Jack Straw the ex Home Secretary is a self serving coward, and simply one of a long line of failures to hold that office, all of whom suffered a failure of nerve and resorted to self preservation when the chips were down. When high profile and controversial cases are presented to the home / Justice secretary his position and the position of far too many of his predecessors is that he and they knew what the right and decent thing to do was/is. That consideration however comes second to what will public opinion be? Or put another way ‘how will it play with Rupert Murdoch’ that is what concerns Straw and that is what makes him unfit for office.
‘Janus faced Jack’ has ‘previous’ his ambition first came to my attention when he very publicly reported his own son to the police for smoking cannabis. Most parents would have dished out a rollicking and a lecture but Jack saw an opportunity to curry favour with the reactionary press. Had this been a genuine matter of conscience he could have done this with no publicity but it was of course an opportunity to portray himself as an honest; tough but fair politician, so somehow the press found out about it; quite devious and disturbing actually. Not unlike ex President Clinton interrupting his campaign to fly back to Kansas surrounded by massive publicity to sign a death warrant for a man with a mental age of 12 nobody was going to be allowed to call Clinton soft on crime right?
Jack then progressed upward and later he set free the beast Pinochet; not on compassionate grounds as he claimed but because he feared the war criminal Thatcher’s clout with the gutter press and on he sailed. Just recently Ronnie Biggs was judged by him too dangerous to release; again his fear of Rupert. But then he realised that the man he described as too dangerous was indeed about to die in prison and that would make his description of him look stupid and false so he’s now out , right decision wrong reason, more deceit from Jack.
Abdelbaset Mohmed al Megrahi now haunts Straw; the Libyan remains in prison despite being terminally ill; is he a danger to Britain? The question is rhetorical, a new born child would be more of a danger. The question now for Straw is not what is the right thing to do, the decent compassionate thing to do; it’s what is the best solution for Jack Straw. Rupert and his press army are salivating, the reactionary followers of Rupert’s papers are waiting to pounce. He knows what the right thing to do is, so would all the other Home Secretaries; they also knew what was the right thing to do in the Myra Hindley case but not one of them had the courage to release her and she died in jail. Just like tough guy Clinton (another President like Bush who managed to dodge Vietnam) who was not prepared to risk damaging his career by being labelled soft on crime. He can display what would be in my opinion courage and compassion worthy of his office and release him or; he can play the tough guy for the sake of the mob being orchestrated by Rupert, what do you think? As I’ve said before he’s got form and he’s a coward, my money’s on the latter.
In a similar way the proposals from the Scottish Govt. to reduce prison sentences and increase community punishments is the right one; it’s another right decision for the wrong reason. McCaskill and the SNP couldn’t care less about prison reform they simply want to save money but the opposition main parties are wrong to oppose it; I don’t know anyone in the Labour Party for instance who does not support an increase in community service and a reduction in prison sentences, that’s why their protestations are feeble sounding. Proper prison reform takes courage and long term planning; we simply haven’t yet found a Home Secretary with the bravery to do it.