Thursday, 14 July 2016

Probation Stuffed and Trussed

I suppose it was a bit naive to think that Theresa May might 'forgive and forget' and leave Gove at the MoJ where most penal reformers felt he was quite likely to introduce some long-overdue and radical improvements. This from the Guardian:-

Michael Gove sacked as justice secretary as rival Johnson gets plum job

Michael Gove appears to have paid the price for turning against his fellow leave campaigner Boris Johnson at the last minute and launching his own bid for the Conservative leadership. His rival has been given the plum post at the Foreign Office, while Gove has been consigned to the backbenches.He was a close political ally of David Cameron and George Osborne, both of whom have also lost their jobs, for more than a decade. Their Notting Hill set orchestrated the Tory modernisation project.

In government, Gove clashed with teachers as Cameron’s first education secretary – and with Theresa May when he strayed into her brief of counter-terrorism. After being shuffled sideways for a spell as chief whip, Gove was returned to a big job in the Ministry of Justice, where he was in his element carrying out ideological structural reforms of the system.


Such a breath of intellectual fresh air after the psychopath Chris Grayling, the 'love-in' with Frances Crook of the Howard League and other prison reformers has proved short-lived and I think he will be genuinely missed by many. Unceremoniously sacked, it seems we've swapped an engaging, polite and cerebral intellect for a zealot in the shape of Liz Truss. Here's what George Monbiot said about her only last December when she was at the Environment Agency:-

I’ve heard the same description of Liz Truss, the secretary of state for environment, who oversees the work of the Environment Agency, from several people over the past few months: “Worse than Owen Paterson”. At first, I refused to take it seriously. It’s the kind of statement that is usually employed as hyperbole, such as “somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan”, or “more deluded than Tony Blair”. But in this case, they aren’t joking. Preposterous as the notion of any environment secretary being worse than Paterson might seem, they mean it.

Nowhere, as far as I can discover, in Liz Truss’s speeches or writing before she was appointed, is there any sign of prior interest in the natural world or its protection. What we see instead is perhaps the most extreme manifestation of market fundamentalism on this side of the Atlantic. She founded the Conservative Free Enterprise Group, and was co-author of the book Britannia Unchained, that laid out a terrifying vision of a nation run by raw economic power, without effective social or environmental protection. Now she has a chance to put that vision into practice.

Those who have tried to engage with her describe her as indissolubly wedded to a set of theories about how the world should be, that are impervious to argument, facts or experience. She was among the first ministers to put her own department on the block in the latest spending review, volunteering massive cuts. She seems determined to dismantle the protections that secure our quality of life: the rules and agencies defending the places and wildlife we love.

Bureaucracy and regulation are concepts we have been taught to hate, through relentless propaganda in the media. But they are essential pillars of civilisation. They make the difference between a decent society and a barbarous one.


But what reward did Chris Grayling get for being Theresa May's cheer leader? Why, Minister of Transport! This from the Daily Express:-

Theresa May's right hand man Chris Grayling takes transport secretary job

The vocal Brexiteer, who was Mrs May's campaign manager in her leadership bid, remained tight lipped as he left Downing Street. Hours earlier when asked what position he might like to be offered, he said: "We'll wait and see."

She must have a sense of humour after all. Best of luck Chris in handling the twin poison chalices of the third London airport runway and HS2! No wonder he was 'tight lipped'. If anyone can make a dog's breakfast of that brief, Chris surely can.


  1. Your words, Jim?

    " engaging, polite and cerebral intellect..."

    Never found him engaging; his politeness always seemed to be the thin veneer covering an angry man who would hold a grudge forever; and yes very, very bright. He bruises easily & won't forget who did it, but regularly pinched & punched others - so I would suggest he was the author of his own downfall. Maybe he'll join his big chum Aaronavich splitting cerebral hairs on't'wireless - that would be worth listening to.

    The future under Liz "pork markets" Truss looks worrying... everything - prisons, NPS, courts - will be owned by overseas corporations before 2020.

  2. Well whoever makes his packed lunch can put in a road map to help him on his way.Perhaps Ms May wanted to declare that how could she miss him if he wouldn't go away.

  3. An empty stapler, an out-of-date loaf of bread or a decomposing giraffe would be a breath of fresh air after Grayling

    1. Own up. With that turn of phrase you must be Boris? Funny though :)

  4. Cam we take the money back out of our pensions before the asset-strippers get their grubby hands on it?

  5. We are doomed Capt Mannering!