Gordon Brown was renowned for his rehashing and re-release of announcements to make existing commitments or actions already underway appear as new initiatives. It seems David Cameron is taking a leaf out of Brown’s book.
In an all-too-predictable piece in the Barclay Brother Beano today by Patrick Hennessy, readers are told that Cameron:
… will produce a series of measures that he hopes will give “red meat” to Conservative backbenchers, who are calling for action to appeal to their core voters after poor local election results.
One of the few mentioned is this:
* clamp down on crime with a new “British FBI”, tougher anti-social behaviour measures and community sentences;
A new British FBI? Apparently Cameron:
… hopes that other items in the Queen’s speech – including the creation of the new National Crime Agency, which is seen as a British FBI; more “intensive” community punishments and moves to seize credit cards, passports and driving licences from criminals – will satisfy critics.
The inclusion in the Queen’s Speech of the creation of the National Crime Agency is a mere formality and is not the signal of a change in direction to appease pissed off Tories. Its creation is old news. It was offically announced in June 2011 by Theresa May, who hailed its creation as:
… a landmark moment in British law enforcement.
We were told nearly fully one year ago that the NCA will come fully into being in 2013, with some key elements becoming operational sooner. Its new head was announced in October 2011. The timetable for it to be formally brought into being was included in the Home Office publication from which May’s comment was taken:
And as per the timetable, the work of putting the pieces into place has already happened.
So given all this, how is it that the Tories are being allowed to spin the widely trailed creation of the National Crime Agency as one of a series of measures that Cameron hopes will give “red meat” to Conservative backbenchers, who are calling for action to appeal to their core voters after poor local election results? Why is the lamentable Telegraph conning its readers by pushing this matter as a reaction to poor local election results? If this is what the battle plan to avert a Tory civil war looks like, they are probably be using Wellington’s plan at Waterloo as a template for the defence of the Falkland Islands.
If the NCA is something that is supposed to appeal to core Conservative voters – circa 9.3% of the electorate on Thursday – one wonders how many of them will be pleased when they discover down the line that this is a big enabling step on the patient journey to a cross-border EU policing agency, which carefully maintains the promise not to integrate existing police forces while achieving what Brussels wants.
Update: A subsequent tour of my blogroll shows that the always excellent The Boiling Frog was on to this last night when the Failygraph article was published. It is well worth reading. TBF shows that several other Queen’s Speech inclusions mentioned in the Fail are also rehashes. This is not so much ‘red meat’ for Tories as undercooked Groundhog for the rest of us.