back to article Home Office minister gets tough, then gets stuck

Is Liam Byrne trying to tell us something? For some time now we've noted a 'drip drip' quality to the pronouncements of the minister i/c ID cards and immigration, gradually - no, probably not gradually - building the impression of a huge mailed fist slamming down on Johnny Shiftless Thieving Foreigner. Essentially, when we …


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  1. kempsy

    The Sun

    Have they been hiring Sun journalists as Press Officers?

  2. Andy H

    Some alternatives

    adamant, adamantine, aggressive, bold, crustaceous, durable, enduring, feisty, fibrous, forceful, hard-nosed, hardy, impassive, inured, resilient, resistant, spartan, stoical, stubborn, tenacious, threatening.

  3. min


    tough on bullsh1t, tough on the purveyors of bullsh1t? bullsh1tters....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NuLabour NuHormone

    "An end to knife cautions for those over the age of 16 was signalled today by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, Justice Secretary Jack Straw and Attorney General Baroness Scotland sending the clear message that carrying knives is unacceptable and will result in tough consequences..."

    Tough on crime? R-i-g-h-t... like they were on Tuesday?

    We have this exception to the murder charge, murder done in rage is reduced to manslaughter. The reason this is done is because we humans have a hormone 'testosterone', the anger hormone. Sadly it's a hangover from our primaeval days, and it removes our better judgement when we are enraged.

    There's also this other hormone, 'adrenaline' the fight or flight hormone. The one that's released when you're scared and causes you to run away or mount an attack.

    So Baroness Scotland reviews the law around this and decides that there is another hormone, 'NuLaboursRevenge'. This new hormone lets you plan a murder, have courage and confidence enough to execute the murder, then pretend to be afraid once you get to court.

    "Oh your honor I was the victim of long term abuse so I'd like to be let off the murder charge please"

    Thus a person pumped up with this NuLaboursRevenge hormone can make the claim that there were afraid, so afraid that instead of escaping, they planned a murder and hung around for the subject of their fear to return to be killed.

    And this was proposed by Patricia Scotland, Hariet Harman, and Maria Eagle. Legalizing premeditated murder for anyone who can claim to have a 'fear of violence' as they put it. Of course the corpse can't defend themselves once it gets to court.

    Not suprisingly killings done in anger are usually done by men (more testosterone), the claim to be afraid as a defence is usually women (more like to make a convincing 'I was the victim of domestic violence' claim). Hence they're trying to legalize the premeditated murder of men by women.

    Tough on men. Tough on the causes of men.

  5. ben

    Home Office minister

    Is a "tough" job. Whatever the poor bastard says or does, he's damned, by some miracle he's pulling it off.

  6. Steve


    The Sun has journalists?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ Tim

    Well said. Very eloquently spoken. And a F*ck you to all the haters who seem to think that they have a right to judge! FFS, i wouldn't mind betting that all the people, that commented negatively, would give their eye teeth for the ability to provide for their family as this man can. All you have to do is concentrate and work hard. A concept lost on most of the inhabitants of this green and pleasant land!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A little too tough??

    Well it seems that in some cases they've been a little too tough and had to revert the 'tough' new legislation as it wasn't legal. Oops! Not the first time either.

  9. alistair millington
    Thumb Up

    @Andy H

    You do the government a great honour if you think half those words enter their heads without help or prompting.

    ID cards are only a good idea because it is made up of two letters after all. It's not like anyone actually wants them.

  10. Daniel



  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Sounds more like the mail to me...

  12. Steve

    do they even make sense

    'Tough consequences'? Is that a consequence that is difficult to chew?

    How about 'Dire consequences'

  13. Mr Fury

    You missed...

    Labour, and particularly Gordon Brown, are doing badly - which is *tough* shit.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Some alternatives

    Strange that "stubborn" and "aggressive" should appear, eh?

  15. Anonymous Coward


    If only. Stocks, birchings, hangings. Pity all our judges can hand out now are cautions, and life - (out in 6 years).

    Prison overcrowding? hang some of the theiving, murderous bastards. make some space.

    Vote for me.

    Ivan the Terrible

    Make the world a better place - Impale a hoody today.

  16. Mike Crawshaw
    Black Helicopters

    Tough on Repetitiveness...

    My first employment after leaving high school was in a call centre for a telephone banking service I won't name. But it was in 1993, so I'm sure you can guess as there was only one about at the time...

    I had a call monitored, where it lasted 40 minutes, and I had sold a caller our current account, saving account and credit card, as we aced his current packages in pretty much every way. He went away happy, I was pleased, as I'd got a good rapport going with him,and we got commission on sales.

    Then my team leader informed me that she had monitored the call, and that I was facing a Stage 1 Disciplinary for it. My crime? I used the word "certainly" 8 times throughout, and was therefore being "repetitive and tedious". (I make that about once every 5 minutes)

    I quit that day (best move I ever made). Maybe, just maybe, now he's been called on it, this minister will do the same? *crosses fingers and wishes*

    (black helios cos they WERE out to get me there!)

  17. twelvebore

    Newcomers Must Earn The Right To Stay In The UK

    I like this idea. I think it should be extended.

    How about "Daily Mail Readers Must Earn The Right To Stay In The UK"?

    Or "Government Ministers Must Earn The Right To Stay In The UK: Tough New Clampdown On Xenophobic Bullshit And Spin"??!

  18. Gordon Pryra

    Tough on border controls?

    I managed to walk onto the runway at Luton Airport last week before the guy taking the boarding cards called me back to recheck my out of date passport

    hardly tough to be honest, 3 lots of security controls strolled past and only some guy picking up on it by mistake.

    BTW I would like to take this chance to thank the Identity Office for their strike. I would sack the lot of you tomorrow.

  19. Mike Smith

    Act tough while you can Liam...

    Because in 641 days at most your government will be history.


  20. william

    "It's right"

    I thought the mantra was "It's right" or "It's right and proper" to be said 1,000,000 times a day.

  21. Paul

    I say we club together

    and buy this guy a Thesaurus.

  22. Marvin the Martian
    Thumb Up

    Crustaceous... crusty...

    I like Andy H's suggestion for "Feisty on Foreigners"!

    On the other hand, since all this proposed literacy demands only apply on Johnny Foreigner at the gates, and not on the (ex-Sun) press officers, we cannot expect much vocabulistic variation from the foreign office.

  23. Andy Silver badge

    Other alternatives

    Don't forget chewy, gristly, stringy, inedible.


  24. Laurie
    Thumb Down

    Don't forget the much over used word

    - "Robust".


  25. Martin Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Not medieval

    Paying people to leave would be medieval

    "That he which hath no stomach to this fight (or goverment)

    Let him depart; his passport shall be made

    And crowns for convoy put into his purse:"

    Henry V scene III

  26. Anonymous Coward

    RE: Some alternatives

    I think Feisty and Fibrous have the most potential for hilarity. But, he might opt for some more harsh and intimidating words, like:

    annihilate, crush, decimate, demolish, desolate, devastate, do in, extinguish, pulverize, raze, ruin, shatter, smash, tear down, waste, wreck.

    "We will DEMOLISH the crime rates with these tough and fibrous new Knife Regulations!"

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not an alternative...

    ...but maybe more appropriate and it's a word I've liked ever since I first heard it.


  28. Alastair Smith

    Must be a slow news day...

    It's tough finding things to write about!

  29. Lyndon Hills
    Thumb Up

    @Andy H

    nice ideas! So a 'feisty' policy would be vaguely fun, or perhaps plucky. A crustaceous one for when the government is in a bad mood. Assuming that policies are printed then fibrous would be a pretty accurate description. Spartan policies would be those resulting from knee-jerk reactions to events - producing policy best left out on a hillside to die....

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    May I suggest

    Liam tells us how 'firm' he plans to be.

    Then we can all snigger at the back of the Internet.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Come on, hire a psychologist.

    One who's not afraid to comment on how the government keeps talking about sex and how tough they are. There must be some good sound-bites you can get out of them even if it is psychobabble.

  32. Chris

    @ Andy H

    "adamant, adamantine, aggressive, bold, crustaceous, durable, enduring, feisty, fibrous, forceful, hard-nosed, hardy, impassive, inured, resilient, resistant, spartan, stoical, stubborn, tenacious, threatening."

    Anyway... 'spineless, weak, ineffectual, un-enforcable, un-enforced, toothless, blustering, ill-considered' mention but a few alternatives, would surely be more apt?

    ' crustaceous'? WHERE did that come from? Come to think of it 'stoical'? In this context?

    Swallowing a dictionary is one thing - chundering up that lot suggests severe gastrointestinal issues are involved.

    There's more to talking crap than, er, taking like a Neo-Marxist/Stalinist Government Minister chasing any faint hope of preserving his post...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Gordon Pryra

    Don't blame the passport office for your oversight. Although, given the conditions that they're working in, sacking my be a good career move.

  34. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Must be a slow news day...

    Nah. Slow reader day.

  35. JCL
    IT Angle

    weasel words

    I think "crustaceous" would keep Nick Robinson guessing, but perhaps "Cretaceous" would work better. I'm just pleased I haven't heard "minded", "weasel words", and "mealy mouthed" (I always have a picture of someone dropping maggots from their mouths when I hear this one, eugh) for quite some time, mind you, I appear to have recently taken all of my political news from El Reg... back to the bbc news website I go. Not long until 17:30 now...

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh how I LOVE...

    ... A TOUGH man in uniform!

    (pardon my borrowing and amending Fairuza Balk's quote from The Craft)

    Note to Liam: Try less hard darling...

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Tough on men. Tough on the causes of men - LM(f)AO

    My 2d: tough on tax, tough on the payers of tax.

    Oooo - there's still another 12 pence in here, I'm sure GB will be asking for that soon.

  38. Jimmy

    Still spinning...

    This is exactly the same Mail/Sun pandering excrement that got NuLabour elected ten years ago. It worked then but it won't work now because people have been able to compare the spin with the reality. Who was it that cozied up to the radical immigrant Imams who promptly set about indoctrinating impressionable young Muslims with such tragic consequences for Londoners? And who promptly decided this was a very good excuse to have a bonfire of our rights and liberties because "it would make us all more secure"? The very same people who decided that 9/11 was a good day bury some bad news for the British government.

    Byrne is just another Blairite bullshitter inherited by Brown. Nothing less than a root and branch purge of these morons can save Brown from annihilation.

  39. Harry Stottle

    "Hard Working Families"

    is the phrase that makes me projectile vomit at the screen so, inspired by your example, I googled

    "government OR opposition AND "hard working families" AND Labour"

    (the "AND Labour" excluded the foreign contributors without excluding the British Tories who nearly always use the phrase in close proximity to an attack on Labour)

    ...which "brought up" (hmmm... know the feeling) 46,300 examples including this beauty from wikipedia:

    These words and phrases belong to a class of "button pushing" cliches which politicians believe puts them in contact with Joe Public. Every country probably has its own. America has dozens. IF they work as politicians obviously believe they do, then this suggests that We The People are every bit as stupid as they think we are. Not good news for those of us who aspire to Democracy

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Chris W


    Are you sure you don't mean "Asinine"?

    Sounds about right...

  41. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Information toughing

    Worth a press release, for those not old enough to remember a Conservative govmnt.

    Tho Tony always trotted it out, it was Gordo who came up with it for him (when Tony was merely shadow Home Sec). That's the one. "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime". Hollow before and after the comma.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    @ NuLabour NuHormone AC

    Precisely why they never wanted women in Government in the first place.

    I'm all for equality bewteen the sexes, but the sort of women who strives for a posiution at the top is not interested in equality, she is interested in dominance and subjugating the male species into a subversive role below the dominant female.

  43. Martin

    I sometimes think....

    ...that the Have Your Say mob overflow onto this site whenever anything to do with the government or politics gets mentioned.

    "This is exactly the same Mail/Sun pandering excrement that got NuLabour elected ten years ago. It worked then but it won't work now because people have been able to compare the spin with the reality. Who was it that cozied up to the radical immigrant Imams who promptly set about indoctrinating impressionable young Muslims with such tragic consequences for Londoners?"

    Straight out of HYS - only better spelt.

  44. N


    Pack your bags Mr Brown, well soon see the back of your government & its complete bollox

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better words required and to be done

    how about "effective" and "consistent", so that things actually get done. Birching is "tough" but unless it stops boys scrumping apples, its hardly effective.

    If government was set up to be accredited to ISO9002, I don't think they'd make the first reassessment.

  46. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Slow Reader Day....

    Perhaps that could be a public holiday?

    Never mind. Just publish a story about Global Warming - guaranteed to bring out the nutters......

    I'll leave now...

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As in crustaceans? Shellfish - prawns, mussels and the like. They don't make me sickk. Politicians do. Explosively and expansively.

  48. RW

    @ Paul: What Roget's has to say about "tough"

    1936 edition:

    tough: coherent, tenacious, difficult

    1962 edition:

    tough: strong, violent creature, hard, tough, unsavoury, uncooked, difficult, thick-skinned, courageous, unkind, ruffian, pitiless.

    toughen: be tough, make insensitive

    toughness: obstinacy

    Class exercise: use each of those synonyms in a sentence also using "NuLabour", "Liam Byrne", "Gordon Brown", "Harriet Harman", "David Milband", and/or "Jacqui Smith". Antonyms and other parts of speech permitted.

    Example: That violent creature, Jacqui Smith, an unsavoury ruffian if ever there was one, obstinately made an insensititve and incoherent remark today.

    Example: NuLabour announced another half-baked policy today. (uncooked=half-baked)

  49. Pierre


    Brilliant, I've spotted this precise comment, like 10 times in various comment threads. I've tried to post it myself from time to time, but it never makes it through the moderation. How do you do that?

  50. John

    Getting tough on the right people

    Cabinet ministers are pretty clueless. Tony Benn revealed how a civil servant for whom he was responsible decided on behalf of the British people to supply Israel with the wherewithal for manufacturing WMD. Almost certainly the Home Office is infested with traitors who are flooding the country with third world immigrants in order to destroy our traditional culture. It matters not what policies ministers invoke when those charged with administration are committing sabotage.

  51. Gary

    Airstrip One Personnel

    Class exercise: use each of those synonyms in a sentence also using "NuLabour", "Liam Byrne", "Gordon Brown", "Harriet Harman", "David Milband", and/or "Jacqui Smith". Antonyms and other parts of speech permitted.

    Are Tossers! (OOOOps ere comes Echelon!!!!) Gary

  52. Adam White

    Definitely not Medieval

    It was common practice for everyone to carry knives in Ye Olde Days

  53. James Anderson
    Thumb Up


    If they really wanted to control illegals they would be tough on people who employ illegals.

    But oops they are pale skinned respectable entrepenuers whose innovative labour cost reductions benefit the economy as a whole

    and thay may even donate funds to the party.

    So we will leave them alone then. Instead we will just re-cycle an old script from the Professionals and call it policy.

    Perhaps the Sun could recycle thier old "For Gods Sake Go" headline?

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm surprised nobody has used the following yet:

    Tough - Hard to Swallow

    Sums up most of the legislation.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New (Labour) speak

    Tough on crime, tough on the causes of hard working illegal immigrant families who just want a better long term growth on their prudent, international terrorist NHS reform, and demand longer sentences for privatised biometric credit crunch education without resorting to inflationary, carbon emitting knife crime at Northern Rock.

    Clear enough?

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Tough on your mum, tough on the causes of your mum!

  57. Jimmy

    @ Martin

    Nice of you to acknowledge the accuracy of the spelling. What are you disputing about the accuracy of the facts contained in that paragraph?

    OK, maybe "pandering excrement" is a bit of a stretch, but we're all entitled to indulge in a little bit of poetic license.

  58. Edward

    Legally, you must obay the law.

    "The tough new approach will require all migrants to speak English and obey the law..."

    Best sentence this month. We're forcing immigrants to obay the law now? Whatever will this government come up with next...

  59. Anonymous Coward

    @Edward - There's more...

    "The tough new approach will require ALL migrants to speak English"*

    *Unless they are migrants from the EU in which case this does not apply

    Migrants from Britain's former colonies will however have to prove ability to speak English.

    Maybe it's time commonwealth countries made Britons take an English test when they turn up at the gate in return?

  60. n

    watch the stars...

    *Unless they are migrants from the EU in which case this does not apply. if you are one of the few hundred arriving in the uk fleeing an illegal war zone in your own country, ironically started by the uk, then you are not welcome.

    ..However a million people from the eu zone who can't read the sign on a machine which says in english "danger, don't put your hand in this part of the machine", are welcome?

    Tough headlines, brutal small print.

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