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I hate the world today

I have always regarded it as reliably axiomatic that government departments are named after whatever it is they are trying to put a stop to. One need look no further than the Department of Education for practical proof of this principle in action.

For the same reason I have always regarded it as a blessing that the legal system has been administered by something called ‘The Home Office’. For all of its indisputable shortcomings, I took great comfort from the fact that we do not, nor have we ever had, a ‘Ministry of Justice’.

Until now:

New department: the Ministry of Justice

A Ministry of Justice will be created to provide a stronger focus on the criminal justice system, and on reducing re-offending.

This new ministry will take over the staff and responsibilities of the Department for Constitutional Affairs, and the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), including the prison and probation services, and have lead responsibility for criminal law and sentencing…

The Prime Minister said the new Ministry of Justice ‘will take the leading role in delivering a fairer, more effective, speedy and efficient justice system.’

I rather think that a more realistic appraisal will be opaque, incompetent and, above all, self-serving.

They may as well just go ahead and set up the Ministries of Truth, Prosperity and Freedom and I daresay that, in the fullness of time, they will.

7 comments to I hate the world today

  • jk

    Exactly right. My sister-in-law is actively seeking to establish a US Departmnet of Peace(Link).

    The Amish will be shooting the Shakers if such a thing were ever funded.

  • Nick M

    Minor technical quibble:

    It is the Department for Education.

    And I think you meant the ministeries of Truth, Plenty and Love. Not that we should forget Minipax.

  • Paul Marks

    If ministers thought that the Home Office was in charge of too much they could have transfered some responsibilities to the Lord Chancellor’s Office (traditionally in charge of the courts).

    However, I believe that the government has renamed the Lord Chancellor’s Office (indeed the ancient office of Lord Chancellor is being done away with).

    The government hates anything with “Lord” or, especially, “Royal” or “Crown” in the title – as this implies that Civil Servants have a loyality beyond that to the government of the day (to the Crown – not just to the New Labour “Project”).

    So a lot of time and money is spent “rebranding” various things.

    “What do names and rituals matter” (say “modern” folk) actually they matter a great deal, but the explination of why they matter can not be fitted into a few words.

    To return to the Home Office:

    One way of reducing its responsibilities would be for the Isle of Man, the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey to formally declare that they have nothing to do with the government of the United Kingdom – they just happen to share a Head of State (in the same way that Australia, Canada and New Zealand).

    This would mean that the Home Office no longer has to concern itself with the various islands.

    The Isle of Man and the various Channel Islands should also formally declare that they will have nothing more to do with the European Declaration on Human Rights and the court that goes with it. This is not part of the E.U. but also has the habit of ordering people about – for example demanding that the Isle of Man give up Corporal Pushishment (in defiance of the will of its people) , and that the island of Sark establish a new system of government, because the centuries old one was not “democratic” (although, of course, if the new democratic government did something the “enlightened elite” did not like…….).

    As for the “Ministry of Justice”, the Channel Islands managed to avoid the French Revolutionary version of this sort of thing, but it did have a rather nasty experience during World War II.

  • Surely it should be the Ministry of Law, as Justice is such an amorphous and ambiguous term and more often than not is exactly what the criminal justice system fails to deliver.

    I’d be more worried about the management of the police being left with the home office and not staying intrinsically attached to that which it is there to enforce. In my eyes this reduces the police to little more than a militia in the service of the government and not the law. I shouldn’t be surprised I suppose , we’ve been heading this way for some time.

  • Freeman

    It’s a good job we do not have a Ministry for the Prevention of Crime then.

  • Julian Taylor

    Its when we start getting a Ministry of Information Retrieval that I’m hightailing it out of here.

  • dearieme

    The obvious logical split for the Home Office was between its English and British functions. So, of course, that is not the split they will adopt.