At the End of the Day

UK Ministry of Justice data just released shows that 148,000 criminals dealt with in England and Wales last year had 15 or more convictions or cautions apiece. That represents a 14% rise since 2008.

Schemes shown to be capable of decimating the reoffending rate are freely available in the private, charity and mutual sectors. The Government chooses to ignore them.

Home Secretary Theresa May said a separate Scotland could not replicate the protection provided by the UK’s intelligence and security services within the SNP’s suggested £2.5 billion budget. She unveiled a report warning that there would also be “diminished security” in the remainder of the UK while Scotland tried to replicate the functions of bodies like MI5 and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

Earlier this year Foreign Secretary William Hague openly admitted that the UK has no protection against cyber attacks on national security.

Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury select committee, told Coop Bank CEO Barry Tootell that the bank’s capital position was such that a “puff of wind could blow you over”, and accused him of “sailing close to the wind” with his assertion that the bank had a strong capital position at the end of 2012. Tootell denied this.

The Coop Bank’s capital position was known by the Treasury and Business Minister Vince Cable to be poor at the end of 2012. The then regulator (the FSA) made this abundantly clear.

Britain should not be afraid of selling off more of its major national infrastructure to foreign owners, David Cameron has said. “I know some people look at foreign companies investing in our businesses, financing our infrastructure or taking over our football clubs and ask – shouldn’t we do something to stop it?” he added, “Well, let me tell you, the answer is ‘no’. One of Britain’s unique selling points is its openness and this openness is a vital part of how we ensure our country is a great success story in the global race. Foreign investment creates wealth, jobs and growth. And far from weakening our industrial base, that investment actually strengthens it.”

Multinational foreign investment on the UK does not create wealth for the UK, it creates wealth for that company’s shareholders. The average foreign multinational in the UK avoids some 82% of the tax paid by UK-owned smaller businesses. Beyond financial services, Britain is a Failure Story globally at present. No growth at all is apparent in our all-important export sector, nor does our industrial/manufacturing base show any evidence of significant expansion. English football has never been so poorly regarded on the international stage.

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What these randomly extracted fragments from today’s UK-centric news output tell us is this: Establishment policy on criminal incarceration is an abysmal failure, but needn’t be; despite GCHQ’s £14billion budget, Britain lags hopelessly behind in the field of cyber weapons; Government interference in the affairs of Coop Bank has destroyed its viability…and replaced cooperative certainty with devious dilution of investor returns; and the Prime Minister of Great Britain thinks that pawning our national assets makes us stronger than we were before.

Put more succinctly, the prison system, the security services, the banking system, and the occupant of Number Ten Downing Street are all unfit for purpose.

This would not be a problem if the Opposition had better ideas and offered the promise of a greater level of competence across the board. But the Labour leadership displays no evidence of either likelihood.

And that explains why millions of intelligent and willing Britons will go to bed tonight, as they do every night, somewhat depressed about the outlook for the country we used to love.