Fuck me, you’ve got to be joking

From the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill:

1. Purpose
(1) A Minister of the Crown may by order make provision for either or both of the following purposes?

(a) reforming legislation;
(b) implementing recommendations of any one or more of the United Kingdom Law Commissions, with or without changes.
2. Provision
(1) An order under section 1 may for either purpose specified in subsection (1) of that section make provision amending, repealing or replacing any legislation.
(3) An order under section 1 may for the purpose specified in subsection (1)(b) of that section also make?

(a) provision amending or abolishing any rule of law;
(b) provision codifying rules of law.
6. Criminal penalties
(1) Provision under section 2(1) may not create a new offence that is punishable, or increase the penalty for an existing offence so that it is punishable?
(a) on indictment, with imprisonment for a term exceeding two years;

(via Murky; more commentary from Talk Politics and Owen).

Now, I’m no lawyer, but this means we’re fucked, right? A Minister of the Crown now has the power to rewrite most laws without the consent of Parliament. What’s worse, “Minister of the Crown” could mean Fatboy Falconer. This is not another step to dictatorship but we’re practically there. Not only can someone be appointed to the Cabinet without ever running for elected office, but they can be given the power to relegislate at will, and get you jailed for up to two years. Toss in vaguely-defined arbitrary powers of arrest and a penchant for pissing all over habeas corpus and we see that every part of the process is being stitched up.

Oh well, we can always mark our displeasure at the ballot box… I hope – Labour’s current thinking is that elections aren’t worth the bother, really. We’re all going to have to claim asylum in Sweden if this shower of bastards carry on in government for much longer.

Update: Alright, maybe I was a little hasty in doubting the ballot box. Amazing result for the Lib Dems – dump their leader and secure an enormous swing. Wonder if Labour will take the hint…?

8 thoughts on “Fuck me, you’ve got to be joking

  1. “A Minister of the Crown now has the power to rewrite most laws without the consent of Parliament”

    As it stands, the Bill would give a Minister the power to repeal or amend all laws, including the specifically mentioned Common Law legal precedents.

    Nothing is excluded, including self referential amendments to the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act itself when it is passed into law.

    Who needs to worry about arbitrary new laws or regulations with a penalty of 2 years in prison, when existing laws wiwhich have a life sentence can have their definitions amended, by Order e.g. terrorism legislation ?

    This Bill is like the exitisng Civil Contingecies Act 2004,Part 2 Emergency Powers, but without even the weak “safeguard” of not being allowed to amend itself, or the Human Rights Act.

    More thoughts on how scary this Bill is at Spy Blog

  2. Just tried to sent a ping to this item (I updated my post) and got:

    Ping ‘http://www.qwghlm.co.uk/blog/wp-trackback.php?p=837’ failed: Sorry, trackbacks are closed for this item.

    Ah well. There is something wrong at my end too, as I tried to ping MY site with this post using the standalone trackback pinger

    and the ping got throttled. Weird. I have to work out how to release the grip of the throttling a little bit!

  3. Sorry Murk, I turned off Trackbacks into this site a few months ago after an unholy amount of spamming. I only send pings out now to Technorati and the like when posting. TB is a nice idea but needs to sort out authentication issues before I’m ready to re-enable it.

  4. Late lunch on day off yesterday, flicking through channels: saw this bill being debated in the Commons on BBC Parliament channel. Total number of MPs in the House that I could see: 12. Might have been one or two more on the fringes. The Tories were talking about regulatory burdens on industry and the Labour guy about balancing that with protecting people – no hint of any of the stuff posted above.

  5. Well, there is still a trackback URL embedded on the page somewhere…. my installation picked it up.

    (With my installation, the throttling seems over-zealous, and I want it to be a little more permissive!)

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