Archive for ‘Ken Clarke’

February 3, 2011

Ken must stay



The Sun, not famed for its subtlety, has decided to once again turn it ire on Justice Secretary Ken Clarke. They describe him as “a bumbling liability who seems keener to rock the boat than safeguard the streets.”

This is an utterly ridiculous sentiment, not only because Clarke is one of the cabinet members who has best bridged the gap between the two coalition partners, but because his civil libertarian, humane, restorative, approach to justice is vital in a civilised society. Locking people up and throwing away the key no longer works. It probably never has. Clarke advocates a society where people can atone and improve. The Sun advocates fear.

The Sun’s criticism principally revolves around Ken Clarke’s objection to the Conservative pre-election pledge that everybody found guilty of a knife crime would go to prison by default. Even without the huge issue of overcrowded prisons, it is not clear that automatic imprisonment, in the form advocated by Home Secretary Theresa May, is necessarily the right policy. There are  arguably some offenders who would be more of a danger to the public if they were caught under the blanket rule, sent to prison, and then released having been around more hardened criminals.

Knife crime is a deeply emotive, and important, subject. The consequences of it change people’s life in a second. The  Sun does make one sensible point when they says that there needs to more education in schools around knife crime. However, because it is such an emotive subject, it is so irresponsible to run headlines and stories like the one in the Sun today. They are whipping up a frenzy by using the personal story of Ben Kinsella, and the work his sister is doing for the Government. They are trying to paint a deeply experienced and talented minister as dodderry and out of touch.

The only comfort is that being attacked by the The Sun is probably the best endorsement the Justice Secretary’s policies could receive.

November 26, 2010

>Gloria De Piero plays the sacrificial lamb

>Being on the Paddy and Ken show last was never going to be much fun for the Labour lamb sent to the slaughter, but new girl Gloria De Piero faired particularly badly. Like most in the Labour party she has screeching and finger waving down to a tee. Is there a training session of self-righteous anger that runs at Labour conference?

While Ashdown and Clarke brought wit and knowledge to proceedings, De Piero offered nothing by cheap, humourless tirades. Even on Howard Flight, where VN slightly agrees with her, she rendered her point meaningless but saddling up and getting onto her high horse. The rants became so boring and predictable she almost made Nigel Farage seem reasonable. Almost…. You can still watch the Paddy and Ken show on BBC iPlayer.

November 2, 2010

>Should law breakers decide law makers?

>The European Court of Human Rights has said Britain should allow prisoners the vote. This is a tricky one to navigate around. Liberals rightly see restorative justice as far more important than banging people up behind bars. To call the policy of ‘prison works’ outdated gives it too much credit, as it implies that once simply putting people in prison actually worked. It doesn’t. Many people who are in prison shouldn’t be there, and society could be better served but finding alternative consequences for lower level crime. However, those that are in prison having been convicted of offences have broken the law.  It does not seem right that they should, for the period of their time in prison, be allowed to choose the people that make the law.

July 21, 2010

>Coalition Ministers’ soar in polls, with Lib Dems leading

>New research from PoliticsHome shows a huge level of support for the key figures in the Coalition government , with Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg and Vince Cable leading the way.

Deputy PM Nick Clegg was given a net approval rating of 17, compared to David Cameron’s 11. The PM and Deputy PM have a combined approval rating 39%, with only 22% disapproving of Clegg compared to a 28% disapproval rating for Cameron. They are both beaten by Foreign Secretary William Hague, and Justice Secretary Ken Clarke (who lets be honest is basically the 58th Lib Dem MP,)  who have net approval ratings of 21 and 19 respectively.

All these positive figures are outshone by Business Secretary Vince Cable, who has a 40% public approval rating, and only a 16% disapproval rating, giving him a net approval rating of 24.

Things are less rosy on the other side of the chamber. John Cruddas is the most popular Labour MP with a net approval rating of just 3 . Ed Balls, Peter Mandelson, Harriet Harman, and Yvette  Cooper are the 4 most unpopular politicians in the survey. 

People seem to continue to recognise the talent of David Laws, who had to resign from the cabinet after revelations about his expenses and private life, as he beats all the Labour Leadership contenders with a net approval rating of 6. 

This doesn’t look good for the naysayers, who thought the Coalition would collapse in the wake of a controversial budget.

A full breakdown and table of the results can be found on the PoliticsHome website.

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