Now Jacqui Smith is ready to run the Home Office

At a breakfast with business leaders last week Jacqui Smith gave a presentation on ID Cards and sounded, well, humble. 

She confirmed her confidence in ID Cards technology: a roll-out of the scheme will begin in Manchester later this year. At times her voice croaked. 

She has had the arrogance that nearly always seems to go with ministership knocked out of her by the media coverage of her second-home claim and her husband’s decision to put the cost of the two adult movies on her parliamentary expenses.

In her speech she didn’t have the “we-can-do-what-we-like” haughtiness which characterizes some secretaries of state.

When I asked her a question she tried to answer it at length, helpfulness I am not used to, especially in a minister. John Reid when he was Secretary of State for Health was remarkably brusque when I put a question to him. Geoff Hoon, when Defence Secretary, was, in my view, objectionable.

Now that Jacqui Smith has been humbled she is in the best position to continue as Home Secretary. Already she has resisted the idea of a single database of all emails, texts and visits to social networking sites. Her alternative plan of setting up systems to read communications on the ISP sites is not much better – but it is better.

It’s a pity that now she’s qualified to be a Secretary of State she’ll be sacked. And could be replaced by an MP with the air of Geoff Hoon.

Some MPs, when they get into office, warm to the power and to being treated as omniscient by ostensibly obsequious civil servants. Jacqui Smith has been through all that and has been normalized by her mistakes.  She’s now the best person to do the job. 


Jacqui Smith’s Big Brother climbdown – Daily Mail

Jacqui Smith on protecting rights – speech to Intellect

Minister admits ID Cards technical challenges – Computer Weekly

Geoff Hoon’s attack on Computer Weekly