Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Howard's speech again

The other thing of note about Howard's awful speech was just how much it was old news. There was nothing, except not implementing the Macpherson report recommendations on Stop & Search, that hasn't been in a Conservative speech before. Or indeed by David Blunkett, which is why it won't do the Conservatives any good in the polls either.

Here's Ann Widdecombe in May 2001

We will start by restoring the cuts in police numbers that have occurred since 1997. After four years of neglect, the Government are claiming that they can increase the number of officers to 130,000. Our changes to current spending plans do not affect the Home Office, so of course we will match that target.

...Other things are driving officers out of the force and making attracting new recruits difficult. ....

Not least the professionalism and dedication to duty shown by so many thousands of officers. But morale isn't helped by directives from on high and constant political correctness...The kind of political correctness that prevents the police from using the powers at their disposal fairly but firmly...Piling on new bureaucracy, the kind of bureaucracy that some people don't want to talk to you about. That keeps the police behind their desks rather than out in communities and on our streets preventing crime and catching criminals.

Or Wee Willie Hague in the same month:

"Our police stand depleted and demoralised...Our criminal justice system puts the rights of criminals before those of their victims...Our streets feel less safe because thousands of convicted criminals have been let out early by this Government so that they are free to commit more crime...Since January 1999, Labour have let out 35,000 convicted criminals before they have even served half of their sentences...
These are not petty crooks. They include 41 sex offenders, 8 attempted murderers, more than 3,000 burglars, nearly 5,000 people convicted of drug dealing and drug trafficking and as many again convicted wounding or causing grievous and actual bodily harm....Of course the Conservatives lost the following election by a landslide. "

Or even in 2000

"So let me start by utterly rejecting the defeatist nonsense that says crime is just a function of economic and social trends. For that is the constant excuse of a complacent establishment. They talk of crime as an abstract, dismiss victims as mere statistics on a page of a sociology thesis, and are always looking for someone other than criminals to blame for crime."