January has been rather busier than we expected, so we have been remiss in not commenting on the news that Sir David Normington has replaced Sir John Gieve as Permanent Secretary at the Home Office.
Sir John Gieve has now taken up his appointment as Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, which seems to be a strange career move from the Home Office, which cannot even seem to provide accurate cost estimates to the nearest £2 billion or so for their Identity Cards Programme which Sir John had significant oversight of, and over which he came into conflict with the London School of Economics.
He also presided over the relentless convoy of repressive, complicated and uncosted legislation which the Home Office has been inflicting on us under NuLabour, and the scandals involving the resignations of the Home Office Immigration Minister Beverely Hughes and then of Home Secretary David Blunkett.
How does this experience qualify him to vote on the setting of the Bank of England interest rates ?
Sir David Normington moves in to the Home Office from the Department for Education and Skills, where, presumably, he became familiar with the working style of Home Secretary Charles Clarke who also moved from the DfES after the the first resignation of the notorious David Blunkett.
Will the Home Office now actually live up to all of its motto of "building a safe, just and tolerant society" under Sir David Normington's leadership, something which it failed to do under Sir John Gieve ?
Or is one Permanent Secreretary virtually indistiguishable from another "Sir Humphrey Appleby" ?
It occurs to us that we had similar hopeful thoughts when Charles Clarke became Home Secretary, but he has proven to be as bad for privacy, security, liberty and freedom as his predecessor David Blunkett and Jack Straw before him.