This morning has not been a good one for the government. There’s been an embarrassing admission that 28 days detention will simply lapse on Monday, the Conservative party chairman is delivering a speech that the vast majority of Conservatives think is muddle-headed at best, and the Prime Minister finds himself in a public debate with the mother of a quadriplegic child.
2011 was always going to be a hard year for the government but what should worry Downing Street is that two of these problems are self-inflicted. The whole counter-terrorism review should have been finished before 28 day detention expired. The fact that it has not been makes the government look like it can’t work to a deadline and is drifiting in a crucial area of policy.
Warsi’s speech is a more complicated matter. There are, as David Blackburn and Paul Goodman have noted, some good points in the speech. But her view that bigotry against Muslims ‘has seeped into our society to an extent where it acceptable around dinner tables to have these conversations where anti-Muslim bigotry and hatred is quite openly discussed’ doesn’t strike me as an accurate reflection of the national discourse.