I feel a political rant coming on.
For the uninitiated, the latest faux pas to come out of the Home Office involves Britons who have committed crimes abroad and then returned to this country. The normal procedure is for details of their crimes to be entered in the Police National Database so that police forces around the country can keep an eye on them, but now it seems that the details of several hundred were not. This includes a number of people convicted overseas of murder, rape and paedophile crimes. Because they weren't entered into the database, the fear is that they could now be in positions which bring them into contact with vulnerable people such as children. John Reid came into the post of Home Secretary some months ago saying that the Home Office was `not fit for purpose' and implying that he was exactly the humourless Glasgow bruiser to sort it out. We can only imagine the scene when he discovered that he had inherited yet another cockup. We can only imagine it because I don't suppose it was pretty to watch.
Blair's explanation of the cockup at Prime Minister's Questions this week simply won't wash, I'm afraid. He stood up and basically blamed the whole thing on the countries where the crimes had been committed, saying it was up to them to pass dossiers on the criminals on to us, which - because they're foreign and not, you know, as good as us - they didn't do.
No one seems to have commented on this particularly sucky act of trying to sleaze out from under a bureaucratic snafu by blaming Johnny Foreigner. Was the Prime Minister trying to kid us that British nationals convicted of serious crimes overseas don't come to the attention of the British Embassy in that particular country? And that those embassies don't report back? And that those reports don't wind up, eventually, at the Home Office? The fault, it seems to me, isn't with foreign law enforcement agencies but with the system here, and blaming those agencies just seems like the worst kind of passing the buck and Blair ought to be ashamed of himself.
I know I'm going to get a slapping for this, but I'm afraid I'm on Ruth Kelly's side.
Once again, for those on the other side of the Village Pond, Ruth Kelly is a government minister who was not so long ago Minister of Education. She recently decided to take her son, who is dyslexic, out of his local school and send him to a private school which she believes will fulfill his special educational needs. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6240165.stm) This was news because New Labour is supposed to support state schools and most if not all of the state schools in Ruth Kelly's area are said to have pretty good provision for chldren with special needs, and the idea of a Labour minister sending her child to a private school is supposed to be anathema. It's basically an ideological thing.
Now, you'd have to be out of your mind to describe me as a friend of Ruth Kelly or anyone in this gang of maniacs who are supposed to be leading our country, but in this case I think she's right. I know her neighbouring state schools are supposed to be good in this area, but she took a decision based on what was right for her child. She's not stupid; she ran the numbers and she knew she'd have media problems, and she abandoned ideology to make sure that her son got the best education that his needs required. What? Was she going to hew to the ideological line and send him to a school where he wouldn't get the right care? Come on. Personally, she made the decision I would have made. You do the best you can for your kids, everything else gets sidelined. I was going to say it took balls to do that, but really it's a no-brainer, and I'm annoyed that it became, briefly, a stick for the media to beat the government with.
I'm building up a head of steam for a rant about the media, but it's late and hutch needs his bed and he has also taken strong drink this evening, so stay tuned.
ECM Mom, for some reason my provider is having trouble getting emails to you; my last got bounced back as undeliverable.