The Home Office manage to dig a deeper and deeper hole. As revealed in the Yorkshire Post, in a parliamentary written answer given to Conservative MP Shailesh Vara, the Home Office have confirmed that they have arrested nearly 1000 people over the last 5 years under anti-terrorism legislation, released over half of them without charge and actually charged only 154 with terrorism-related offences.
They explained that they did not keep records of how long these people were detained. In the light of their attempt to introduce 90-day detention, this really is damning. Throughout the debate, the government insisted that current legislation was not effective despite already having the longest detention period in the western world. How on earth can you know what is or is not effective when you do not know what is happening at the moment?
Some may consider me too liberal, but let me ask you this. Would you trust John Reid or indeed any government minister with your personal freedom if you were wrongly imprisoned? When I see the mistakes that are made in the Home Office, I would trust Homer Simpson over them.
The weather was foreboding, thousands of people were left stranded without a pass, but despite this most people left with a confident air. David Cameron’s speech on Wednesday was a major landmark. It didn’t reach the high benchmark that Blair had set the previous week for rhetoric but it resonated for a very different reason. Cameron received applause for saying things that you could never imagine a Conservative leader saying maybe even two or three years ago.
There is plenty more to do. The shakes of the head by some when he addressed civil partnerships show that not everyone is going in the same direction or at the same speed. However the NHS is the subject that stands out. For too long this has been the sole reserve of the Labour party. Remember “24 hours to save the NHS” in 1997. Cameron spoke of the man that he met that had worked in his job in the NHS for the past 12 years. In that time, there had been so many reforms and adjustments that he had to reapply for his job a ridiculous 7 times. Just one example of the waste in the Health Service. Yes, funding has increased but the amount going to frontline services has not gone up in anywhere near the same proportion.
Policies will come after the various commissions have reported back but it is important nationally as it is here in Sutton, that we show that we are ready to confront the challenges that we face today, not revisit those of twenty years ago.