The Guardian has another set of Home Office leaks revealing the NuLabour fascination with "public shaming", involving "uniforms", and, incredibly the use of the Army
"The HS [home secretary] would like us to to think outside the box for targeting young offenders. He is keen on looking at involving the army to provide structure to young people's lives. Please can you provide a brief explanation of existing punishments/schemes and a recommendation to show how to take this forward," Mr Reid's personal secretary told one of the officials concerned.
He says that the home secretary is very interested in exploring ways of increasing visibility of offenders doing unpaid work in the community such as by wearing uniforms: "Unpaid work would have to be portrayed as penance and contrition, and for them to be seen as genuinely paying back to the community."
This is all very reminiscent of Hazel Blears and Charles Clarke's gaffes during the General Election campaign, where they wittered on about "orange boilersuits" for "young offenders", which actually turned out to be normal industrial overalls issued to adult offenders who were painting a Sea Scout hut. Who will get the contract for "orange boilersuits" ?
The professional Army has, rightly, not wanted to be involved in the social engineering / mind control of feckless "young offenders" since the time that dubious "short sharp shock" policies of previous Conservative Home Secretaries were leaked and spun as political kites, and then dropped.
Just as interesting is the hint that the idea of a blog has penetrated some parts of the Marsham Street kremlin:
The correspondence shows that the Home Office's most senior official, David Normington, has already been told that internal reaction has been negative. "I know from the comments to me in emails and on my blog that there will be some scepticism about whether anything will change," he told staff on Thursday.
In principle, the idea that the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office Sir David Normington has some sort of "blog", with comments, on what is presumably the Home Office's internal intranet, is a welcome one.
Which other senior officials within the Home Office write blogs, or have their staff do so ?
We wonder just how free the demoralised and downtrodden junior civil servants feel about posting frank criticisms of current or planned policies, given how trivial it is for the systems administrators to trace exactly which Home Office computer was used to post a comment to this internal blog ?
Feel free to tell us (or some other public forum), bearing in mind our advice to Home office (and other UK Government) whistleblowers