Data Day Plus One
Prime Minister's Questions was bound to be a tense affair today. Labour MPs will have been concerned to see how Gordon Brown defended what must seem like the indefensible, while the Tories will have been anticipating more blood on the floor. Over the past few weeks, Cameron has been forcing the big clunking fist all round the ring. He was on form again this afternoon, particularly when Brown rather lamely took refuge in an old statement of Cameron's from the last election, but actually the Tory leader didn't really land a killer punch. Perhaps he didn't need to today. This story has a momentum of its own after all.
Brown, meanwhile, sought refuge in a plethora of reviews that reminded one of nothing so much as Neville Chamberlain offering defence pacts to all and sundry after the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain's defence pacts didn't help Europe then; Brown's reviews may be too late to stem the 'systemic failure' that many are identifying in the government's whole approach to data collection.
George Osborne has lost no time in claiming the death of the ID card scheme, which he was doing loud and clear on the morning news programmes. Meanwhile, although attention on the actual details of the incident has been muted, the question is now being asked (for example by blogger Iain Dale) whether an official with access to all the child benefit details can really have been so junior?