I have an article published by Open Democracy today, looking at why the Home Office has become such an ubiquitous presence in British politics. Rather than being a side-effect of September 11th or paedophile hysteria, I argue that this is a symptom of a structural shift, whereby government is shedding responsibilities upwards and downwards, leaving it with little more than its core ability to coerce its population. It concludes:
When it comes to policing, regulating migration, tracking terrorists, protecting children and the surveillance of the population at large, central government retains an onerous moral burden that it is not about to lose, no matter how much it might actually like to. As less brutal responsibilities flow elsewhere, government is left looking unattractively naked. But this trend will continue regardless of the "war on terror" or the latest tabloid outburst on paedophiles. It is structural not contingent. Until the globalising and localising tendencies go into reverse, this uglier, stripped-down model of the state is the only possible one for the foreseeable future. This makes it all the more important that a more sophisticated politics arises around topics such as criminal justice and surveillance, given that these look set to be the definitive problems for 21st-century central government.