Just in the past couple of days alone Gordon Brown has displayed his anti-social tendencies by going out mugging and robbing whilst David Cameron was in Rwanda. He comes back and his wardrobe is bare, Gordon Brown is now “talking the talk” about border police, but is he “walking the walk?” The proposal for a border force was shamelessly adopted from the Conservatives, however. Mr Brown said that officers from the immigration service, Revenue and Customs and UKVisas would be brought together, creating a single checkpoint for travellers. The border patrol would not be a police force but would have powers to arrest individuals and to seize documents and other materials. David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary said;
“Our concern is that this is simply the same old ineffective porous border control, albeit in a different uniform, instead of a new specialised unified police force equipped with the powers necessary to do the job.”
Lib Dem spokesman Nick Clegg has described the new idea as “border force lite”
Downing Street conceded that the agency was more about a better use of existing resources than a major new integrated force.
Any such new border police must be a real police force in the same fashion as the Met or Northumbria Police, with all of the rights and powers that go with them, with the additional powers and practices of H.M.Revenue and Customs, Border and Immigration Agency, and UK Visas, and not some dressed up Group 4 scheme!
However, the fact that Brown has swiped the basic idea directly from the Tories shows a worrying sign that he intends to pre-empt all of the worthwhile policy initiatives (government of all the talents?)
A similar announcement in the field of defence heralds the building of two new 65,000 tonne aircraft carriers The Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales, also a clarion call from the Conservatives. So far, we know that the carriers will be backed by eight new type 45 destroyers but there also needs to be a commitment for new frigates too, however defence sources would not give full backing to the third tranche of 88 RAF Eurofighter Typhoons, suggesting that the £60 million aircraft might be sacrificed.
The budgets announcement was questioned by the Tories who suggested that, with defence spending dropping marginally to 2.1 per cent of GDP, not enough was being spent while the Forces were involved in two major conflicts.
Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, said there was “a strong suspicion that we are not being told the full story today”.
In general, defence spending needs to rise at a far faster rate than Brown has allowed over the past decade.
So, the PM is “talking the right talk” after mugging Cameron – in an ideal world he’d be “walking the walk” straight to the nearest police station, charged with aggravated theft. Leaving the Leader of the Opposition without any clothes, at a time when he is already trying to conceal his blushes, is a heinous crime!
In a roundabout way Nick Robinson at the BBC was succinctly analysing the same scenario yesterday and adroitly points out that Brown’s lurch to the right has stolen the ground vacated by Cameron. The cleverness of the Prime Minister is not escaping attention, one hopes that the people at Conservative HQ are taking notice!