Simon Carr: Strategic narratives and operational matters – all are tales told by idiots

Sketch: The Home Office has commissioned the National Statistician to produce "a new picture of crime figures". It takes you back, doesn't it?
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The Independent Online

Did you see the recent study on the Indian political establishment? It's getting less and less open to outsiders, and more and more closed off to a clique of hereditary and connected insiders. Awful, isn't it? It's a shame they don't know better, you know, after all we did for them. But where were we? At the end of last week the shadow Home Secretary was seen asking an Urgent Question in the House.

At the beginning of this week a new shadow Home Secretary came in for departmental questions – and it was the old shadow Home Secretary's wife.

What do you mean "like in India"? No, no no. It's continuity, isn't it? We like continuity.

And here's some more of that. The old government was kicked out after years of statistical massaging, image management, leaking and news spinning. In comes the new government, and its new Home Office launches "a strategic narrative".

Maybe this wretched thing has or doesn't have a Head of Story Development, as the Foreign Office had before the Iraq war. But the last lot were professionals and if their strategic narratives had a head of story development – you can be sure they jolly well needed it.

Nick Herbert said the Home Office has also commissioned the National Statistician to produce "a new picture of crime figures".

It takes you back, doesn't it? When crime statistics were rising Labour got a new statistician. It worked with inflation as well. The index went up too quickly, so they got a new index.

When will this Government lose its amateur status and become a smooth, sleek, professional political operation?

That'll be a dark day, but you can sense it coming.

Asked about the closure of police stations in Manchester, Herbert said it was "an operational matter for the police". That will sound familiar to students of administrative evasion.

Later, the Opposition called on the Home Secretary "to apologise" for the "chaos". Then they vilified the Government with cries of "Shameful!"

And why? Leaking. You'll be shocked, for it's a great crime, the leaking of counter-terror details to the BBC before Parliament had been informed. "Disgraceful!" they shouted, as if it was the first they'd ever heard of this way of doing things.

And so the wheel goes round.