Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Democracy in Europe Marches on

This report from the Heartland of European Democracy shows the EU's continued commitment to a culture of democracy.

Only one thing persuades me that I’m not cracking up. When I have my nightmares about the Bill to End All Bills, I am not dreaming about dastardly legislation that I fear a cartoon Tony Blair, with an evil cackle, will introduce in some terrible future. I am tossing and turning about a government Bill that was given its second reading in the House of Commons last week and is heading into committee.

Now I know what I am about to tell you is difficult to believe (Why isn’t this on the front pages? Where’s the big political row?) but I promise you that it is true. The extraordinary Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, currently before the House, gives ministers power to amend, repeal or replace any legislation simply by making an order and without having to bring a Bill before Parliament. The House of Lords Constitution Committee says the Bill is “of first-class constitutional significance” and fears that it could “markedly alter the respective and long standing roles of minister and Parliament in the legislative process”.

There are a few restrictions — orders can’t be used to introduce new taxes, for instance — but most of the limitations on their use are fuzzy and subjective. One of the “safeguards” in the Bill is that an order can impose a burden only “proportionate to the benefit expected to be gained”. And who gets to judge whether it is proportionate? Why, the minister of course. The early signs are not good. Having undertaken initially not to use orders for controversial laws, the Government has already started talking about abstaining from their use when the matter at hand is “highly” controversial.

Rule by decree creeping in a returning to the UK. If the Parliament passes this I wonder if HRH might pull out the Royal Veto which she still has under the British constitution (I may be wrong)

I hope this doesn't pass. And I hope this abortion of a legislative action leads to the sacking of the Blair government.... but there is some more

What does this argument, used often by the minister during last week’s debate, amount to? An admission that we are now passing so many new laws, so quickly, and so many of them are sloppy, that we don’t have time to debate them properly or reform them when they go wrong. Parliament is drowning in a sea of legislation. Instead of calling a halt to this, the Government is seeking a way of moving ever faster, adding yet more laws, this time with even less debate.

This is the mentality you get when government just keeps growing like a fat pig

fight for Democracy brits

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