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Day One Is Over May 15, 2006

Posted by Julian Todd in Politics.

Unfortunately no one on this site can be on duty for Day Two, so there will be an open thread for anyone to post their comments, or link to another site that live blogs that 6 hour extravaganza tomorrow.

What have I learnt?

Quite a lot, really. There's something that doesn't quite work with Live Blogging a staged debate — it's difficult to add anything constructive to what a number of very eloquent and well-prepared people are saying. It's also over a very long time, and will all be available tomorrow on www.theyworkforyou.com where you are encouraged to go post any comments.

What I have tried to do here is similar to the commenting on that website, which has never really taken off either. In the long term, we need is to get the Bills themselves into a proper computerized system on which we can watch the changes, and narrate our feelings.

That is where it really happens.

The debate we — outside of Parliament — have had on the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, has far exceeded what was going on inside the House and especially the Standing Committee until now. Today we have seen Parliament change their schedule and hold a debate to catch up with our debate.

Never forget that. There is much much more to democracy than simply voting in general elections. We need to watch everything carefully at all times. We need to watch the laws they pass, the laws the try to pass, and every piece of regulatory change they think they can slip out at five o'clock on a Friday afternoon when everyone has gone home. Now we will need to watch the new channels for unchecked and unaccountable legislation that this Bill is set to open up.


1. Watching Them, Watching Us - May 15, 2006

Today’s debate did seem to confirm all my initial fears about the Bill and the worthless nature of the supposed concessions in the clauses debated today.

It also brought out a couple of other points which I had missed:e.g.

a) the totally pointless powers over taxation (decreases or abolitions of taxes are allowed,) which could easily be dealt with in the Budget and the annual Finance Bill ,

b) the proposal for extra-territorial worldwide scope of the Orders made under this Bill.

This Government or a future one can, if today’s clauses on Law Commission reports pass into law, amend any rule of Common Law, “with or without changes” from the Law Commsiion reports e.g. by cherry picking of some but not all of their recommendations.

Pat McFadden appears to be an exact clone of Jim Murphy as the junior Cabinet Office Minister in charge of agreeing with objections to the potential constitutional dangers of the enormous powers this Bill will grant the Executive, and then saying “trust us, we would never abuse such powers” or seek to use them for “controversial” measures, yet still refusing to state this promise explicitly in the text of the Bill.

Can tomorrow be any worse ?

2. Bishop Hill - May 16, 2006

More on virtual legislatures

Further to yesterday’s posting and the idea of a virtual legislature, the liveblogging by the Save Parliament Blog of the Legislative & Regulatory Reform Bill debate in parliament was pretty instructive.

3. Spy Blog - May 16, 2006

2nd day of the HoC Report Stage of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

If you thought that yesterday’s debates on controversial Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill were difficult to follow, then today’s list of Amendments is even more obscure. What is clear is that since all the Government Amendments were “programme…

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