APRIL 5th 2006
While the adjustment of John Prescott's profile is necessary as a visible response to his indulgence of private pleasures in office time, premises and property, the removal of Clarke from the Home Office can best be understood as a sop to David Cameron's perception that (I paraphrase) "This is the right thing to do, the important thing now is that his replacement finds all those nasty people and makes sure they are all locked up". Cameron should have his nappies put back on and be tucked up in bed. He is not yet ready for the world. The shuffle is a waste of valuable time and experience and the last thing that is needed at this precise moment.

Those who know what Clarke was really up against must be in a state of exasperation. However, we get what the public and the media who pull its strings, and respond to it noisiest idiots, demand. As usual, the British public ensure that perception becomes reality, prophecies self-fulfill, and when these are negative they think they have solved a problem by facing the appalling facts. In reality they are avoiding yet again taking responsibility for messes they have actively prevented anyone from tackling for a very long time.

Unbelievably, media interviewers are still asking why, if Charles Clarke was the man to sort out the mess, he has been removed from the job now. The PM has removed him because for any Home Secretary to get on with the job he has to be free from half-arsed people asking him stupid questions about matters they don't, and probably never will, understand. Since any crime committed by anyone released from prison during Clarke's tenure at the Home Office is now likely to cause more bleating from the mathematically, legally and politically challenged, the only way to allow anyone to get on with their job is to change the minister.

Please understand, I am not defending the way this country is 'governed'. It is just that none of the critics we hear from would have a hope in hell of improving the processes without being able to recruit huge numbers of informed, educated and capable people into key positions to completely revise the ethos and capability of some of our key institutions at the 'coal face' where they interface with 'the real world'. This pool of potential recruits does not exist. They have other personal plans, and I don't blame them.

The public must be protected, we hear thec cry! From whom? Why from itself of course!

If any government tried seriously to protect the public from its appalling self it would be instantly destroyed by liberals, conservatives, socialists, nationalists, internationalists and all the other devotees of -isms who believe they have a moat-free view of existence and an understanding of life, the universe and everything.