Saturday, January 27, 2007

Is Karma catching up with John Reid?

I've been feeling a little bit sorry for John Reid this week (not a phrase I'm ever likely to need again).

The Home Office is, as normal, blundering from one cock up to another. The most serious being the string of stories about paedophiles being allowed to stay out in the community to rape and pillage because the prisons are full to overflowing (again). As Richard points out, this crunch has been predicted for several years. This is a problem driven by years of ever more draconian sentencing coupled by the failure of the Treasury to invest in more prison places in the 2004 spending review. Very little of it is Dr Reid's fault; but he is the one taking the flack for other's mistakes.

However in a certain way, those who believe in such drivel may just see this as karma catching up with him.

John Reid has in many ways been the success story of the Blair years. In 1997 he was a virtual unknown outside of Labour circles. He has subsequently climbed the slippery slope. Becoming Blair's go to guy when he needs a safe pair of hands to take over a struggling department. First Northern Ireland following Mandy's second resignation, then Health, then MOD to clean up after Geoff Hoon, and finally the Home Office after the foreign prisoners fiasco. Throughout this time he has, up until now, managed to avoid being pinned down for a policy failure.

However, this has been more through luck than judgement. Even though he hasn't taken the blame for them Reid has been responsible for some of this Labour Government's biggest policy disasters. It was during his time at Health that the new NHS Consultant and GP contracts were signed, resulting in the pissing away of most of the massive amounts of new investment that the Gordon Brown has pumped into the health service on new Jags for already well off doctors. Patricia Hewitt has been left to clean up that mess. It was Dr Reid who sent British forces into southern Afghanistan woefully undermanned and equipped for the war they were going to fight, but the casualties have occurred on Des Browne's watch.

So maybe I shouldn't have felt sorry for Dr Reid at all.


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