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A quick posting today squeezed in between a major event with Jack Straw this morning and Trustee Board this afternoon.

Jack’s speech this morning was clear and comprehensive. The Justice Secretary argued for a penal system based on the principles of ‘punishment and reform’. He took the prison reform and children’s charity sector to task for using opaque language and for forgetting the victim in all their talk of the needs and rights of offenders. Whatever one thinks of this argument it was brave to make it in front of several key figures from the sector present in a packed Great Room.

As the speech did not contain any new announcements but was pitched at the public (successfully judging from the press coverage) rather than the criminal justice policy world it might add to speculation that the Government is once again considering an early election. Surely Gordon Brown’s advisors won’t let this rumour build up again? Labour is still eight to ten points behind in most polls and to look as though ministers are considering electoral advantage at a time like this would be disastrous. If the rumour does grow (and a senior journalist told me last week they had heard it from several sources) I would expect it to be rebutted swiftly by the Number Ten.

I said on Friday that I was doing an item on the Politics Show on Sunday arising from various blogs about the politics of recession. Fortunately I have not yet met anyone who saw it as it was not my finest hour! Having expressly asked not to be portrayed as the former Labour voice this is exactly what happened. But more embarrassingly I agreed to dress up as a doctor in a terribly contrived piece about how to tell the patient/ public the bad news about the economy. It may have made good telly – who am I to judge – but I felt like an idiot.

Over the weekend I finished reading ‘Organising and Disorganising’ by Michael Thompson. I found the book enthralling. I am now a firm believer in what Thompson calls cultural theory. If you want to know why you can hear Michael speak here on December 4th or read the Journal piece we have just commissioned from him. I will try to expand on the theory and why I think it is powerful in further blogs this week


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