Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
26 January 2007

Trouble at the Home Office

This week John Reid struggles with prison overcrowding and the debate on adoption by gay couples con

By Adam Haigh

It was never going to be a quiet week for the Home Secretary, John Reid, after his announcement that the Home Office may have to be split into two separate departments. Three days later Mr Reid issued a plea to Britain’s legal chiefs to jail only the most serious offenders as Ellee Seymour detailed.

With news of a Judge in Wales giving only a suspended sentence to a man who downloaded child pornography to his computer, people are questioning just where the line can be drawn with the most dangerous and persistent criminals under Mr Reid’s new recommendations. Mr Eugenides says this is a case of the “government’s monumental, almost unbelievable, incompetence.” Prisons are crowded – true. But too crowded for such a criminal? Answers on a postcard please (the comments link below will do).

Bloggers will never again be thought of in the same way after one was paid by Microsoft this week to “correct” their entry on Wikipedia, according to Dizzy. Microsoft said it had approached Rick Jelliffe and agreed to pay him but they had never paid anyone before to do this.

Credit also has to be given to Guido for publishing a story from David Cameron’s website two days before most of the Sunday papers caught up with it. Mr Cameron gave an unequivocal “no” to a general legalisation of cannabis but left the way open for it to be legalised for medical purposes.

Certainly little credit can go to Harriet Harman’s blog as she doesn’t seem to understand the need for regular posting. Two posts in a week just isn’t up to the job.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Regular as usual was Iain Dale who is drawing many similarities between Labour’s current cash for honours scandal and Nixon’s Watergate scandal. This comes as it is alleged that Labour officials have secretly deleted emails from a hidden computer system in an effort to try and destroy evidence. No doubt this will continue to rustle the feathers of many-a-blogger in the coming week.

Content from our partners
How do we secure the hybrid office?
How materials innovation can help achieve net zero and level-up the UK
Fantastic mental well-being strategies and where to find them

And I leave you with some of the best blogs on the debate over gay couples and adoption. The Catholic church have been very explicit this week where they stand on this drawing in criticism from across the board. The Istanbul Tory said: “In truth, the Cabinet is hopelessly split over the issue of new equality laws.” And at Love and Liberty there was no beating around the bush. Alex Wilcock said: “after centuries of taking pot-shots at each other (often literally), the Catholic Church and the Church of England have found common ground: persecuting gay people and children.”