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Monday, January 29, 2007

A Triumph of hope over reality

I think it is fair to say that this morning's Guardian article about John Reid is an attempted pre-emptive strike designed to lower expectations and possibly prepare us for more damaging revelations.

The paper records that Mr Reid is braced for further criticism this week when Anne Owers, the chief inspector of prisons, uses her annual report to highlight the rise in the number of prisoners serving indeterminate sentences to about 2,000. And in another potentially awkward intervention, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will deliver a speech to the Prison Reform Trust on Thursday.

However, the Home Secretary is defiant: "If you renovate a house you start by taking the wallpaper off. It is only then that you discover more problems. That's what it is like in the Home Office," he writes in an article in the Guardian.

"These problems don't leave me beleaguered. If we weren't discovering more we wouldn't be reforming the Home Office. Indeed I expect more problems." He also makes clear he has no intention to quit.

"I was sent to the Home Office to do a job. Being home secretary is my biggest challenge. But it isn't mission impossible. Judge me not on the challenges but on my response to them."

If it had been a television or radio interview I would have expected to hear somebody singing "Things can only get better" in the background.
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