One of the things I appreciate about Ming Campbell has been the way he has led opinion on several domestic and international issues: whether rendition, the Home Office or the current Middle East situation.
On the Middle East, he has been leading the way in the UK in calling for an immediate ceasefire in the face of Blair’s usual kow-towing to Bush and the US neocons.
On the Home Office, he faced Blair’s usual evasiveness and glib superficiality at PMQs, as reported in Hansard on May 3, 2006:
- Ming Campbell
- Is the Home Office fit for purpose?
- Tony Blair
- That might be a question better asked of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I do not believe that the answer to this problem lies in reorganising the Home Office. I think that the fit between prisons, immigration and asylum, and crime is the right one. The issue is the way in which the system works.
But seems to have, once again, been proved correct by events according to this BBC report on May 23, 2006:
Home Secretary John Reid has damned his department’s immigration operation as “not fit for purpose” with “inadequate” leadership and management systems.
While we’re on the subject of media coverage, I’m also surprised that the media haven’t gone after Cameron for his silence on the Middle East. This article by Matthew Parris suggests it may be because coming down on one side or another – particularly the neo-con side which close Cameron advisors such as George Osborne, Michael Gove and Ed Vaizey strongly favour – could put the carefully constructed facade of Conservative party unity at risk. It will be interesting to see if this would-be Prime Minister will have anything interesting to say on the most pressing issue in world politics on his return from Afghanistan. Or perhaps he is going to wait a year for the outcome of one of his policy reviews on the subject?