Thursday, July 20, 2006

Abrogating Responsibility

John Reid is trying to prove himself to be the hard man of the Labour government. All that he actually proves is that the Labour government has horrendously mismanaged the Home Affairs brief - in just about every single area it is responsible for. The scale of rebuilding faced is entirely down to the Labour government. If there had been these problems one term into their reign, then maybe we could have given them more time. Now, however, they have turned a department into a total mess - and they cannot be allowed to wriggle away from the electoral consequences.

The plan to turn the Immigration and Nationality Directorate into a semi-independent agency must also be stopped forthwith. Good government rests on accountability - which means that there must be some path through which the politicians involved can be held accountable for their actions at the ballot box. (Incidentally, this is another reason - apart from incompetence - that John Reid should not be Home Secretary, for no English voter can hold him accountable for his actions).

If the IND is siphoned off to be merely an agency, then no doubt the Government will treat it as something at arms length, and any hope of trying to deal with matters such as the backlog of asylum applications, or the number of illegal immigrants in Britain, will be lost in a trail of unaccountability. Future governments won't be held responsible, as we will just be told that "it is in the hands of an independent organisation". If government is to work, it needs people to stand up and be counted, and to admit when they are wrong. Taking things away from ministerial control is not the answer.