So who needs Parliament now?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Grownup_Rafbrat, Feb 27, 2009.

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  1. Grownup_Rafbrat

    Grownup_Rafbrat LE Book Reviewer Good Egg (charities)

    Ministers, it seems, are restoring their rejected bid to be able to amend legislation without parliamentary scrutiny.

    Why is this not all over the headlines, rather than Jade's Cancer or Fred's millions?

    And what exactly were my relatives fighting for in the first half of the twentieth century?

    It's like Whack A Mole. Tirelessly the creature pops up, and sometimes we're quick enough to knock it on the head. The very next minute it pops up again.

    The Regulatory Reform Bill was to give powers to ministers so they could change primary legislation without parliamentary scrutiny. There was an outcry. The Bill was dropped.

    But it has popped up again in the Coroners and Justice Bill. Among the proposals is the power of any minister to instruct any person for any purpose to share any information with anyone. And in the absence of any clear specifications, people may be sent to jail for two years for "committing a crime as yet undefined", as Edward Garnier put it.

    It's all with the best of intentions, of course – to protect the vulnerable and make public services more efficient. Data sharing is data caring.

    The Government's most common way of data sharing is leaving 25 million of our records in the car park while they slip in for a pint. But this Bill seeks to go further. It's offering ministers the power to make data sharing orders by fiat. It also gives them the power "to modify any enactment" in pursuit of any policy they happen to make up. It could amend the Data Protection Act by saying data shouldn't be protected. It could amend the Human Rights Act.

    The minister now accepts the clause is, um, "wider than it was intended to be" – but will she remove it from the Bill? Maybe later. The real offence remains.

    Any list will be available to any minister. Store cards, internet subscribers to Girls Boarding School, the RSPCA, Friends of the Earth who've logged on to GM crop websites... Everything. Everyone. And the licence to sell the information on. Anywhere.

    And it's not just the sharing of information. It's the use of data for purposes other than that for which it was collected.

    Yes, but its national security so shut up. Terrorists are moving very fast, you know. George Howarth, from the intelligence committee, told us.

    They're moving so fast they've gone back to pen and ink – undetectable by data-mining techniques. Take comfort then, we have a great source of terrorist disruption in the second class mail.

    To call these "Henry VIII powers" is a calumny – David Howarth said – "on Henry VIII." It's true. Henry never had powers like these.
  2. It's not like they don't have 'previous' for this is it? Just keep re-presenting until the desired effect is achieved.

    This bunch wouldn't understand democracy if it flew through their windows and blew up...
  3. Grownup_Rafbrat

    Grownup_Rafbrat LE Book Reviewer Good Egg (charities)

    But why isn't anyone publicising it? Screaming from the rooftops that it's a BAD THING?

    Even the MPs must realise that once this has gone through they will be redundant as the country can by run by the PM and a small coterie of his friends - a junta, perhaps.
  4. How far one wonders before Britain becomes a fully fledged communist totalitarian state?.
  5. Well, if the the law can just be altered by diktat then it will leave much more time to take up advisor jobs and long(er) lunches. I really don't see a problem, it's obviously for our own good, or the Gubmint wouldn't want the legislation.

    Will no one think of the children?
  6. Er, no it wasn't.

    Section 1 on the 'Power to remove or reduce burdens' gives them pretty much everything they wanted.