Thursday, 8 May 2008

Jacqui Smith

It's been a busy couple of days for the Home Secretary. Yesterday she was lecturing the House on the evils of cannabis and announcing it's return to category B status. Ms Smith has previously admitted that she used to smoke it herself when she was younger, and I can't help feeling she could do with the occasional spliff right now to be honest. Unsurprisingly she says that she's sending out a clear message to young people but she isn't of course. The message is to the same electorate who declined to vote Labour last week, and are unlikely to do so again before Ms Smith is long since gone. Drugs strategy (is there one?) is a mess right now, and this latest move hasn't made it any tidier. Jacqui likes to think it makes her look a lot tougher though.

If that weren't bad enough, today she's declaring "I want police and local agencies to focus on (persistent offenders) by giving them a taste of their own medicine: daily visits, repeated warnings and relentless filming of offenders to create an environment where there is nowhere to hide."

I'm not sure that any comment is needed beyond the obvious conclusion that Ms Smith hasn't got what it takes to be the cabinet's tea lady, let alone Home Secretary. It's something of a surprise that she didn't just come straight out and give the police a direct instruction to duff up anyone they took a dislike to; she can't resist playing to the tabloids and causes considerable damage to whatever residual respect this government commands in doing so. But she is not alone in sucking up to the tabloids unfortunately; the Tories and Lib Dems, fearful that it might prove popular, have already leapt in, "We thought of it first!".

I see that Alistair Darling is another of the 'I used to when I was young' crew. So maybe there is a case for recategorising cannabis after all. Far more so for the police to be giving these self-confessed former users in the Cabinet 'a taste of their own medicine'. Given the mood in the country right now, that last suggestion would probably play best of all with the third estate.

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