The gradual slide to totalitarianism

Anyone who can read this bill and not be concerned about a slide into a totalitarian state can't be reading the same bill.

(1) A Minister of the Crown may by order make provision for either or both of the following purposes—

   (a) reforming legislation;
   (b) implementing recommendations of any one or more of the United Kingdom Law Commissions, with or without changes.

(snip)

(3) An order under section 1 may for the purpose specified in subsection (1)(b) of that section also make—

   (a) provision amending or abolishing any rule of law;
   (b) provision codifying rules of law.

(snip)

6) Criminal penalties
   (1) Provision under section 2(1) may not create a new offence that is punishable, or increase the penalty for an existing offence so that it is punishable—
      (a) on indictment, with imprisonment for a term exceeding two years;

Assuming I have not read this wrongly it would, in a nutshell, allow ministers to repeal or create any new law they wished, without parliamentary oversight. It would enable them to create offenses at will (as long as the punishment did not exceed two years in prison).

This is outrageous, truly outrageous - and I'm amazed that it's not front page news. I only learned of this bill via pointers from friends.

There is some further discussion of this here

In a not unrelated story, there have been considerations of 'scrapping the 2007 local elections' because of plans to 'shake up local government'. (Funny, I thought that was what elections were for!)

In November last year, OwenBlog put this spoof together, it could have given Tony the idea!. At the time it was amusing, now it just seemed prescient.

Of course, they've been busily denying that it was ever considered.

The real issue that remains is the parliamentary bill to, possibly literally, end parliamentary bills.

What is really depressing is that this obscene power grab will probably just slide past the notice of most people. I do hope that the News Quiz have noticed it...

I feel a new series of pointed sabre rattling letters coming on.

See also: SpyBlog and qwghlm

Update, 10th Feb 2006: I passed some of the above links on to Melissa at BorisBlog. She has said that it's a 'Good one for Boris', and is printing everything out for his attention.

Update: 11th Feb 2006 See this later post on the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill