Since 1997, the Labour government has passed over 120,000 pages of legislation. 'Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime,' has become a favourite Blairite battlecry.
The vast bulk of this legislation comes via the Home Office, which has fashioned a total of 59 bills since 1997. Not content with the fact that 10 years in office has led Labour to introduce over 3,000 new offences, The recent Queen's Speech informed us that the Home Office believes there is not enough legislation. Five more bills were announced.
Where the hell is all of this leading?
The answer comes from this morning's Guardian. At the moment British prisons are full like never before - the highest in Europe in fact - 80,000 this week and rising! Some 8,000 new prison places are needed we are told. Will the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, cough up the requisite sum needed to incarcerate these scallywags? Not on your nelly! He obstinately refuses.
To the rescue comes the Home Office with a brilliant idea. 'Let's offer the public shares in prisons', they say. 'Get the public to invest in a company that can build jails and then rent them out!'
As the Guardian reports:
Who says crime doesn't pay?