A political master stroke
John Reid has won his battle to split the Home Office into two departments. While there is no doubt that some areas of the Home Office do need to be hived off to other departments, the question remains as to whether this is really a proportional response to the threat of terrorism and the challenges facing the UK.
Summing up what most of Westminster and Whitehall is thinking, The Guardian (among others) argues, ‘the secrecy of planning for change, a deadline that looks more political than practical and the pall of confusion still shrouding who does what, all suggest its first objective is evidence of action, even if it comes at the cost of delaying the intended benefit of a sharper focus on fighting terrorism.’
Publicly the changes will allow the Home Secretary to be seen taking the threat seriously by adapting parts of the national security system. Privately he and his advisers will be toasting their success. In one move he has hived off everything that was in a state of disrepair, bad publicity or too difficult to manage.