Charles Clarke

I am due to go on GMTV for a 6.40am slot on the elections. The car is meant to pick me up at 6.00 and if there is any change to schedule they will let me know. Best laid plans of mice and men etc mean that the driver knocks on my door at 5.45am and has been waiting an hour. Instead of calling me on my mobile – they have paged me to let me know car was outside. But I wasn’t wearing my pager – as was waiting for call. Arrive at GMTV at 6.11am to discover not on at 6.40 but on at 6.15. So – a frantic start to day.

The interview centred around Labour’s apparent desire to self-destruct the very week of the local elections. Should Clarke go? Yes – is the answer. Clarke has been in dereliction of his duty to keep the public safe. He cannot go on or how else can anyone below him believe that they need to carry out their duties properly. If he survives – then no one can ever be sacked for any failure. Particularly as he had been warned.

However, it is now clear that Clarke has offered to resign – but Blair has refused. It would appear to me that the Prime Minister’s desperate need for political support in the cabinet – and thus his efforts to hold onto Clarke – are clouding his judgement about right and wrong and he is putting his own survival above and beyond the well-being of governance and the public’s safety. (You can sign the Lib Dem petition calling for Clarke to go at www.libdems.org.uk/charles-clarke.html)

A further development, in terms of a foreign national – now known to have been the prime suspect in the death of a woman PC – was a released prisoner. Ironically this particular criminal was considered for deportation and it was decided that he could not be sent back to Somalia as that country is considered too dangerous to send anyone back to. This presents a new dilemma in terms of what do we as a decent country do with ex-criminals who should be deported to countries – but these are countries where they may be in danger. Seems to me we need an urgent review – and a mechanism for keeping tabs on such individuals. I don’t think just because we cannot deport them we should just then accept they should then be forgotten and no longer registered and checked.

However, the central issue remains, the Government has failed in its primary duty to keep us safe – and it gives the lie to all the talk and headlines about being tough on crime. From top to bottom of the justice system we see that nothing appears to be carried through properly. Once the headline is out of the way and the Government feels it is appearing tough and gaining kudos from being seen to be active by bringing in new tough laws – they abdicate their responsibility for ensuring that they are properly implemented and enforced.