The Coalition’s decision to publish a Mid-Term review reminded some of Tony Blair’s ill-fated annual reports, which strangely stopped appearing after 2000. Blair’s last report embarrassed him because it contained mistakes: the danger of this document was that while lauding the government’s progress to date, it might also have to accept a number of failures.
That wasn’t the case on Monday: in fact, the report itself was largely a paraphrase of every government policy announced so far, which was quite Blairite in itself as it sought to dress up old announcements as new plans. There was no admission of failures, or at least not until David Cameron’s adviser Patrick Rock was snapped carrying a memo warning that the annex assessing those targets could lead to ‘unfavourable copy’. The Telegraph has the scoop, and now the Coalition will publish the annex, which is understood to concede that Whitehall has missed more than 70 targets.
The document isn’t expected to emerge until after Prime Minister’s Questions, but it would be an easy shot for Ed Miliband, who could tie it in with the resignation of two ministers in two days.
Two things to watch out for will be which departments are particularly bad at implementing policy – the Telegraph says the Ministry of Justice is the worst at this, which is irritating for Chris Grayling on the day he unveils the next step in his ‘rehabilitation revolution’ – and which pledges have run aground because of tricky Coalition relations.