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Should we be worried about this?

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posted on Feb, 16 2006 @ 07:58 AM
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Flicking through the Times yesterday I came accross the column by Daniel Finkelstein referring to a Parliamentary Bill which I hadn't heard of before, 'Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill'.

Finkelstein was (rightly in my view) alarmed by the contents of the bill which appear to give ministers the right to amend, repeal, or replace any legislation without a bill being passed through parliament, effectively bypassing it. Ministers will be able to issue 'orders' changing, amending or replacing legislation as long as it conforms to five conditions, the conformity being decided by the minister.

This to me seems very worrying on the surface and something that should be opposed.

Original Times article:

Finkelstein article


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”.


Text of the bill:

Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this, am I paranoid or does this leave us iopen to gross abuses of power?

mod edit: Changed to external quote tags



[edit on 16-2-2006 by UK Wizard]




posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 07:31 AM
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I'd take a long long look at what other reports are out there about this before I'd rely on the likes of Finkelstein and his 'newspaper's' opinions and slanted views Chris (his laughably idiotic 'nightmare' tale about the crazed power-mad - yet oddly retiring soon - PM at the beginning of the article ought to be warning enough
).

I must say I see this as typical of our press and their endless game of 'playing both ends against the middle' type tactics.

On the one hand there's the usual complaint about heavy regulation and time-consuming bureaucracy (especially with a Labour government) and then when an attempt is made to streamline the process every scare story and far-fetched extreme possibility is held up as if it would become the (fascist) norm.

The truth will turn out to be a lot less sensational or exciting and where safeguards are needed they will be applied.....and we know this because these are exactly the things MPs on the Commons Regulatory Reform Committee are talking about right now - not that Finkelstein makes much of that (nor the inevitable host of amendments the Bill will attract as it goes through both Houses of Parliament).

It is also unquestionably the case that Parliament will continue to exercise scrutiny over government activities and the likes of Danny Finkelstein and his pals will continue to try and sell papers by making inflated and wild claims about mere technical and procedural changes.

Once upon a time those 'on the right' here in the UK once believed and tried telling everyone that a Labour government would abolish elections, this is merely the latest expression of such ridiculous nonsense.


Ministers must not be allowed to abuse proposed laws aimed at cutting red tape, a Commons committee has said.
It wants extra safeguards drafted into the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, due to be debated on Thursday.

The bill aims to speed up the process by which redundant laws are changed and allows them to be amended on ministers' orders, without parliamentary scrutiny.......

The Commons Regulatory Reform Committee.....

.....is pressing for the power to monitor all laws amended by ministers, so it can veto any it decides need further parliamentary intervention.

The committee also wants certain laws protected from the changes.

Andrew Miller, Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, said: "This bill must be scrutinised with particular care.

"Our report recognises that there is widespread support for removing redundant regulation and costly red tape.

"But the problem many people will have with part one of this bill, as drafted, is that it provides ministers with a wide and general power that could be used to repeal amend or replace almost any primary legislation.

news.bbc.co.uk...


[edit on 17-2-2006 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 02:39 AM
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Sorry for the late reply, sminkey (have only got broadband at work at present).

When I first read this I thought he was overdoing it a bit but the next day, six professors from the faculty of law at cambridge university wrote their views on this and their conclusions were shocking.

One example they gave was the recent legislation concerning the glorification of terrorism. Under this bill, that would have been passed into law without a parliamentary vote through a ministerial order.

Here's part of what they had to say:


The Bill subjects this drastic power to limits, but these are few and weak. If enacted as it stands, we believe the Bill would make it possible for the Government, by delegated legislation, to do (inter alia) the following:

# create a new offence of incitement to religious hatred, punishable with two years’ imprisonment;

# curtail or abolish jury trial;

# permit the Home Secretary to place citizens under house arrest;

# allow the Prime Minister to sack judges;

# rewrite the law on nationality and immigration;

# “reform” Magna Carta (or what remains of it).

It would, in short, create a major shift of power within the state, which in other countries would require an amendment to the constitution; and one in which the winner would be the executive, and the loser Parliament.


Full text:

Cambridge Uni professors

I don't trust the press much at the best of times but hearing this from some of the most learned law scholars in the land made me sit up and take notice.

At best it looks like a poor piece of legislation, at worst it looks like a power grab by the executive.



posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 03:16 AM
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No worries and once again interesting stuff there Chris.

I think the key phrase is "If enacted as it stands".

This is exactly what is supposed to happen; the proposed law has not completed it's journey through the Parliamentary process and that process is intended to be informed by precisely such criticism.

If nothing were changed or amended then Finkelstein might have a point but (as you have just indicated and as my link showed) he is hardly the only one to have spotted the potential for this to go far beyond the original intent.

I expect the committee stage to be the venue where this gets brought out further and tackled and that by 3rd reading (or maybe during it's time in the HOL) the grounds for such worries to have been removed.

We shall see........



posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 10:51 AM
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Parliament does what it was always going to do -


Blair backs down over regulatory reform bill
By Jean Eaglesham,Chief Political Correspondent
Published: April 13 2006 03:00 | Last updated: April 13 2006 03:00

Sweeping ministerial powers in a proposed bill designed to cut red tape are to be curtailed following a row over their constitutionality, the minister responsible said yesterday.

Jim Murphy, the cabinet office minister, said the government would back down from the highly contentious plans to cut the bureaucracy burden on business and amend the proposed law, which has been dubbed a shortcut to dictatorship.


Link
- Reports that this was the harbinger of a fascist Britain have been grossly exaggerated, right?

mod edit: Reducing link to correct page width

Please use this in future to cut down the length of your link, as long url's can alter the width of the page.
Or alternatively you can use: (url=www.urlhere.com)link name here(/url) - changing the () into []



[edit on 20-4-2006 by UK Wizard]



posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 05:27 AM
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Firstly Chris McGee excellent post, secondly you shouldn’t be reading the Times as its a Murdoch paper and Murdoch is the same guy who owns Fox and Sky News, along with the Daily Star News of the World and Sun and about 172 newspapers globally.

That said I’m a total hypocrite because I was reading this in the Sun (it’s only because its free at work and i was extremely bored) (honest).
Yes sminkeypinky the legislation has been waterd down but guess what: Last I heard it was only parliamentary review panel who would be safeguarding it. Ok so a few more power hungry MP's get to safeguard democracy without putting it to greater parliamentary vote. That's just great!!!
I wonder when Tony Blair and his friend Ian Blair will have them locked for 90 days without charge, trial or discharge? (All in the interests of national security; and eliminating bureaucracy of course).

Also sminkeypinkey if you think parliament "does what it was always going to do" you may be right but it does raise questions about us all being here and the already stale state of democracy don't you think?

Here’s some interesting commentary on the bill www.schnews.org.uk...
(Also apparently of 6000 crimes on the statue book a 1000 were created by New Labour).

Apparently it will make it easier to convert European Law into U.K law
www.epolitix.com...

This one has to be the best and easiest to understand
www.saveparliament.org.uk...

Also Sminkeypinkey I found this politics.guardian.co.uk... Guardian bill about Blair backing down as your Financial Times one was incomplete to non-subscribers. But apart from what I read in the Sun I can’t find anymore details about HOW they have backed down. Can you?

England is on the road to dictatorship we need a constitution and a new Bill of rights. We need legislation protective of freedom that cannot be undone by parliament without also a popular referendum. Democracy is under a sustained attack and each time they get braver they take a little more of our freedom with legislation that gets a little bit creepier



posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 06:45 AM
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Originally posted by Liberal1984
guess what: Last I heard it was only parliamentary review panel who would be safeguarding it. Ok so a few more power hungry MP's get to safeguard democracy without putting it to greater parliamentary vote. That's just great!!!


- Well not quite, although that situation is hardly new.
Of course our MP's play a large role in 'safeguarding democracy'.

But in any event British democracy and law is not just the preserve of Parliament (or those MP's who you imagine to be horrible power-hungry types.
Actually in my own experience they tend to be - with rare exceptions - rather ordinary and decent people - usually a bit 'plummy' - trying to do an almost impossible job).
The British judiciary also acts to adjudicate on whether laws are 'illegal' and our law now incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights (a huge expansion in the freedoms and rights we now have).


I wonder when Tony Blair and his friend Ian Blair will have them locked for 90 days without charge, trial or discharge? (All in the interests of national security; and eliminating bureaucracy of course).


- No.
The proposal was put before Parliament and Parliament refused 90 days.

It didn't happen.

28 days did (which although new to the rest of the UK is no different to how things have been in Northern Ireland for some time).


Also sminkeypinkey if you think parliament "does what it was always going to do" you may be right but it does raise questions about us all being here and the already stale state of democracy don't you think?


- I disagree because each circumstance in which 'Parliament does what it does' is unique and not just a repeat of a previous event or proposal.

Parliament is not actually the government's or anybody else's 'toy' that some seem to imagine it to be (and certainly not now that the government's majority has reduced from 160+ to approx 70).


Also Sminkeypinkey I found this politics.guardian.co.uk... Guardian bill about Blair backing down as your Financial Times one was incomplete to non-subscribers. But apart from what I read in the Sun I can’t find anymore details about HOW they have backed down. Can you?


- There's more here www.politics.co.uk...$17094516.htm

and here www.timesonline.co.uk...

you'll also find it referred to in the Parliamentary site if you wish to look there.


England is on the road to dictatorship


- I profoundly disagree with this claim.

With the incorporation of the ECHR the freedoms and rights of the 'ordinary man' have never been greater in the UK.


we need a constitution and a new Bill of rights.


- ....and I think this is an issue with so many pro's and con's on each side to it that we should think very very carefully before leaping to such a conclusion.

It's being discussed here politics.abovetopsecret.com...


We need legislation protective of freedom that cannot be undone by parliament without also a popular referendum.


- I don't think 1930's Germany should give anyone too much 'comfort' in the power of referendum to protect our liberties and rights.


Democracy is under a sustained attack and each time they get braver they take a little more of our freedom with legislation that gets a little bit creepier


- Well I suppose we are all entitled to our view, still.



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 08:49 PM
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The government has now made the following steps towards a weaker democracy...

1. I.D cards
2. This proposed Bill
3. It's new ability to imprison anyone for 48 days without trial or charge. And of course they are still not happy. And i'm sure if they hang out for it some future government will get the full 90 day detention period. This period is one quarter of a year. If you wanted to eliminate the opposition literally then useing these bills should come naturally.

You know sometimes i wonder: "What other steps towards weakening British Democracy would a New Labour government be taking?"
And then i think "Tories, Labour" have much the same corruption issues.

But I won't panic (so long as they don't get my DNA or eye scan". So why did they pass that I.D card bill which is to demand these things from me? (that is of course if I am to leave this country with a government approved passport).
And don't tell me it was terrorism. No terrorist has ever hold my right to leave this country hostage. But our government will. Why?

They have also done other things like brake the will of the BBC. Remember that chief director lost his job because he had enabled a reporter to accuse the government of "sexing up the war in Iraq".
Like they did such a thing!!! "WMD's will be found, Iraq is not in a state of civil war, staying there has made things more peaceful. Staying there longer will make things peacefuller still."
This to me is a great example of sexing up the Iraq trouble.

What's "amazing" is that the government was cleared of sexing up the war in Iraq by a government inquiry. So if we are still to believe government inquiries all of the above propaganda must be true. But is it really shocking the press made so much of these inquiries?

Other propaganda also exists...
"Of course Iraq has nothing to do with Iran. Why would Iran feel scared of getting rid of its nukes after what we did to Saddam? Why would this country feel more confident if the democratically elected reps of Iraq are its natural allies?
Why would Iran feel confident if we were tied down in Iraq? And could addiction to oil be a bad thing? Does ether climate change or even the greenhouse effect exist?"

The bible talks of an anti Christ. I'm sceptical but should a thing ever exist I wonder what its character would be like in comparison to the collective of our government's? I’ve wondered "why oh why do leaders of men have to be bad guys so much of mankind’s time?" But I think I know the answer. Good people walk away from evil; this leaves people of a wicked character to concentrate together.



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