It’s entirely true that Owen Jones writes well – the problem is that this seems to take the place of thinking well. Thus we get, wondrously expressed, a piece insisting that the Home Office is cruel, capricious and entirely free from any possibility of reform. It should be abolished.
OK, I’ve written a piece or two making that sort of argument myself. Actually, I made this argument when Owen Jones was still at Oxford listening to George Formby records to preserve his authentic working class accent.[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Perhaps he can’t, for the very job of Home Secretary is something that appears to affect the mind. Possibly it’s the collective mindset of the Home Office itself: we Britons are simply a problem to be managed in the best interests of the bureaucracy, nothing else. You get the impression that Home Secretaries don’t regard our liberties as inalienable; rather they are obstacles to be flattened in the name of smooth management.[/perfectpullquote]
So, fine with the idea that the Home Office is a malevolence that we’d like to excise from our society.[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The Home Office is a remorseless engine of cruelty, incompetence and Kafkaesque bureaucracy. It cannot be reformed, but should be scrapped.[/perfectpullquote]
OK Owen, OK.[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]There has never been a Home Office golden age, as the records of past authoritarian New Labour stewards, from David Blunkett – who once demagogically warned of refugees “swamping” local schools – to the bruiser John Reid, testify.[/perfectpullquote]
You’re right. As in my complaint about Charlie the Safety Elephant.[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Enough. The Home Office is an institutionally broken and unjust organisation; its very culture is rotten.[/perfectpullquote]
Hallelujah and pass the collection plate Brother![perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Rather than wasting time trying to reform this sadistic operation, it should be replaced – perhaps broken up,[/perfectpullquote]
Sure thing.[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]But as the injustices committed by the Home Office multiply, it becomes ever clearer that it cannot be reformed: it must go.[/perfectpullquote]
And now for Owen’s not thinking bit. Something I’ll not accuse myself of. For I see a government department, a non-accountable bureaucracy, screwin’ with us all and think that it would be a good idea not to have government departments, non-accountable bureaucracy, screwin’ with us all. We’re going to have some modicum of such of course. Someone does have to match the tally sticks to check that taxes have been paid, taxes must be paid because we’ve got to pay the hard men willing to do violence in the night to protect us from Brussels and any marauding bands of Frenchies.
But non-accountable bureaucracies, pecksniffs in offices, are just a horrible way to run things. Therefore we should use them only where we must and get on with the rest of life blissfully free from their unjust and sadistic operations.
That is, I view the Home Office and insist we should be as free market, libertarian, a society as we can be, as much so as is consistent with the basic operations of civilisation.
Owen Jones views those same unjust sadisms and insists that the economy, society, health care, education, the utilities, railways, must be subsumed into government and run in the same manner. The actual evidence of how democratic control works means he wants more of it, even as he deplores what he sees.
That is, Owen Jones has failed the first test of being an adult. Don’t presume how things will be but look for evidence of how they are. At which point we come to that bestest argument ever against government doing things – how government does things.
Sure, the Home Office is a ghastly, oppressive, liberty crushing and freedom denying monstrosity. So, why do you want these same fuckwits in charge of all of the rest of our lives Owen? You think they’re going to act any differently when they’re allocating those swathes of new social and council housing?
After all, they didn’t back when they did allocate housing, did they?