Jack Straw and I have been exchanging correspondence for about three years, and like the steriotypical Northern woman that I am (think Ena Sharples and you get the picture) I have been nagging Jack Straw to open up the secret family courts.
We should not have secret courts in a democratic country, but what makes things billions of times worse is that these secret courts have been influenced by an American paedophile psychologist called Richard Gardner, who invented a theory which he called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and these blasted courts have been using this psychotwaddle claptrap to label tens of thousands of good working class mothers as child abusers!
Straw has wriggled and slithered on this issue like a snake, no, worse than a snake, more like an eel.
Anyway, here is the latest Strawwatch news. It looks to me like he is trying to pretend to the world that he is a reasonable sort of bloke, promoting openness.
He does not fool me for a second.
I've got my eye on you, Jack Straw. We all have.
Community punishment for offenders to go to the vote
Public to be given chance to vote on work done by criminals on community punishment projects
* Alan Travis, home affairs editor
* guardian.co.uk, Monday 30 March 2009 10.05 BST
* Article history
A new scheme which claims to give the public the right to vote on what physical work should be carried out in communities by offenders is to be launched today.
The scheme, launched by the justice secretary, Jack Straw, and home secretary, Jacqui Smith, will allow the public to choose via a government website which of five local projects should be started first.
About 55,000 "community payback" projects, including clearing up litter, cleaning graffiti and redecorating community centres, were completed last year with more than 6m hours of unpaid work ordered by the courts.
The five schemes to be voted on in Straw's own Blackburn constituency include a "thorough clean-up" of Whitebirk Drive; removing graffiti and rebuilding fences at the Brownlow Street garage colony; a "deep clean" of the King Street part of the town centre; and a complete overhaul of Olive Lane, Darwen, including cleaning up the backstreets.
Voting for projects in 54 "pioneer" neighbourhood crime and justice areas, which appears to exclude the home secretary's Redditch constituency, opens today on direct.gov.uk and runs until 24 April. However, the "winning project" in each area is not to be announced until early June, suggesting that the actual work is unlikely to start until the summer.
The scheme, to be promoted in local newspapers and on local radio, will also invite the public to suggest neighbourhood projects.
It forms part of a forthcoming government green paper on increasing the public's role in handling low-level neighbourhood crime. It follows the controversial introduction of high-visibility vests so offenders can be identified when they are doing community work.
Straw said ministers were determined to open up the criminal justice system: "It's crucial that the public – the taxpayer – has a say in what community punishments offenders receive. People have a right to know what offenders are doing in their neighbourhood to repay for the wrongs committed."
The government's neighbourhood crime and justice adviser, Louise Casey, said the public wanted to know that criminals were being made to pay for their crimes: "Community payback makes this a reality and, very importantly, they also now give the public a say in what criminals must actually do to serve their punishment and pay back to local communities".