Charles Clarke - Shifting Responsibility


Charles Clarke has been touring the TV studios tonight to explain why he isn't going to resign.

It appears to boil down to the fact that that although he accepts overall responsibility, that is outranked by his responsibility to put things right.
[It's Labour's interpretation of the concept of Ministerial Responsibility...]

The other mantra has been that is is a systemic failure. Not a personal failure on the safety elephants part. Have you got that? It's a systemic failure, and the workers that screwed up will take full responsibility [a line that he had avoided before tonights round of interviews] - presumably without the chance to stick around and put things right.

And finally, we should all understand it is a Historic failure. Charlie's Ministers were on the case even before the PAC committee where asking their awkward questions.

From a pre recorded interview for Newsnight:

Clarke - 9 or 10 months ago we realised there was "what I call" a systemic failure between the prison service and IMD and we put in motion a process of sorting this out in the current period. What we didn't get right was all the historic records going back to Feb '99

Paxman - Are you saying no one was released after you had that meting with the PAC?

Clarke - I'm not prepared to say no one, but certainly very very few people. The bulk of the people we are talking about are from the period earlier than the last 9 or 10 months.


And it is the final point where the Safety Elephant has stumbled.
On the 10 pm bulletin tonight Nick Robinson was rather breathlesly reeling off the latest figures just released by the Home Office:

The Home sec says he responded straight away and resources were targeted, but figures released by the Home Office, under pressure in the last hour show that whatever they did it didn't stop the problem.

Since last summer [August] after the NAO raised the problem, after we heard from that backbench Tory MP raising worries ina parliamentary committee, still people were being released from prison without being deported when the could have been.

The figures just released; 288 since last August and leading up to this March.


Both of these cannot be true. Either Nick Robinson has lost the plot, or Charles Clarke was lying through his hind teeth when he told Newsnight that "not no one, but certainly very very few people" had been released but not deported over the last 9 or 10 months, sice Charlie became aware of the problem.

So lets be clear about this, assuming Nick Robinson is correct, the Home Office's attempts to deal with the problem, have made it worse.

Very roughly, 288 cases identified since August last year after the Charles Clarke became aware of the systemic problem, is an average of 36 cases a month, or just over one every day if you prefer.

The remaining 735 of the total averaged over the 77 months from Feb 99 to August last year, is approx 9.5 cases a month, just over a couple a week if you prefer.
[assuming the 288 are part of, not on top of the 1023]

This very approx calculation done on my fingers and toes, would suggest that this is very much Charles Clarke's problem, and was at it's peak on his watch, whilst he was aware of it and claimed to be dealing with it.

You can watch Clarke wriggle on the BBC, C4 and Newsnight, the story appears to be moving faster than he is...

It is more serious that just

It is more serious that just releasing people who should have been deported.

They have been releasing lifers on license, and they have lost track of them. Of these, some should have been deported.

In other words, we need to be seriously worried about British murders etc, who have been released on parole, but have been lost by the home office and parole service.


Even Blunkett says heads

Even Blunkett says heads must roll. Tellingly he has told the Telegraph:

"There are too many people in the system who simply don't care."

That's probably about the crux of it. It's mindboggling incompetence even by New Labour standards. David Davis on the BBC this morning says "very very few" releases actually translates to a figure of more than 300 under Clarke so the problem got worse under him even though he had been told about it...time to get tough on crime and the causes of crime anyone? Yes get rid of Clarke... and New Labour...

This just shows a total

This just shows a total colapse of policies and systems, the man at the top takes responsibility ok, but whats changed? Will there be a wide spread round up and deportation of these criminals? Will there be a fundamental shake up of the system or am i going to be forced to vote BNP for the extremist approach to immigration thats need at the moment to stem the flow?

As a political novice (never realy paying a blind bit of attention to the two warring factions Red team/blue team)the extremist vote seems to me a ever more popular and needed... a few well documented road-side executions, communist like zero tolerance to crime (until totalitarian communism was replaced in china with capitalcomunism there was almost no organised crime), no job = no soft state support.....kill them all let god sort them out!

The trouble is i'm not alone in these thoughts, i come from a conservative working back ground and lots of my contemporaries and close aquaintances are seeing the world in such a way. The tabloids dont help....painting a picture of Great Britain under attack. Please suggest some other options to me and my friends.

It gets better... according

It gets better... according to Clarke, Blair knew well in advance too... and did nothing about it.

The following exchange

The following exchange caught my ear in the Today interview this morning:

JN: When did the Prime Minister learn that it’s as bad as we now know it to be?

CC: I discussed the general issue that we’re talking about, i.e. the general problem, before Christmas with him and he agreed with me that we needed to take very strong steps to deal with it……….

What does that actually mean?
Does it mean that Charles Clarke was deliberately vague about the seriousness of the problem? Or that at the time of this discussion no measures had been implemented, or that those steps which had been taken by Charles Clarke were not sufficient to deal with the problem and further action was required?

"The tabloids dont

"The tabloids dont help....painting a picture of Great Britain under attack. Please suggest some other options to me and my friends."

Don't read the tabloids? Find out some facts? Immigration is really not a very important issue unless you get all your facts from the Daily Mail and think that the country is flooded with AIDS-ridden dole scrounging criminals who cost the NHS a fortune. Looking round at the doctors I see lots of immigrants. They're in white coats treating ill Britons, in the main - my son was born thanks to two African midwives and a Canadian doctor of Indian origin.

If you want to know who's costing the country a fortune, living it up at our expense and engaging in criminal acts, take a look at the gentleman in the top left of the screen. Leave the poor bloody immigrants working all hours for a pittance and being blamed for everything under the sun alone.

This isn't to say that being in charge of a justice system that manifestly fails to carry out the orders of the judge to deport convicted felons after sentence while simultaneously blaming judges for being soft isn't hypocritical, and that covering it up for nearly a year to avoid embarrassment isn't a resigning matter, it is, but let's get it into perspective.

(three of my grandparents and my father are immigrants, I should point out).

"...communist like zero

"...communist like zero tolerance to crime (until totalitarian communism was replaced in china with capitalcomunism there was almost no organised crime)..."

Not true, however the organisation behind the crime was the Party.

Communist countries

Communist countries nationalise crime...interesting concept.

I'm not sure Blair gets it from there though, I suspect he knows he's not a criminal and therefore laws don't apply to him, just as people who look like drug dealers certainly are and therefore laws apply to them whether or not they're guilty. I'm not sure there's a solution to this that doesn't involve psychoactive drugs and a white waistcoat with long sleeves.

David Chappell: touché!

David Chappell: touché!

Government impunity must

Government impunity must come to a stop.

Don't think this is not deliberate, all this 'incompetence' in Parole and Immigration. No one is that stupid.

They are setting up the requirements to neccesitate the National Identity Registry (database). They are creating such a mess we will need it to sort it out again. But why?

Why and How do they act with such IMPUNITY...why do we let them get away with it. All the thieving, lying, corrupt, bullying, wasteful crap that is spinned into neccesary action, which then as they see their problems created requires more action, which creates more problems.

It's like the rest of it. Yes we need to stop terrorists. No we don't need to become an Island Prison to do it. We just need competent government that does not act with IMPUNITY. We need a government which can honestly evaluate the consequences of their actions, instead of making 'targets' as the only truth and squirming and spinning everything else.

Government Impunity is an offence and they are becoming rotten and infected through it.

Government Impunity must come to a stop. Full stop.

Dear Tom: You made some very

Dear Tom: You made some very valid points and maybe i'm responding out of pure mischieviousness, but i'd like to know if you can provide me with a few statistics, out of the however many immigrants we have coming into our country what percentage are doctors (scratch doctors, lets say trained profesionals). I dont see immigrants as the "AIDS-ridden dole scrounging criminals" just yet, the council estate i grew up on was a crime hot bed, long before immigrants became a tabloid issue, in fact the hardest working family on the estate had to be our neighbours who were of Asian ethnicity. The trouble makers, we called them scallywags back then, and they were nearly 100% white have now become chavs and are still in large numbers. My problem is not with immigrants, its with the presure put on the system by increasing population....and i'm going to keep reading the tabloids because i like the pretty pictures!

Round here (west London)

Round here (west London) we're inundated with Polish builders, which, if I ever get to buy a place, will be very useful since the local lads are rip-off merchants and some healthy competition is very welcome. I know a tough-nut Polish lawyer in case thing turn tricky ;)

As for doctors (and other medical professionals, actually) there are enough being recruited from places like Africa for it to be a serious drain on local healthcare there, plus the Indian subcontinent which is a long-established source of doctors for the NHS. My personal experience - my doctor is German and my partner and son's doctor is Syrian (and has some pithy things to say on Blair, the NHS and Iraq - I was thinking of giving him a blog).

I'll see what I can do for statistics. First place to look is the recent protests by Indian doctors against new work permit rules:

which mentions 'thousands'. Another site mentions:

At present, 117,036 overseas doctors are working in the National Health Service. Of these, 16,000 are of Indian origin.

I think there's a mistake in there in that 117,000 is the *total* number of doctors in the NHS, which would put Indian doctors alone as nearly 10% of the total. A substantial number will have come in as a result of the free work permit rules that have now been scrapped, and that's just one country, albeit a huge one.

German (and Spanish, etc) doctors are obviously allowed to work here freely by EU law, and there are evidently a lot of them attracted by the pay. I think there's a shortage of jobs in Germany, where the economy is a bit iffy and they churn out thousands of doctors a year. Ditto for Spain.

Obviously, most immigrants won't be doctors, but evidently quite a lot are, in recent years. Immigrants aren't just poor people off a boat with what they can carry or refugees - the effect of widespread English speaking married to good education, freedom of work and higher wages means the NHS and other public services are very attractive to foreign professionals, and thus come to rely on them.

When you add in that until recently Brits had not much incentive to go into these jobs (what with high levels of employment) and you can see why widespread immigration was the only way Labour could fill the vacancies. The scandal is the way they're now treating these people only a few years later, plus the fact that the policy was geared to short term headlines rather than long-term sustainability for the NHS.