Big news of the day was that John Reid's plan to split the Home Office into a Department of Justice and a Department of Department of Security is "a goer" and will be happening in the next six weeks.
Reid, of course, gets the Security portfolio, and this is just the chance he's been waiting for to indulge his authoritarian instincts. The BBC have even found a Vulcan neck pinch photo of him that's a bit like the one of Tony Blair they occasionally dredge up. (Apologies for the small size but it was a bit small and I've had to blow it up - whoops, I'm a terrorist...)
The cover story behind the split is that the Home Office is too big to run as a single department. But Charles Clarke, Reid's predecessor, says that's total bollocks, and that the split will make things a lot worse, as the new Justice department - which combines the old Department of Constitutional Affairs with prison management, sentencing and probation - won't know what the Security Department - which will also cover policing, as well as counter-terrorism - is doing. Given the usual standard of interdepartmental communications, that's not an unreasonable criticism for Clarke to make. But I think the truth is more sinister than that. The real motive is to move counter-terrorism outside the criminal justice system - to create an agency operating 'outside the law' to take extreme measures to suppress terrorist threats both real and imagined, as well as any other undesirable civil insurrections which the government wants to get rid of. It's no surprise that the police has been assigned to the Security Department, as this separation is effectively one more step on the road to a police state. And the similarity to the US Department of Homeland Security is more than incidental.
Or I could be assigning far too much intelligence and competence to anyone involved with this whole caper, and it could just be another example of a Home Office f*** up. Either way it's bad news...