Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill - Latest Roundup

Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Here's the latest roundup of articles talking about this dangerous bill.

If you don't know what the Legislative and Regulatory Reform bill is, please don't glaze over with the dullness of the title, it really is important. You can read all about it in these previous articles.

In short, it's known by it's opponents as the 'Abolition of Parliament' bill - and that's the mildest form.

Onto the roundup...

Tanngrísnir has noticed the article in The Times from the 21st Feb entitled 'Who wants the Abolition of Parliament Bill? Tanngrísnir says:

This, even from the government of one such as His Holiness, is so outrageous I am almost speechless

Also linking to the Times Article on the 21st Feb, Iain Coleman points out the virtues of his MP, David Howarth (Lib Dem) in trying to (finally) get this bill some publicity. Discourse.net also comments.

Posters to James Nicoll's LiveJournal (which again linked to the Times) pointed out the shameful response of Geoff Hoon to David Howarth's question, which I alluded to the other day.

Someone who glories in the name of 'Big Bubbles' comments on the Observer piece, and draws a comparison with the past of the bill's main proponent, Jim Murphy.

The Observer piece is worth a read:

The Prime Minister claims to be defending liberty but a barely noticed Bill will rip the heart out of parliamentary democracy.... Like all Labour's anti-libertarian bills, it appears in relatively innocuous guise. The bill was presented last year as a way of improving a previous Labour act and is purportedly designed to remove some of the burden of regulation that weighs on British business and costs billions of pounds every year.

RINF also quotes the Henry Porter article from the Observer. This piece is all over the place, right.blog.co.uk has it too

Back over on LiveJournal, taking their lead from Schnews, Saintpap talks about people who say 'they're not interested in politics' and why this bill is something they should be interested in:

Let's take the humorous approach to start with. If a Minister decides that the wearing of lime-green trousers should be illegal, he or she can make this happen in a heartbeat. No-one will have to vote. No debate will be held. It will just become law.

Let's now take the historical approach. Similar legislation was introduced to Germany in the form of Hitler's Enabling Act, the wholesale mutation of traditional values that allowed the Nazi Party to seize control of Germany and suppress dissidents.

Neither historical or humorous approach uphold the principles of democracy, and taken into historical context, seem to uphold the basic values of tyranny. Consider :-

The text of The Bill of Rights (UK), 1689
  • reaction to the reign of King James II, another ruler of the UK that assumed he could circumvent Parliament
  • It says that "That the pretended power of suspending of laws, or the execution of laws, by regal authority, without consent of parliament, is illegal."

If we'd sussed all of this out, three hundred and seventeen years ago, why can't we suss it out now? "Not interested in politics"? You really should be.

There is a copy of a Schnews article on rights.blog.co.uk

Meanwhile Fdelondras takes an Irish view of the bill

Still on Livejournal, Miramon writes:

The UK government is currently trying to pass the so-called 'Abolition of Parliament Bill' (actually the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill) as a response to their recent defeats in the Commons. This bill removes any meaning from the Parliamentary scrutiny function and allows every minister to retroactively rewrite the contents of any bill in any way they wish, without having to consult Parliament or subject themselves to a vote.

Spy.org.uk comments that the Tessa Jowell affair is hiding more important issues, this is something I mentioned yesterday

Back to Livejournal, Mishalak notes the synchronicity between this bill and the film, V for Vendetta, which is set in a near-future United Kingdom, which has become an totalitarian regime. Something which Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill sadly makes possible.

On The Sideshow the comments are quite inciteful for this topic:

It is as if the democracies are tired.

Nouslife begins like this:

A note to UK readers, please lobby your MP on this especially if they are Labour. Why am I so agitatedly anxious? Well, it appears that in order to speed up legislative process, our government is about to try to enact a law that would pass significant powers to the executive from parliament, to amend or make law on the hoof, without real redress by elected process. In fact the kind of thing that Nazism did in 1930's Germany.

I'm in wholehearted agreement, if one reads the bill and considers the behaviour it permits (regardless of what one believes is the intent of the current incumbents) the fears do not overstating the issue.

the Act would make it possible to

  • cast aside the five-year limit on a parliamentary term allowing the Prime Minister to remain in Downing Street for as long as he wanted. Mr Clarke, chairman of the Conservatives' Democracy Taskforce, said the law would sideline democracy and debate on an 'astonishing scale'.
  • Under the 1911 Parliament Act, the Government must call a General Election within five years of winning office. But the little-publicised Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill would give Tony Blair and his ministers the power to change any law without scrutiny or approval by Parliament. Ministers would be able to change divorce laws, introduce house arrest, curtail or abolish jury trial and give police powers to detain individuals, with no vote or discussion by the House of Commons.

Being flippant for a second, could this be what 'Tony' means when he says he'll serve a full term?

I would like to stress that even if there is no intent to use the bill for these purposes, such a bill is a dangerous instrument to have on the statute books.

Chicken Yoghurt, says this:

But this is to forget the law of unintended consequences and as I said the other day, when your thirst for efficiency, or for at least the facade of efficiency, produces the same outcome as if you'd set out to be a bastard, you can't really be too sore, in my opinion, if people start refusing to make the distinction. "I didn't mean to hurt you," often doesn't impress those on the receiving end. It's a trust thing

Note to self, let chicken yoghurt know that their CSS is doing weird things in the standards compliant Firefox

Once More has a list of questions which could be asked when writing letters (though I would encourage people not to cut and paste questions, it's better to put things your own way

The Liberal Democrat Spokesman, David Heath, said on the floor of the House:

"Part 1 of the Bill does much more than even Henry VIII dreamed of. It gives Ministers the power to make law, alter law, repeal law, invent law, without effective parliamentary scrutiny.

"It allows our basic constitutional safeguards to be removed by Order in Council: electoral law, Habeas Corpus, jury trial, the Act of Union.

"We will not throw away centuries of parliamentary democracy. We will not throw away the traditions and safeguards of common law.

"Tony Blair sees a tension between modernisation and human rights. I say a truly modern Britain would strengthen and enshrine human rights, not undermine them."

I urge you to write to your MP, especially if they're Labour, and to write to various Lords

Concern about this Law has reached the USA, an article has appeared in The Jurist a law review edited in Pittsburgh