Gawd help us for we have sinned - John Reid is in the Home Office and he is the Chosen One to replace Blair. Now, the political events of the past few weeks start to make more sense. Blair, his closest allies, and his friends within the security agencies have done all they can to reduce Gordon Brown's, and to increase John Reid's, chances of becoming the next PM. They maybe believed Reid needed to hold an office of state (home, foreign or treasury) to compete, in a leadership election, with the gravitas Brown has gained though being Chancellor. Hence the press campaign against Charles Clarke. At the time I didn't write about Clarke because there was no great substance to the allegations in the press, and I found the Prescott affair far more revealing. Now, it appears plain that there was an orchestrated media campaign against Clarke, so that he could be removed from the Home Office to allow Reid to be as best positioned as possible to assume the leadership. And MI5 pulled the carpet from under Prescott in time for the reshuffle, for him to have his department taken from him and to be politically emasculated. (See here and here for my speculations on Prescott, MI5 and Tracey Temple). And Jack Straw - like, before him, Cook, Blunkett, and Prescott - had let himself be seen as a bridge between the current government and a future Brown premiership, so he's been demoted and will now have less weight to throw behind Brown.
I fear somewhat for Gordon Brown. He and his supporters believe he should inherit the prize by right, and perhaps they're right. But it appears he has powerful enemies, who might stop at almost nothing to prevent him from becoming leader and to install their own candidate instead. If Brown were prudent, he might retire from active politics now, while the going was still good.
will may write at a later date on the surreality of having John Reid in charge of law and order.