Has the programme been devised to boost Reid and to stop Gordon?
Stoking up the rhetoric on crime, terror and immigration looks set to be the central theme of this morning’s traditional speech by the Queen at the opening of Parliament.
For those interested in the key betting markets of the Labour leadership and “when Blair will go” the main focus is on who is going to be getting all the publicity as the new legislative programme is pushed through parliament?
For the great power that Blair still has is deciding this programme and he must have worked out that the person who will be constantly popping up on our screens in the next few months is going to be the Home Secretary, John Reid.
He’ll get all the attention as ASBOs are tightened up even further, as a revised race hatred bill is introduced and tougher terror legislation is put before MPs.
From Reid’s point of view this could not be better and the more squeals there are from liberal sounding elements the bigger the opportunity for him to shine.
It will be the lucid Reid’s job, as well, to focus directly on what Labour sees as David Cameron’s biggest weakness – being soft on crime and all that “hug a hoodie” can be made to represent.
Is it any wonder that Gordon Brown has also got into the tough-talking act on crime/terror issues debate? He cannot let his fellow Scotsman get all the limelight although that could be problematical for the Chancellor.
As the Independent reports this morning Reid is running a secret internal review of counter-terrorism measures which is in parallel with a separate Treasury investigation by Gordon Brown – a clash that could provide some red meat for opposition attack dogs.
As we saw in the polls in August Reid can get a big boost when terror and crime are in the news. Is this why Blair has decided that these themes should be central to his final session as PM?