Saturday, February 18, 2006

If you believe in it, debate it...

''The (deliberately?) unsnappily-titled Legislative & Regulatory Reform Bill aims to make it quicker and easier to...''

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).

Yes, kids, it will become possible for your trusty Government to do all this, by quick-sticks ministerial order, without any of those boring old debates in Parliament with the snoresville-merchants-elected representatives of the people asking tiresome time-wasting questions. No more of that yawnsome yakking on blah-blah- Right-Honourable-friend-blah-yada-yada-order-order stuff. Bish bosh, modern, funky, streamlined thinking, that's what we're all about. Sorted! Wah-hey!

oh, but, hang on...

Sshhh... stop moaning there at the back!
It's only a little tiny bill. Don't worry your pretty little heads about it.
Let us decide what is best for you all..without all that bothersome Parliament palarver

Meanwhile 6 Cambridge Law Professors write... about what the Government are up to...

( 2 of the Professors are knights of the realm, 3 of them are Q.Cs, by the way)

'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.

David Howarth, MP for Cambridge, made this point at the Second Reading of the Bill last week. We hope that other MPs, on all sides of the House, will recognise the dangers of what is being proposed before it is too late. '

Hmmm, Marcel Berlin... muses in the Guardian

' it seriously being suggested that it will really use such methods to pass laws it doesn't feel like putting to Parliament? On the whole, no - and yet, in our current overcharged political climate, it is not too fanciful to imagine the government using every procedural trick to impose laws on the quiet, rather than face a parliamentary storm.
What bothers me most is that the government wants these powers in the first place. They are constitutionally dangerous, giving to the executive what should be a function of the legislature.

And they are unnecessary.'

Hat-tip, Talkpolitics, Justin, of Chicken Yoghurt fame, MatGB ( who has some ideas for you) and Charlie Whittaker from

I.D cards. Glorification of Terrorism. Now this.
What next?

This Government doesn't listen to ordinary people's protesting voices, they won't let protesting voices within a mile of the Houses of Parliament, now they want the option of not even listening to protesting voices in Parliamentary debate! And this is from fellow M.Ps, not the bothersome rabble of voters!

FFS. Why not abolish elections? In fact, why not just get a throne and a crown and a court and announce that you now rule by divine right? I can hear it now...

'Because, y'know, trust me, it's just...better...and safer... and more free... for all of you hard-working families to have things that way.'


Anonymous johnny void said...

this might interest u

they say a week is a long time in politics. Well this last week has been.

I'm left with an abstract feeling of dread, not overpowering, but very much there. Things I've always taken for granted are set to change forever, and I don't know what the future holds or where we are going anymore.

more at

February 18, 2006 2:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a funny world when Michael Howard is a chain-himself-to-the-railings hippy protestor compared to the home secratary. Where Norman Tebbit is an immagration policy moderate. Where Margaret Thatcher would be considered a socialist (just imagine not privatising a single bit of the NHS in over a decade - practically communism!)

The Anon

February 18, 2006 5:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like terrorism certainly has it benefits for the govt!

February 18, 2006 11:06 pm  
Blogger RW said...

Hi Rachel - thought this might be of interest. According to Craig Murray, the three stars of "Road to Guantanamo", together with the three guys on whom the story was actually based were arrested and interrogated under the "Prevention of Terrorism" Act a couple of days ago:

February 19, 2006 8:38 am  
Blogger Yorkshire Lass In London said...

you should have watched 30 minutes on Ch4 on Friday night, very interesting about how the police are using the anti-terrorism laws. Stopping and searching and 11 year old girl on suspicion of being a terrorist is ridiculous and scarey.

February 19, 2006 12:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The interesting backstory to the religous hatred bill was the meeting with "senior muslim community leaders" (aka self appointed types) with the home secratary last year. It seems they were getting a bit concerend that the bill included speach by reglions....

For example (just one of many issues) most religions go on about how they hate Satan. Well, there is a bunch (largely living in Iraq) who believe that after the Fall, he made peace with God and got the job of running the material world - landlords agent kind of thing. Speaking his name is strictly forbidden - often refered to as the Peacock, I believe. Anyway, insulting him is direct attack on *their* religion. So, the Bible, Torah and Koran would have to be banned - particularly given the comments with regards to what you are supposed to do to devil worshippers!

Interestingly, they have a tradion of being very peacable.

For even more fun, a number of religions regard war as a sacred ritual, and that access to heavan is directly related to warrior skills. The norse were not the only ones to believe this. So, an argumnet could be made that any anti-war protest is an act of religious hatred!

The Anon

February 19, 2006 2:55 pm  
Blogger RW said...

If this bill goes through, won't that constitute a coup d'etat?!

February 19, 2006 8:35 pm  
Blogger RW said...

PS - great observation about that endlessly over-used Bliarism "hardworking families".

February 19, 2006 8:38 pm  
Blogger Serf said...


We have prepared a list of 13 questions to be posted on Blogs and sent to MPs, concerning The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill.

February 22, 2006 7:48 am  

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