Declaring War: Parliaments powers

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Stonker, May 13, 2007.

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  1. One-Eyed-Gordo says he's going to make Parliament responsible for declaring war - a reduction of the PM's authority.

    [align=center]Question: [/align]

    What difference would that have made in 2003? Would pro-war Lib-Dems and Tories have been less enthusiastic, knowing they might be held up to scrutiny?

    Or would we be in the same pile of crap, but with Teflon Tone better-placed to dodge the blame?
    [align=center] :? [/align]
  2. This is an attempt at smoke-and-mirrors obfuscation, that changes nothing in the least.

    Brown may have in mind the Bank of England's "devolved" powers re interest rates; but this is in no way a parallel case.

    No parliament could vote to take the country to war without the active - indeed, leading - support of the incumbent Prime Minister.

    Similarly, no PM could take us to war without the majority backing (perhaps subsequent) of Parliament.

    Going to war is an executive action that must be countenanced and upheld by the legislature. Nothing short of a revolution changes that.
  3. I would concur on two points. Firstly, the decision to deploy the Armed Forces is an executive decision within the Royal Prerogative. The second point I would agree upon is that it is very much a 'smoke and mirrors' announcement entirely consistent with .New Labour's' antecedents of deceit.

    The proposal has nothing to do with Gordon Brown. It is, in fact, a Private Members Bill introduced by Michael Meacher in January of this year as the Waging War (Parliamentary Role and Responsibility) Bill which was to have have been read a second time on Friday 2 February. Since it is the Government who determine the Parliamentary timetable, it must be assumed that the Bill was torpedoed by it.

    Insofar as the impression is created by the announcement that the heir apparent to the Throne of England is concerned to display his overwhelming desire to subject the executive to greater accountability to Parliament, you may make what you will of his announcement.

    The Bill itself is defective insofar as it is qualified by the executive's ability to deploy in an emergency prior to ratification by Parliament. Once deployed however, the political reality of the decision would mean that the Government's decision to do so would be very unlikely to meet any serious Parliamentary opposition. No MP will risk the accusation that he is either unpatriotic, unssuportive or that he is seeking to undermine British interests or endanger British lives by seeking to impeach the executive's decision to deploy. Parliament will, in reality become simply a rubber-stamp to provide the fig-leaf of legitimacy to whatever action, legal or otherwise, in respect of any arbitrary decision taken by the executive.

    Thus, the Bill, as it stands is a paradigm example of 'white ant' legislation so beloved by professional legislators in this country. The white ant devours wood from the inside-out, and any weight placed upon a table or chair so affected results in the outwardly pristine-looking object, collapsing into a cloud of dust.

    Soldiers and politicians share one common factor - both deploy smoke for tactical advantage!
  4. tgarden

    tgarden RIP

    The House of Lords Constitution Committee produced a very full report on the case for and against parliamentary responsibility. It is available here.

    There was a debate in the Lords on 1 May 2007 in which FM Lord Bramall supported the move and MRAF Lord Craig of Radley opposed it. The Hansard report is here.
  5. VMT for that link.

    Having read which, I remain to be persuaded that this Bill will make any real change. Taking the UK to war will still require the active consent of both the government of the day and its PM, and the majority of the legislature.

    Which has been the case for many generations . . . .

    Plus ca change etc.
  6. You are presumambly able to support this contention with some tangible authority?
  7. With the authority of history and precedent.

    When - in recent times - has the UK gone to war without those two consents?
  8. To which particular period of history and to which particular precedent do you refer?
  9. Any and all you like, since - say - the Suez Crisis.
  10. Nothing would ever get done when needed. It would be rule by committee, and just like the UN, the military option would never come about due to the nature of rule by committee. It might make politicians think twice if they were directly responsible for the lives of those soldiers, but then again, it would only end up with extreme caution being the watch-word, and that would destroy any kind of decisiveness left in the government.
  11. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    Let's face it. It is indeed smoke and mirrors. The Cons were all for this war and continue to support it.

    Labliar know that generally speaking, the Cons like a good war and will support Labliar when they find one, and every incumbent PM must have at least one otherwise the votes just dry up. Bliar was just grandstanding by having more than his fair share.

    I guarantee to you that Broon (if he stays long enough, which I doubt) will be looking for a 'Legacy War' of his very own.

  12. Eden's 1956 decision to deploy OP MUSKATEER was taken by collective Cabinet decision without prior Parliamentary approval. When Eden did subsequently, address the House, he lied to it!
  13. Many decisions to deploy for war are taken in Cabinet/by the govt., and ratified subsequently by Parliament.

    And I did suggest "since Suez" as meaning "subsequent to Suez".

  14. I would not disagree with that at all!

    A recent debate in the Lords recorded in Hansard puts the combined financial cost of of both TELIC and HERRICK as One Hundred Million Pounds a month! A staggeringly enormous sum of taxpayers money. Little wonder therefore that the Treasury is engaged in ever new and imaginative ways of generating compensating income streams through indirect taxation!

  15. Your contention was:

    I have demonstrated, as indeed have the Parliamentary Committee, that the deployment of troops to war requires no such thing and you have been unable to either support your contention with authority nor controvert mine. If it were otherwise, there would be no requirement for an individual member of Parliament who, with the support of his back-bench colleagues would feel it necessary to introduce a Bill before Parliament in the first place!