Don’t be too mystified about that very large belch you may have heard last night. It was merely the quicksands of the Home Office devouring yet another minister. I can only think of one Home Secretary who escaped with his reputation intact. Ken Clarke. But to say that in these poisonous and rancid times in the Tory party, is tantamount to telling the Shadow Cabinet that Tony Blair wasn’t a bad fellow after all.
One of the reasons I haven’t been blogging for a while is that I have been concentrating on putting together a three hour live news and current affairs show every Sunday between twelve and three pm. But now all the bumps in the road have been ironed out I can relax a little more. What finally convinced me that Rudd’s position was untenable was when my producer handed me, mid programme, the brief about who had said what on the political shows. As soon as I read that Brandon Lewis was less than orgasmic in his support, I knew she was flat lining and that the plug was about to be pulled. Brandon is a former minister for immigration and is probably still trying to understand how it was possible that Rudd was not aware of removal targets. Sadly, her leaked memo about targets undermines everything she told the House.
One of the few golden rules in politics is that the Seven Horsemen of the Apocalypse barely break into a trot when there is a scandal, but are in full gallop when there is a cover up. And up until yesterday there were no horsemen to be be seen. It was just Corbyn and Abbott on an ass. And it was a very silly one too.It wasn’t the burglary that destroyed Nixon in Watergate, it was the cover up. It wasn’t shagging Christine Keeler that destroyed John Profumo, it was his lie to the House. And if Rudd had stuck to her guns in a statement today her position of just looking ridiculous could come perilously close to a contempt of Parliament.
All departments have to aspire to hit targets to keep them on their toes. When they become too difficult politicians, with a wave of a magic wand, turn them into ‘aspirations’, which in reality are just a bunch of dead rabbits being pulled out of the hat.
I really don’t object to realistic targets being set unless it involves due process. Each immigration case has to be dealt with on its merits before Home Office adjudicators or a tribunal. To say that there must be X number of deportations a month spits in the face of the rule of law. It would be like the CPS saying that they had a target to obtain X convictions for murder every month.
But the worst thing about targets is that the only way you can even aspire to achieving them is to go for low hanging fruit, which are very often the vulnerable targets. That’s how the Windrush generation were ensnared in this cruel bureaucratic nightmare, which seems straight out of Catch 22. ‘You are not illegal immigrants. But you must prove it. Oh, and to make it easier for us pointy heads and so we can meet our targets, we have destroyed any documentation that could make it easier for you. And you will be removed form your family home of the last forty years and placed in a deportation centre pending you repatriation to…..oh, just a minute, we have no documentation as to where you came from. But anywhere other than the U.K.’
Grayling would have been the logical choice for Home Secretary. Totally incompetent, viciously partisan and with the emotional intelligence of pre hydrated tub of pot noodle. He has that rare gift of wreaking havoc in every department he has adorned. Perfect. A minister not fit for any purpose in a department not fit for purpose. And when he has finished there, send him over to the department of health. His humane policy of selective culling of of the elderly will ease bed blocking and solve the problem of community care at a stroke. GMB’s Andy Peters will be replaced by Rees Mogg in full undertakers kit in the Trip to the Great Unknown Lottery. He will start on the council estates first then move onto the Remainers. You’ve got to be in it to win it.
We now know that Sajid Javid has been handed to poisoned chalice by Madame. It is clever and inspired choice. A reluctant Remainer with a heart. But he must be his own man. He must have the independence of mind to bring major structural reform to the Home Office. That’s his job. Not to preserve in aspic everything that May put in place. She must have the confidence to give him a free run.
He is now back in the leadership game. Him getting it right is vital to her staying in Number 10. For them both to succeed the Home Office culture of complacency, bureaucratic callousness and being dependant on dodgy data has to be razed to the ground.
Times have changed. Targets don’t work. But people need to be reassured that those that are here illegally, will, after due and fair process, be deported. His priority must be that those poor Windrush souls must have their status quickly restored and that a fair and speedy compensation system be implemented. There must be no dragging of feet and no road blocks from the treasury.
His real dilemma will be how to handle EU movement of people. As a former business secretary he knows how important foreign labour is to business. He can turn the whole immigration debate on its head. Humane, fair, business friendly and tough on those who are taking the piss. Oh, and for heaven’s sake put an end to the daft rules on capping professional labour from the Commonwealth. We have a shortage of doctors and some who are training here aren’t allowed to take jobs in the NHS. Quite insane.
Poor Diane Abbott. She has a dilemma. Javid’s back story means that she can never accuse him of racism nor understanding the plight of immigrants. If you didn’t see her being asked the impertinent, unfair and unexpected question of what is her immigration policy by Piers Morgan this morning on GMB, I implore you too. She hadn’t a clue. It was a good audition for being Home Secretary. And she was not fit for purpose.