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The Home Office cannot keep tabs on
immigrant criminals, while farmers face severe
penalties if they fail to keep tags on cattle
and know where they are.
Teviot Scientific, Cultybraggan Farm, Comrie,
Filed 28 Apr 06
On Wednesday 26th April the Blair government was
said to have had "a bad day".
His Health Minister was thoroughly booed when
she attempted to address a meeting held by the Royal College of
Nurses. The nurses had lost trust in the Government.
His Deputy Prime Minister, who had lectured others
so enthusiastically on the importance of family and moral values,
was exposed as an adulterer with his diary secretary, allegedly
using facilities provided by the taxpayer for his cavorting.
Then it became public knowledge that his Home
Secretary, Charles Clarke, had let 1023 immigrant offenders out
of jail without checking whether the judge at the time of their
sentencing had recommended deportation or not. They had been kept
in jail at a cost of some £38,000 each per year: the total
cost reaching astronomical figures.
It was claimed that the Home Office staff had
lost their prisoners papers, or could not keep up with prisoners
moving from one jail to another. The prisoners included murderers,
rapists and child sex molesters, as well those who had committed
other crimes of violence, and of course the usual run of burglars
driven by drug addiction. They just disappeared to ground and hundreds
of bobbies are now frantically looking for them in the attempt to
save the Home Secretary's bacon. Very few have so far been traced.
A number of the released prisoners have already
Then it transpires that the Home Secretary had
been repeatedly warned of the problem. Even since the last warning
he got in August last year, 288 had been released without knowledge
of their deportation status. Yet this Charles Clarke, backed by
Tony Blair, says he is right not to resign and that it is his duty
to stay and sort the mess out. Oh yes?
From a farmer's point of view, what is the problem
of keeping tabs on people in prison when farmers are required to
keep tabs on cattle and know where they are at all times? The farmer
faces severe penalties if he has any lapses. Each beast has a passport
equipped with an abundant supply of movement cards. Each beast is
tagged. The computer programme allows information to be recorded
electronically and transmitted to wherever the government wants
within its massive civil service empire. The numbers involved dwarf
the comparatively miniscule problem of a few thousand immigrants
with dodgy deportation status. With "joined up" government
it should not be beyond even their wit to adapt the existing computer
programme to the needs of keeping tags on Immigrant prisoners, their
deportation status and where they are.
Checking my British Cattle Movement records electronically
the government office reminds me that I have today 253 cattle of
all ages from a few days to many years old, and that I have no movement
queries. I know the day they were born, their individual ID numbers,
what breed they are and who their mother is or was. The government
office reminds me on the basis of the information that I was obliged
to provide. Like all livestock farmers my records have to be open
to inspection by government officials.
If an individual farmer is required to keep his
records to that standard, why cannot the Home Secretary with all
his staff manage the same standard of record keeping for a few more,
especially when they have the advantage of having permanent and
secure housing for their particular subjects at all times and at
What is obvious is that, for all the talk about
the importance of national security and law and order, the Home
Office is in chaos.