Reid's as hard as jelly, or he'd challenge Brown to a scrap Come on then, Reid, you big girl's blouse. Come on and show us what you've got. Get out of that BBC studio and do something really brave, for a change. I don't know about you, but I am getting a bit fed up of hearing the Home Secretary telling us how tough he is. According to his own propaganda, Dr John Reid is the kind of guy who would knock you down for looking at his girl the wrong way in the pub. He acts like a man with "love" tattooed on a bicep and a steel plate in his head, and a pitbull that runs up and sniffs you very meaningfully indeed. I imagine that when people meet him after closing time on a pavement in Glasgee, they look at his working jaw and his mad ice-blue eyes, and they think yikes. And that is what they are supposed to think. In a Labour Party increasingly dominated by superannuated lecturers and wonks and Milibands, Reid still exudes something of the smell of spilt beer. He sounds tough, acts tough, looks tough. But as to whether he really is tough, my friends, I am afraid he makes overcooked tagliatelle look positively rigid. Every day we hear of some new ferocious Reid-inspired "crackdown". He's not just going to fine noisy neighbours; he's not just going to give them Asbos. Tough-guy Reid is going to kick them out of their homes! Tremendous, eh, says everyone who suffers from a noisy neighbour - until they realise that any such action would be immediately overturned in the courts as a breach of the culprit's right to a "family life". OK, snarls Reid, well we're going to crack down on all these immigrants, you watch us. We're gonna have quotas for the Romanians and the Bulgarians. Except that even the most rabid Sun reader knows that under basic EU law Mr Reid cannot stop Romanians and Bulgarians from coming here, and that the Government has admitted that it has not the faintest idea how many illegals there are already, and no one has yet explained what on earth these new border police will do, no matter how smart their uniforms, that should not be done already by the existing border force. Hmmm, sniffs Reid, and he snuffles around for something else to get his attack-dog teeth into. Well, what about Muslim terrorists? he yelps. We're going to kick them out. We're going to lock them up without trial - and never mind the protests from all those sissy lawyers. Well, it is true that 15 terrorist suspects have been detained without trial under the new Control Orders; but you get the feeling the Government can't care that much about the problem, because two of them have simply vanished back into the undergrowth, and when Mr Reid was invited to share their names with the public - or even a rough description of what they looked like, so we could protect ourselves from these monsters - tough-guy Reid said he was very sorry but that would be a violation of their human rights. The reality is that Mr Reid cares much less about action than the appearance of action. That is why we are subjected to this endless barrage of initiatives and this constant droning about the menace to our society. The purpose of all this new legislation is not to make it easier to combat the threat of terrorism, because the statute book already bristles with laws enabling the police to tap, bug, investigate, detain and do just about anything they please. All these wearisomely authoritarian initiatives - they are nothing to do with solving the problems in hand, and everything to do with politics. The objective is to frame a Bill which any sensible opposition would be bound to resist, at least in part - and then for tough-guy Reid to go on the telly and fix the public with his ex-commie stare, and accuse the Tories of failing to give him the powers he needs. You would have thought that if Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller is right, and there are 30 deadly conspiracies already known to the security forces, that the obvious thing would be to round up the suspects, charge them and put them on trial. But oh no: rather than more arrests, Mr Reid would far rather have more laws, and laws give an opportunity for political point-scoring. Yesterday the Queen announced that the Government will press ahead with ID cards, on the grounds that they would help in the war on terror. But ID cards would have made not the faintest difference to the July 7 bombings, and an ID card would certainly not have saved poor Jean Charles de Menezes from being shot, not least since he was Brazilian and therefore not entitled to one. What's the point of this plastic poll tax, this invitation to forgery, this new burden and irritation for millions of innocent and law-abiding citizens? The point is that the Tories will oppose it, and Reid will be able to prance about, champing his jaw, and claiming that he is therefore the toughest guy in town. And one cannot help feeling, by the way, that half Blair's purpose in this new raft of Home Office laws is to push Mr Reid to the centre of our national stage, so that he is well placed to take on Gordon Brown. Well, here is how John Reid could prove that he was really tough. Here is the bravest thing he could possibly say. He should say that the real problem in our society, and the reason we have so many disaffected and alienated Muslim youths, is that for a generation he and people like him supported the disastrous multicultural agenda. The reason that 40 per cent of British Muslims would like some form of Sharia law in this country is that the Left has traditionally deprecated British institutions and even the teaching of English. A truly brave John Reid would now publicly grovel to Ray Honeyford, the Bradford head who called for teaching in English and who was vilified and persecuted by the Left. And if he was really tough, Reid would stop pussyfooting and go public. Come on, you great quivering jelly of indecision. Come on if you think you're hard enough. Come out in public and announce your challenge to Gordon.