Matthew d'Ancona and I agree on Ken Clarke

If you read anything today, read this piece by Matthew d’Ancona and his take on Ken Clarke. He puts forward exactly the same argument that I put to Iain Dale yesterday in our Seven Days Show. Essentially, that prison works because when criminals are locked up it reduces crime.

As Michael writes, “Michael Howard, showed beyond doubt that “prison works”, in the sense that crime falls when villains are locked up. There is plenty of evidence from around the world to support this fairly obvious linkage — obvious because most crime is committed by a small population of persistent offenders. ”

I also put it to Iain in our podcast that in a move towards localism people would never accept community sentences replacing prison sentences. Michael argues that Clarke is out of touch with his party and the electorate on this, and I agree. On law and order the electorate can be very right wing. Historically there has always been a majority in favour of restoring the death penalty, so a more liberal approach isn’t likely to appeal.

I can think or at least one Labour MP in Ken Clarkes Nottinghamshire that would be more than happy to portray the Tories as soft on crime because of Ken’s zeal for sending less people to prison. This is Nottinghamshire where the public already don’t have that much faith in the police, as they have been judged the worst performing force in the nation not to long ago. So you have perception that criminals dont get caught, and Clarke suggesting when they do they may not get sent down? Not the message Tories want to be hearing and not the message the public want to hear.

Will Clarke have to go? Who knows – but he isn’t articulating the policy stance I want to hear.

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