Waiting to hear Theresa May’s statement about the News of the World phone tapping story, I was depressed to hear the Home Secretary crowing that, while it took Labour 12 years to get round to compiling a strategy aimed at ending violence against women, her government was going to do the same within one year.
The Labour strategy (which I worked on briefly, so I may be biased) wasn’t perfect and had more to say on some subjects than others; but it was based on the largest public consultation ever undertaken on the subject. It looked at domestic violence, sexual violence, honour killing, FGM, human trafficking and gender-related bullying among young people. It included contributions from victims, asylum-seeking, traveller and refugee women and almost every department in Whitehall, as well as the police, prisons service and the CPS among others. It was a serious piece of work. I’ll be interested to see what they come up with that’s different, but I can’t quite believe that they are really proposing to go over all that ground again – re-consult, produce another report, repeat the funding and governance negotiations between Whitehall departments – and wait a year for it all to happen. Why? Can’t we just make what we have work?