Just over five years ago John (now Lord) Reid infamously described the Home Office as “not fit for purpose”. He proudly announced that the Immigration and Nationality Directorate would be hived off to form an executive agency. This was in the wake of Charles Clarke having been dragged kicking and screaming out of Marsham Street having failed to fall on his sword over the foreign national prisoners scandal.
This country used to have an honourable tradition of government ministers resigning when things got a bit shagged up on their watch. It’s difficult to remember the last time that happened and you really have to go back to 1982 and Peter Carrington’s resignation over the Falklands for a proper object lesson in ministerial responsibility. He didn’t personally screw up, but he was the man in charge and took the kicking for it. Nowadays, it seems, the buggers have to be crowbarred out of the ministerial Jaguar.
We must wait until tomorrow to find out what the Home Secretary has to say about this latest debacle. The current signs are that she’s going to try and hang Brodie Clark out to dry, which would make sense, for otherwise what is agency status for but to distance ministers from operational decisions. That said, please don’t try and convince me that Damian and/or Theresa don’t have SOME input as to who sits on the UKBA board.
I have yet to see David Cameron expressing full confidence in Green and May (makes them sound like they make organic chocolate!). Only when that happens will we know for certain that blaming the officials aint gonna work.