Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

UK Parliament to be Made Redundant? 607

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the politics-the-same-the-world-over dept.
caluml writes "The Guardian is reporting that the current UK government is trying to sneak a new law though in an innocuously named bill called 'The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill,' which would get rid of that pesky, interfering need to put laws to the Houses of Commons and Lords to approve. There is already the Parliament Act that can be used to force laws through, which was used recently for the hunting bill. " The original coverage is a bit old but the bill is still being tossed around in parliament. The text of the bill is also available via the UK Parliament website.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

UK Parliament to be Made Redundant?

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:21PM (#14976626)
    I live in the UK! How come nobody told me about this?
  • by Philip K Dickhead (906971) * <folderol@fancypants.org> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:30PM (#14976711) Journal
    This is because the Lords have been traditional conservatives, in regards to the administration of government in Britain. That is, they have been a barrier to the kind of radical moves by "New Labour" that characterize the revolutionary and unrepresentative executives of Bush in the US, Howard in Australia and Harper in Canada.

    They wish to preserve the legacy of representation and rule of law that are initiated with the Magna Carta, and succeeding 800 years of parliamentary rule. In fact, many of the Lords see this as a part of their personal heritage. It is a definition of "conservative" that has been sadly neglected in much of the English-speaking world over the last half-century. As an old Whig of the Fox/Hobhouse school, I applaud the credibility and veracity of Ancien Regieme Tories in this principled position.
  • by jb.hl.com (782137) <joe@@@joe-baldwin...net> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:32PM (#14976732) Homepage Journal
    Anything that goes through the parliament act will generate enough publicity for the public to kick up a fuss about it if they don't like it anyway.

    The public kicks up a fuss about LOTS of things, but they never get listened to. For example: Iraq, ID cards, school reforms...

    The ID cards bill has been rejected by the Lords again and again, because frankly they're sane. But my understanding is this act could well be used to force it through, to the detriment of everyone.
  • The Queen? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dadragon (177695) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:46PM (#14976847) Homepage
    Well, this is (theoretically) why the monarchy still exists, unfortunatly, too many people have no respect for what power the sovereign has. She can refuse to sign this bill into law, even if Parliament passes it. Too bad she probably won't as that will trigger a constitutional crisis and put the Queen into a political position which they tend to try to avoid.

  • Re:American Dictator (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:32PM (#14977197) Journal
    The Judiciary is supposed to (as part of the job) interpret the will of Congress when they (the court) review laws.

    Bush's signing statements are his attempt to influence that interpretation.

    The U.S. and England are both going down the tubes thanks to the 'global' war on terror.
  • Re:American Dictator (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Arandir (19206) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:40PM (#14977250) Homepage Journal
    I see you flunked civics in high school. Congress makes the laws, the president signs them or not, and the supreme court rules on it if there's a disagreement regarding the prior two. In your example case, the president has not made a new law, he has merely stated how he intends to enforce it. If this is out of line with the intent of the law, a case can be brought before the supreme court. In the meantime, congress retains the power to impeach the president.

    You act like no president has ever nominated supreme court judges before.
  • by mormop (415983) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:54PM (#14977713)
    The UK parliament has been redundant for a long time.

    Back in the days of Margaret Thatcher, huge parliamentary majorities were won on minority votes thanks to the first past the post, 3 party system. If I remember rightly, Mrs. T held a majority in excess of 300 MPs with only 40% of the electorate voting for her. Tony Blair commanded about 35% of the vote when less than 50% of the electorate turned out.

    With a three figure majority and the back-benches filled with career minded sheep, the government can get pretty much anything they want through so the new law is just icing on the cake. What worries me more is the sort of people they hang with. According to the treasury web site [hm-treasury.gov.uk], the following are being flown in by Gordon Brown, the next Prime Minister, to give advice on business in New Britain:

    Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO, LVMH
      Lord Browne, Group Chief Executive, BP
      Dr Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO, GlaxoSmithKline
      Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft Corporation
      Sir Ka-shing Li, Chairman of the Board, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd
      Sir Terry Leahy, CEO, Tesco
      Sir John Rose, CEO, Rolls Royce
      Robert Rubin, Director and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Citigroup Inc
      Lee Scott, President and CEO, Wal-Mart
      Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Group
      Meg Whitman, President and CEO, eBay
      James Wolfensohn, Special Envoy for Disengagement and Former President of the World Bank

    Yep, that's right. In order to improve the business environment for entrepreneurs and encourage opportunity among the lower classes, Brown is freighting in a convicted monopolist and a horde of bankers and fat-cats some of which are heads of corporations that have been criticised for predatory and/or unfair practises. Hmmmm.. Can't wait 'til the advice starts flowing. "Well everyone, what's the best thing to encourage competition in business"? Patents for everything and tax cuts for the exceptionally rich? Sure thing, no problem now that I can push it through Parliament without a proper debate. Seat in the House of Lords? Two million to you guv but make it untraceable, know what I mean?

    Sick country man, a really sick country.
  • by FhnuZoag (875558) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:29PM (#14977888)
    Rubbish.

    History has shown that whenever a rag tag army gets together during a militaristic dictatorship, it would be *behind* the dictator, and in fact often culpable of the worst of his crimes. When the at least disciplined professional troops or policemen would decline to be involved in an atrocity, a crazed volunteer bunch would be willing to lend their imaginative efforts.

    The first thing such governments do is to turn people against each other. Letting people have guns is meaningless, because the gun owners are the ones who form the militias, and who gets rewarded by the government with the powers to keep the rest of the population in check. Armed mobs of civilians swept the Nazis into power, and then they organised clubs to train the youth in military tactics. Armed and anarchic mobs of students conducted the cultural revolution. Ordinary people, equipped with weapons the state handed out, conducted the Rawandan massacre. When was the last time there was a totalitarian state where the people would rebel - if only they had the guns to do so?

    Until people stop being idiots who will buy into any and all propaganda they find, guns in the hands of the majority are just as likely to be tools of oppression as they are liberation.
  • by lysergic.acid (845423) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @11:45PM (#14978180) Homepage

    I agree. What you describe ultimately ends up being a tyranny of the majority, especially with the bipartisan system. In a true participatory democracy, most aspects of government would be delegated to local government, which would act through frequent broad-based referendums.

    The problem is that there are more than two sides to most issues. And with the current political system, both the Democrats and Republicans are simply different factions of the American business party--since their campaign funding, and thus their election, comes from the extremely wealthy, whom are mostly corporate entities, or large stockholders.

    It doesn't take nearly as much money to run for offices at the local government level, and thus the bipartisan sytem has a much weaker hold there, and independents have a much better chance of getting elected. Also, because power isn't as consolidated, the majority rule isn't as likely to always be composed of the same majority (ie. one party or another).

    The U.S. government is actually quite far from a true participatory democracy. Referendums are rarely held, most issues being decided by representatives without consulting the public, and so the most anyone can do is choose one party or the other during election time.

  • by ductonius (705942) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @12:33AM (#14978439) Homepage

    "Rubbish.

    History has shown that whenever a rag tag army gets together during a militaristic dictatorship, it would be *behind* the dictator, and in fact often culpable of the worst of his crimes. When the at least disciplined professional troops or policemen would decline to be involved in an atrocity, a crazed volunteer bunch would be willing to lend their imaginative efforts."

    Like the Warsaw uprising I suppose?

    History has shown that most of those 'rag tag' armies were the only ones allowed to keep their guns expressly *because* they were behind the dictator. Dictators do not allow their opposition to walk around with the means to defend themselves while they are perfectly fine in letting their supporters do whatever they want.

    In many dictatorships guns are banned from private ownership - often ironically - as a public safety measure while the local enforcers get to carry whatever they want. If the local thugs don't have their own the militias are armed by the dictators themselves, and when guns aren't available the local dictator will simply bring in a load of machetes.

    The fact that you assume the causation goes "own gun --> support dictator" and not "support dictator --> own gun" simply shows that you are supposing your conclusion and then concluding it.

    "The first thing such governments do is to turn people against each other."

    No, the first thing such governments do is turn their supporters against their enemies. Of course, the government can afford to arm its supporters so when their enemies have no access to arms, well, you know what happens next.

    "Letting people have guns is meaningless, because the gun owners are the ones who form the militias, and who gets rewarded by the government with the powers to keep the rest of the population in check."

    What was I saying about supposing your conclusion? Here, you said it yourself: "Gun owners are the ones who support dictators."

    As you also said: "Rubbish".

    How many times does it have to be repeated that dictators are fond of arming only their supporters? Dictators ban private gun ownership so that no one can put up any kind of resistance to the militias the dictator themselves formed.

    "Armed mobs of civilians swept the Nazis into power, and then they organized clubs to train the youth in military tactics."

    Actually an act of the Reichstag called "The Enabling Act" swept the Nazis into power.

    Because his grasp on power was assumed peacefully there was no initial sign Hitler was going to act so dictatorially... oh, wait, there was one: He use the existing registration laws to confiscate all privately owned firearms. Except those of his supporters of course.

    "Armed and anarchic mobs of students conducted the cultural revolution. Ordinary people, equipped with weapons the state handed out, conducted the Rawandan massacre."

    Right, exactly what I was saying about "Dictators handing out weapons to control those who don't like them/ letting their supporters do what they want"

    How freaking hard is this thing to understand?

    "When was the last time there was a totalitarian state where the people would rebel - if only they had the guns to do so?"

    Germany, 1953.
    Hungary, 1956.
    Czechoslovakia, 1968.
    Germany, 1989. The soveits wanted to bring in the army but it refused and disobeyed orders.

    I'm sure there's more.

    "Until people stop being idiots who will buy into any and all propaganda they find, guns in the hands of the majority are just as likely to be tools of oppression as they are liberation."

    What a piece of property does not determined by the property. Inanimate objects have no will of their own. A gun is a hunk of metal, plastic and wood. What it does, be it liberation or oppression is determined by the person holding it.

    Canada doesn't have armed militias roving the street because the millions of people who own guns in Canada have no interest in using their arms for oppression.

  • by Wes Janson (606363) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:13AM (#14978790) Journal
    "It is with great reluctance that I have agreed to this calling. I love democracy. I love the Republic. Once this crisis has abated, I will lay down the powers you have given me!"

    Oh, and mod parent up.
  • by MartinB (51897) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @03:07AM (#14978900) Homepage
    You see, the thing is, the Lords (at the moment) have a birth right to be there. They can say whatever they want without fear of parliamentary whips putting pressure on them to to stop conflicting with the current party's views, without fear of being kicked out, and without fear of losing their next election. That's why they're a good thing, because they have the chance to oppose laws even when the majority of parliament is for them.

    *blink* What the.... fuck

    *stares at user24 like the museum piece he/she apparently is*

    If you want a proper house of review (and you should) then you bloody well elect one.


    Arguably so, but at the moment, only a small proportion of the Lords are hereditaries (parent is forgetting the Lords reform over the last few parliaments). The rest are appointed, and not a few after having given large sums of cash to the Labour Party - but that's another discussion.

    The balance of power, however, is held by approx 160 independent Lords - no party alignment. And by and large, they do a very good job, and refuse to be treated as lobby fodder by the Government with its powers of appointment to powerful ministries.

    It's some comment on the current state of affairs that an unelected body with a proportion there by heriditary right is doing a better, more transparent, more thoughtful job than the elected one...
  • by jandersen (462034) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @04:15AM (#14979022)
    You may say so, but in practise it is different: democracy simply means that you get to elect your leaders, who then governs in whichever way they like. It's not practical to have too finegrained a democracy, where every decision has to be voted on; even if the difficulties involved in arranging elections were overcome, there's still the matter of getting everybody (or indeed anybody) to take an interest in things.

    In many ways I think a more pragmatic view of democracy is warranted: democracy is simply a tool for selecting leaders, the purpose of which is to counteract the tendency towards the corruption that seems to develop when leaders are not held accountable for their beahviour. But of course, democracy isn't enough to secure a fair society - all the powers in society should be kept from exercising undue influence on each other: the famous 'separation of powers', but I think we need to add newsmedia and big business as two new 'powers' in addition to the legislative, executive and judiciary powers.
  • by cruachan (113813) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @04:40AM (#14979078)
    But Scotland has it's own quite distinct legal system, separate education and health systems, and a lot of other domestic peculiarities. True we're the same country as far as foreign policy is concerned, but in practical everyday terms Holyrood now has more impact than Westminster.

    Put in this way, in the last election the only campaign issues that were of any relevance to Scotland were the EC and Iraq. Everything else that Blair and Howard chuntered on about has been devolved to Holyrood.

    Also I think, and I'm not alone in seeing this, the amount of anti-English whinging that goes on has markedly decreased since 1999. We now whinge about the boy Jack and his cronies instead, although Holyrood as an institution has been widely succesful and polls reliably return vast and increasing majorities against it's abolition. As a consequence support for full independance has dropped through the floor.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:37AM (#14979455)
    In a nutshell, democracy is the modern justification for power (meaning government, i.e. organized coercion, or the existence of a special "right" to initiate force). Democracy is the new religion, if you will (power was typically justified by religion in the past), and the "god" is the voting process (this is where the faith part comes in). To be a follower, you not only need to believe that coercion is a productive solution; you need to believe that coercion is morally justified when voted upon. You also need to accept the theory that, while human nature says it is immoral and unjust for a group of people to initiate force against another group, it is somehow moral and just for the first group to delegate that initiation of force to government.

    Democracy is simply a means to justify what human nature says is immoral: employing coercion, rather than voluntary association, as the solution. It's not rocket science, and there is little moral difference between pure democracy (mob rule) and the democratic republic. Under the hood, both systems accomplish the same thing: to justify power with a voting process.

    I don't know about you, but given the choice between a monarchy which more or less respects most of my god-given human rights, and a democracy which more or less does not, I'd take the monarchy every time. It's the bottom line that matters, not the process, and the bottom line is that democracy (or the democratic republic) has proven to result in continuous expansion of power throughout its lifetime. Do you trust it? I don't.
  • by JonathanBoyd (644397) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @09:00AM (#14979651) Homepage
    Technically he did say "British State"
    N. Ireland isn't part of Great Britain, it's only part of "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland"

    We're not part of Great Britain, but we are a part of the British State. We're British citizens and have MPs and Lords at Westminster.

    Unfortunately, due to our small number of MPs, we basically have one guy, Peter Hain the Northern Irish Secretary, dictating everything that happens here. e.g. 90% of the population are against the school reforms he's planning, but he's going to go ahead with them anyway, because there's nothing our MPs can do to stop him.

    Bring back devolution.

  • by JimBobJoe (2758) <swiftheart@NOSPam.gmail.com> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @10:27AM (#14980054)
    If you want a proper house of review (and you should) then you bloody well elect one.

    Actually, the whole house of review concept was always meant to be a non-elected body.

    One of the major checks and balances built into the US constitution was that the Senate was unelected. They founders thought it would be a huge error to have both houses elected--the point of the Senate was an unelected body that was separated from politics. (Which is why certain types of decisions pass through the Senate--such as the approval of judge appointments.)

    All that became horribly messed up by the direct election of Senators. Since they are now directly elected, but still have powers that were granted to them based on the idea that they weren't directly elected, they've completely disbalanced the system. (The only thing that makes the Senate work as a house of review is the fact that the constituency borders, since they're states, cannot be artificially gerrymandered. It'd be cool if they were elected in a different system, a change I'm open to.)

  • by JimBobJoe (2758) <swiftheart@NOSPam.gmail.com> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @10:43AM (#14980152)
    Besides, some people see an advantage of separating the Head of State from the Head of Government.

    As I recall, the Texas Constitution cleverly made the Lieutenant Governor more powerful than the Governor (on the day to the day basis.) I suspect they wanted a head of state to be different from the head of government, but also to distract people from where power really lies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 23, 2006 @03:19PM (#14982359)
    What in the world are you talking about? New Labour is not socialist. It is an absurd branch of the tories. Labour was infiltrated by bastards like Tory Blair and corrupted into New Labour. New Labour is the direct decendent of Thatcherism. The yob culture was founded by Thatcher and her obsession with destroying the wealth creating industries. Always the grocer she replaced wealth creation with wealth accumulation. She did every thing in her power to favor the bankers and brokers at the expense of industries and social activities that actually create wealth. It makes me sad whenever I return to Briatain to see the fruits of Thatcher and her minions. The country is poorer for it. Education standards are down, manufacutring and other wealth ccreating industries are gone. Computer industry jobs offshored, etc.

If I want your opinion, I'll ask you to fill out the necessary form.

Working...