Labour’s three terms have been marked by headline-grabbing initiatives that never saw the light of day. The Conservatives have today launched a watchdog to monitor their delivery.
Chris Grayling, who has a business and media background, is overseeing the monitoring group.
It strikes me as something that bloggers could do (and do do) very well.
Click continue to see the dossier as it stands so far. The small team of researchers will be sending out regular bulletins tracking delivery failure.
Please comment on other examples that spring to mind.
Home Office Budget
On 5 August 2005, Tony
Blair promised ‘a comprehensive framework for action in dealing with the
terrorist threat in Britain’. Gordon Brown later said: ‘the first responsibility
of a government is to protect its citizens, keep people safe and ensure their
security…I want a Britain [where] our national security is safe in our
Gordon Brown has pre-empted
his own Comprehensive Spending Review and recently announced a freeze in the
Home Office budget for the next three years. The Home Secretary has described
his own department as ‘not fit for purpose’.
On 24 August 2005, the
Government announced a new ‘list of certain types of behaviours that will form
the basis for excluding and deporting individuals from the UK’. They promised
that the Home Secretary ‘will use his powers to deport and exclude from the UK
those who engage in these types of behaviour…those who would attempt to foment
terrorism or provoke others to commit terrorist acts are not welcome in the UK’.
One year on, the Government
has failed to deport several ‘preachers of hate’ and rapid extradition
procedures have reportedly been dropped.
Borders & Asylum
In April 2005, Tony Blair
promised to ‘go on building strong controls to protect our borders; improving
systems for tracking and returning illegal immigrants and individuals whose
asylum claims are turned down’. One month later, he announced to the European
Parliament that he would work to ‘make Europe’s borders secure’.
John Reid recently
estimated that there are between 400,000 and 450,000 failed asylum seekers in
the UK. The Public Accounts Committee recently calculated that this would take
up to18 years to clear. The Home Secretary has described the IND’s electronic
files as ‘riddled with duplication and errors’.
Amending the Human Rights Act
On 5 August 2005, the Prime
Minister promised: ‘anyone who has participated in terrorism, or has anything to
do with it anywhere will be automatically refused asylum in our country…Should
legal obstacles arise [to deportations] we will legislate further, including, if
necessary, amending the Human Rights Act in respect of the interpretation of the
European convention on human rights’.
John Reid recently said:
‘repealing or amending the [Human Rights] Act will not assist in rebalancing the
system’. The Government has failed to gain deportation in several cases such as
the nine Afghan hijackers.
On 5 August 2005, Tony
Blair said: ‘We will review the threshold for [British citizenship] to make sure
it is adequate, and we will establish with the Muslim community a commission to
advise on how, consistent with peoples complete freedom to worship in the way
they want and to follow their own religion and culture, there is better
integration of those parts of the community presently inadequately
The Home Office has
recently abandoned its Britishness test for immans – Tony McNulty, the
Immigration Minister, said that there are no ‘compelling reasons’ to single
religious leaders out, adding: ‘There was some concern throughout the
consultation that somehow ministers of religion were being treated differently
to everyone else’. The Muslim Council of Britain said: ‘I do not
understand why the Government has dropped this plan…We welcomed the idea. We
thought it made sense that people coming here to preach should have a good grasp
of our country’s history’.
Protecting the Public
A year ago, the Home
Secretary, Charles Clarke, said: ‘our first responsibility is to protect…the
The Government failed to
ensure that 1,013 foreign nationals already inside prisons in England and Wales
were considered for deportation; John Reid told Parliament that ‘answers are not
always factual’; a Chief Constable has accused him of making up policy ‘on the
hoof’; and employees working in the Home Office recently described it as a ‘hell
On 11 August 2005, the
Government boasted that ‘local communities are reaping the benefits of a major
initiative by Government and police to rid the streets of Class A
The latest crime figures
show that there are now over a million Class A drug users; the number of people
using Class A drugs frequently has gone up by more than a third in the last
seven years; and cocaine use in the UK is now the highest in Europe.
On 5 August 2005, the Home
Office announced a new initiative to tackle gun crime. The Government said
‘people in all neighbourhoods have the right to feel safe’.
The latest figures show
that gun crime has doubled under Labour and a gun crime was committed every hour
in England and Wales in the last year.
Attacks on NHS staff
On 28 August 2005, Patricia
Hewitt announced that she was ‘determined to reduce the number of violent
incidents occurring in the NHS. NHS staff should not have to tolerate abuse’ (DH
Press Release, 28 August 2005).
Latest figures show that
over 60,000 NHS staff were physically assaulted in the last year – one assault
for every 22 NHS staff and the Government recently neutered a Bill proposing
tougher sentences for those who assault public servants. Health Minister Rosie
Winterton recently repeated last year’s message: ‘it is totally wrong that so
many of our hard-working doctors and nurses are subject to violence and verbal
abuse whilst trying to treat patients’ (NHS Security Management Service Press
Release, 15 August 2006).
On 9 August 2005, the
Department of Health announced a major shake-up of medical training. Health
Minister Lord Warner said: “This is just the beginning of a much wider ranging
change in medical training, driven by the needs of patients and the NHS’ (DH
Press Release, 9 August 2005).
One year later, it has
emerged that the Government has failed to plan properly for the changes. The
British Medical Association laid the blame squarely on the Government for
failing to plan adequately for the changes and the resultant rise the
unemployment of junior doctors (BMA press release, 14 June 2006).
On 4 August 2005, the
Government boasted that they had dealt with the debt crisis. ‘Much has been done
to tackle over-indebtedness in the UK in the past year… The majority of the
population continue to benefit from the availability of credit…[and] the
Government is continuing to help the minority who still have significant
problems’ (Department for Trade and Industry press release, 4 August 2005).
One year later, personal
indebtedness has risen by 10 per cent and total consumer debt now totals over a