Probably the second most right wing Home Secretary Britain
has ever known; only Michael Howard
comes out ahead, and he was an unmistakeable bigot
whose disdain for civil liberties
was second to none. After coming into power as New Labour
's Home Secretary under Tony Blair
, Jack Straw proposed and promoted a wide range of authoritarian
legislation: Measures to 'fast track' young offenders
; an Asylum Bill
even more restrictive than that they had inherited from the Tories
, which had been widely denounced as racist in intention and effect but was loved by the tabloid press
s on children in many areas; a Police Act
which removes the need for judicial authority for phone tapping
and various other checks on police
intrusions; a Terrorism Act
which broadened the definition of 'terrorism
' to include interference with an electronic system, causing serious damage to property or promoting any such 'terrorist
' actions - by wearing a T-shirt or badge, perhaps; legislation to remove the right to trial by jury
for many defendants; and so on, and so on.
Jack Straw also refused to give an inch on the issue of cannabis prohibition in his time as Home Secretary, in spite of the massive shift of opinion against it, both among the public at large and in the press - even the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph declared that it was time for the law to change - and in spite of his son, William Straw being caught selling a draw to a Mirror Reporter, and his brother Ed Straw being named in at least one article as an enthusiastic pot-head who sold the occasional draw in his youth, thirty-odd years ago.
After the UK General Election 2001 Jack Straw was replaced as Home Secretary by David Blunkett, formerly Education Secretary, who many expect to be just as bad. Jack Straw is now Foreign Secretary.
Also: A Jacks draw, pronounced 'Jack Straw,' is the amount of draw you can get for a jacks.