I’m quietly pondering the intrinsic logic of Home Secretary Charles Clarke’s position. He admits that there has been a gigantic cock-up on his watch, one that has put the public in danger. The honourable thing for a Home Secretary to do in those circumstances is resign. But rather than resign, it’s vital — Clarke says — that he stays on to ensure that the problem is fixed.
So… to ensure job security, you arrange a screw-up so that you can stay on to fix it.
Hmmm…. shome confushion here (as Bill Deedes might say) between being part of the problem and part of the solution.
Actually, I rather like Clarke. I met him first when he was Neil Kinnock’s Chief of Staff, and admired the stoical way he carried out that thankless task. I later locked horns with him over the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000), which he piloted skilfully through Parliament. He was a formidable opponent.
He was an excellent Secretary of State for Education. But as Home Secretary he’s scary — seems to have bought into Blair’s authoritarian agenda. It is said that Clarke and Gordon Brown loathe one another, so his future under a Brown premiership would have been decidedly dodgy — so much so that I had a hunch that he might have run against Brown for the leadership. Can’t see that happening now, somehow.