Clearly he is repudiating the outcomes produced by his department in recent years. These may be the effects, he is saying, but this is not (should not be) its purpose. A clear challenge to POSIWID.
Michael Howard, who was Home Secretary in the last Conservative government reframes the POSIWID argument, interpreting the current state of the Home Office as the effect of nine years of Labour government. "I believe the Home Office was fit for purpose when I left it in 1997," he tells the BBC.
But this begs the question: does the purpose remain the same, regardless of the political colour of the Government of the day? Does each governing party impose its own purposes and policies on each government department, or does the government department indoctrinate each incoming minister with its own closed identity? As I posted in a comment to the IntoTheMachine blog
"Even apparently reasonable politicians seem to undergo some kind of transformation when they enter Queen Anne's Gate for the first time."Note: Queen Anne's Gate was the main location of the Home Office until 2004.
[Update] Robin Wilton draws my attention to a statement [BBC News] by one of the five "dysfunctional individuals" that the Home Office has had to deal with in the last ten years. According to Mr Straw, the purpose of the Home Office is social control.
That's not quite what it says on the Home Office website, which talks about "building a safe, just and tolerant society". So which version shall we believe?
[July 2009] Jacqui Smith (in conversation with Iain Dale) "When I became Home Secretary, I'd never run a major organisation." [Total Politics]