the rest of the term if the chancellor dies or becomes unable to fulfill his or her duties in any other way. It is the President who asks a minister to fulfill the chancellor's duties until the Parliament elects a new chancellor. Usually, the president asks the vice-chancellor.

In modern times, vice-chancellor is not an independent office, but a position held by one of the cabinet ministers. Since 1966, it has often been held by the minister of foreign affairs.

Officially, it is the chancellor who appoints the vice-chancellor. Since coalition governments are common in German politics, the vice-chancellor in most cases represents the junior coalition partner and is often the chairman of that party.

"Less influential my ARSE!

Ross said...

Yes the junior coalition partner has a lot of power in some circumstances but surely being appointed as acting Chancellor during interim periods, heading up the foreign ministry etc can't be as powerful as being Chancellor the rest of the time.

Besides which the Lib Dems don't hold any of the big offices in the UK cabinet.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Ross said...
Besides which the Lib Dems don't hold any of the big offices in the UK cabinet.


I would have said "deputy P.M just about covers THAT one, OR?

And it is not even necessary. As has been shown, the Libs have the Commyron bastard by the short and curleys any way.

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