Home Secretary, Theresa May refused to resign today after appearing to be incompetent, naive and arrogant during her questioning this morning by the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee. Despite being the person responsible for the recent failures of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), she seemed to be wholly concerned with passing responsibility to others whilst refusing to accept any responsibility herself for the failures of the UKBA to protect Britain’s borders.
May, who sees herself as the next Conservative leader and who is a staunch opponent of less self-centred and more moderate politicians such as Ken Clarke, rejected the suggestion by the committee chair, Keith Vaz that the debacle was a resigning issue. Instead, Mrs May tried to push the blame for the apparent relaxation of border controls on to the now suspended chief of the organisation, Brodie Clarke. Clark, who is a former prison officer and many believe should not have been appointed in the first place to such an important role as the head of the UKBA, has himself now been called to give evidence to the committee; evidence that could potentially be very damaging to the Home Secretary.
TheOpinionSite.org believes that the revelations of unauthorised relaxation of border controls, which stem from a pilot scheme instigated by Mrs May, are not the real issue. What is far more important is that it is clear that the Home Secretary didn’t have a clue as to what was going on; something that is simply unacceptable from a government official whose first task is to protect the public. Whilst she may be very good at making cheap political capital out of persecuting prisoners in general and in particular sex offenders who have served their entire sentence, she is clearly incapable of admitting that she herself made a mistake and is equally incapable of taking responsibility for the same.
Instead, she is going to a great deal effort to – as the Probation Service would say – manipulate the apparent situation in an attempt to protect her own political future whilst at the same time being perfectly willing to sacrifice that of others. She refuses to take on board that whatever circumstances may have prevailed in the UKBA, she is ultimately responsible for the actions of that agency.
This inability to accept responsibility shows weakness in the extreme. May is very keen on ‘talking tough’ whilst being protected by her great office but, once the covers are taken off, she is very much like the apparently ‘slimy’ Michael Howard was when he was Home Secretary. He was often thought of as being dishonest whilst, as Anne Widdecombe once famously observed, “…having something of the night about him”. It would seem that Theresa May is no different; she too is quick to condemn others to oblivion for the sake of her own ambitions.
The committee chairman, Keith Vaz made it clear that the committee were far from satisfied with evidence that May gave this morning. The committee intends to summon other witnesses, clearly sensing both blood in the air and weakness in the Home Secretary’s position. Many people would consider it unreasonable that such an ambitious woman, often regarded as the most powerful person in the country apart from the prime minister, should still be in power after not only having ridiculed the highest court in the land – the Supreme Court – calling it’s recent judgements “appalling” but also authorising the use by police of rubber bullets during future demonstrations, seeking to scrap the only protection for the weak that exists in this country, the Human Rights Act and, ever conscious of her ambitions, seeking to out-manoeuvre David Cameron in her lurch to the right and being only too ready to plunge a political knife between his shoulder blades.
One must ask whether this is the sort of person we want as Home Secretary; someone who is essentially a coward and is prepared to sacrifice others rather than take the rap for their own mistakes whilst being in such a powerful position.
All Home Secretaries want to appear to be tougher than their predecessors, yet is extraordinary just how many of them come to grief in the end. Howard was embarrassed by the European Court and made to look like a despotic idiot; John Reid and Charles Clarke were both ultimately found to be incompetent and unreasonable; Jack Straw was slippery and unreliable whilst David Blunkett was effectively sacked after fiddling a passport application for someone close to him. Jacqui Smith was found to have ripped taxpayers off for £160,000 and now Theresa May – who seems to encapsulate everything that is bad about a power-hungry politician – looks as if she really is incompetent and weak as well as having previously demonstrated that she is entirely vindictive.
TheOpinionSite.org firmly believes that the office of Home Secretary tends to bring out the worst in people. Too much power, too easily available from a Parliament that is afraid to challenge someone in that high position, is bound to lead to corruption, selfishness and dishonesty. Nevertheless, one should not be surprised when the country in which this takes place is Britain. The current Home Secretary seems to be a perfect reflection of the population as a whole which sadly, if predictably, also seems to be morally corrupt, selfish, dishonest and so weak that the majority are afraid to voice their true opinion for fear of what may happen to them.
Maybe, if that really is the case, the country has what it deserves. Maybe, if people really are afraid to recognise unfairness and are prepared to go on being interested solely in their own wellbeing at the expense of others, Theresa May is all we can expect.
If that really is the truth of the situation, don’t start complaining when those rubber bullets start to fly, curfews are introduced and soldiers are out on the streets. It is the public who will have allowed it to happen and ultimately the public who will have allowed politicians to escape responsibility for their actions and to exploit the rest of us.