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Keeping our politicians accountable


by SajiniW on 16th March, 2006 at 11:57 am    

Remember the furore when Tony Blair went to Iraq without the approval of the Great British public or the United Nations?

Imagine if his powers were extended to *all* members of Parliament, allowing them to alter the laws which govern our lives as and when it suits, minus the accountability such changes are currently subjected to?

The proposed Legislative, Regulatory and Reform bill, if passed, would allow Ministers to change the law without consulting either House.

Whilst the Bill does include certain limits to that power; it remains vague on what the deal is on preventing those limitations being removed by a Minister, thus handing them a very great deal of un-democratic power.

Parallels could be drawn between this Bill and the Enabling Act, passed by the German Parliament in 1933, which allowed Chancellor Hitler and his cabinet to enact laws without the participation of the Reichstag.

While it would be an overstatement to compare Tony Blair to Hitler, such an act is certainly cause for concern, and it seems to me to be deeply unconstitutional, not to mention paternalistic.

What’s especially good about the current system is that we don’t have to wait around for an election, in order to tell them what we think. Members of Parliament represent _us_, and we’re more than entitled to tell them what we want them to do. Feel free to write to them and have your say.

You can also go to this page and sign up to be added to a list of people who want to hear from your MP; when 25 people have signed up, they send a message to your MP saying “25 people want to hear what you’re up to.” And again at 50, 75, 100, and so on. If your MP replies, you’ll be sent a link to a webpage containing their update.

Many thanks to Sushidog for bringing this to my attention.



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2 Comments   |  


  1. Inders — on 16th March, 2006 at 3:06 pm  

    Mmm. Interesting. I feel that expecting the government to intervene in social and economic matters will naturaly give rise to these kind of powers. Some so called liberals have forgotten the meaning of the word and expect the government to intervene in matters which should have nothing to do with central government.

    Civil liberties are civil liberties, wether the cause is fashionable or not. Some might say its even more important to uphold liberties precisly when they’re not fashionable.

    Making the government accountable is all very well and true, but even then there should be constrictions upon government that do not rely on popular will/opinon either. The tyranny of the majority can be as bad as a tyranny of one.

  2. leon — on 16th March, 2006 at 4:07 pm  

    Good to see PP picking up on this, I’ve blogged briefly on it as have others. We need more attention to it!

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