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UK Parliament to be Made Redundant?

ScuttleMonkey posted about 8 years ago | 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.

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The Parliament Act. (4, Informative)

Blapto (839626) | about 8 years ago | (#14976599)

This wasn't snuck in, it's been around for quite some time now. It actually serves a valid purpose as well. Basically, the part that this article refers to allows a government to bypass the House of Lords (an unelected body) after a certain number of tries in a certain time period when trying to pass a bill.
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.

Re:The Parliament Act. (3, Insightful)

Blapto (839626) | about 8 years ago | (#14976628)

Probably poor form to reply to my own post, but in reference to the Parliament Act, it's worth having a look at the Salisbury Convention to see why it isn't as powerful as it sounds.

Re:The Parliament Act. (3, Interesting)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | about 8 years ago | (#14976711)

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.

Re:The Parliament Act. (2, Insightful)

caluml (551744) | about 8 years ago | (#14976869)

Indeed. TB seems to think he knows better, and when the houses rightly reject his bills, he wants to have some method for forcing them through.
Has he forgotten that England has suffered terrorism before, and survived without removing everyone's civil liberties? Yes [wikipedia.org], there [google.com] have [google.com] been [google.com] terrorists in the past. *

* Subject to your point of view.

Please explain... (1)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | about 8 years ago | (#14977053)

Sory, didn't get that. You're saying that the unelected House of Lords preserves the legacy of representation?

And I didn't understand your first paragraph at all, though it kind of sounded like a gratuitous swipe at elected conservative governments.

Re:The Parliament Act. (2, Funny)

Jason Earl (1894) | about 8 years ago | (#14976719)

Wait a second. I thought that you guys had a Queen or something.

Re:The Parliament Act. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976902)

The monarch is a ceremonial role in the United Kingdom. See Constitutional Monarchy [wikipedia.org].

Re:The Parliament Act. (1)

hunterx11 (778171) | about 8 years ago | (#14977003)

Didn't the Queen actually refuse assent to a bill under this government? I believe it was some sort of anti-terror law.

Re:The Parliament Act. (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | about 8 years ago | (#14976917)

The Queen of England, (Or other reigning monarch) is the head of state, and technically controls the armed forces and must also approve any law. They are also the head of the Church of England. In addition to this, they get to be the head of state for nations of the commonwealth such as Australia.

Re:The Parliament Act. (3, Interesting)

jb.hl.com (782137) | about 8 years ago | (#14976732)

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.

Re:The Parliament Act. (1)

caluml (551744) | about 8 years ago | (#14976744)

This wasn't snuck in, it's been around for quite some time now.

Well, it's the sort of thing I notice, and I only heard about it yesterday. It's not exactly being debated much in the media here.

Re:The Parliament Act. (2, Informative)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | about 8 years ago | (#14976745)

Excuse me while I stop pissing myself with laughter.

1. Iraq war. People said no and protested, yet I see troops still there and even helping start it.

2. More people voted in Big brother than in the general election.. maybe it's just me.. but I don't think many people care about politics.

Shall we go on? Labour is taking the piss and trying to cut out everyone who's going "oi retards, you're fucking up the country!" and this is just another step on that ladder. Remember Hitler was a really nice bloke on TV, he was the apple of most young girls eyes.. Even pure evil can put on a charismatic alter ego and play nice to the public.

Don't put money on "the public" turning this over, get writing to everyone you can and do it NOW. This is one small step up a ladder which leads to the Ministry of Peace, other wise known as Camp X-ray or a Cuban jail everyone knows is full of tortured "terrorists" (even though no one can define a terrorist..)

Re:The Parliament Act. (1)

Tweekster (949766) | about 8 years ago | (#14976812)

Guess what, people said no to number 1: but not enough people. Just because you have some objectors, well it means nothing to have some. You need a lot. there simply werent a LOT

Re:The Parliament Act. (1)

caluml (551744) | about 8 years ago | (#14976906)

750,000 [bbc.co.uk] out of a nation of approx. 60 million not enough? ("The police estimate of 750,000 people could be an underestimation due to people bypassing official routes or going straight to Hyde Park without joining the main march.") That's a very large message if you ask me.

Re:The Parliament Act. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14977066)

...barely over 1%

RTFA - this is not about the parliament act (5, Informative)

FhnuZoag (875558) | about 8 years ago | (#14976756)

Yes, but the parliament act isn't what is in question.

What is in question is this new proposed act, that allows any cabinet member to alter any piece of legislation by conducting a single vote with the minimum of debate or discussion. The parliament act is usually only used after ages of battling, so at least we are certain that MPs have looked at and understood what is being passed. With this new act, it would be very easy to sandwich scary ideas into an innoculous looking package, and sneak that through the vote. The worst case scenario is that one such scary bill would be a motion to alter this bill itself - and remove parliament from the process altogether.

Even if we trust the government not to abuse it, this is still a terrifyingly huge loophole. And in fact, the bill is currently *very* close to being passed. It only has a 1-hour final hearing in the commons, and then it's onto the Lords. And if the Lords don't cooperate, a truly malicious government can use the Parliament act to force it through....

Re:RTFA - this is not about the parliament act (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976879)

The bizarre thing is that this legislation applies to itself. A government minister can rewrite this legislation to increase its powers.

I can't quite believe this current government. It has systematically stripped the rights that have defined Britain for over a thousand years, with little or no opposition. Countries like the US and the UK like to talk about "the habit of democracy" being the real protection against tyranny... and yet, we both have executives that are crushing the basic values of democracy (in the name of "efficiency" or "terrorism"... and the ranks of representatives do nothing because they are cowed into silence or bought off.

Re:RTFA - this is not about the parliament act (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976935)

Yes, but the parliament act isn't what is in question.

Well said, I'm glad someone noticed.

Re:The Parliament Act. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976778)

I always was a fan [theniceass.com] of how Tony Blair or who ever is the current PM [theniceass.com] has to answer questions to parliment. The white house usually sends out the press secretary [theniceass.com] to do answer questions but it doesn't seem as productive as how the British Parliments way of doing things.

Re:The Parliament Act. (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 8 years ago | (#14976810)

"the House of Lords (an unelected body)"

Pardon my ignorance as an American here, but is that literally an unelected body, and, if so, why would a modern nation have an unelected governing body in the 21st century, let alone the 20th?

You may now resume making fun of our fscked up government, thanks :)

Re:The Parliament Act. (1)

bentcd (690786) | about 8 years ago | (#14976931)

Pardon my ignorance as an American here, but is that literally an unelected body, and, if so, why would a modern nation have an unelected governing body in the 21st century, let alone the 20th?

Tradition. That's what England is: 1,000 years of tradition.

And the Parliament Acts appear to represent the first slow steps to eventually abolish the Lords. Don't hold your breath waiting though :-)

Re:The Parliament Act. (1)

Frabcus (67527) | about 8 years ago | (#14976937)

It's true, our second chamber is unelected. Lords become members by a complex mixture of appointment, religion, appelation, hereditary entitlement and self-election, which frankly I can't work out.

It could be worse. They could be elected, chosen from party lists, and subject to a strong party whipping system. The only real solution is appointment by lot (i.e. randomly selecting members, like jury service).

Re:The Parliament Act. (1)

Yer Mum (570034) | about 8 years ago | (#14976963)

There was a two-stage process of reform to be brought in by the current government. Stage one was to remove most of the hereditary peers which gained their position due to accident birth and was completed in 1999. Stage two was to ask for opinions on whether to go for an appointed or elected house of Lords and started in 2001 but didn't get anywhere.

This leaves us in the curious position today where Blair can appoint new members to the House of Lords through the new-year honours list. As has been found out in the past week, in return for soft loans totalling up to GBP 14 million [bbc.co.uk] (or possibly more).

Ironically it's the unelected House of Lords that's causing the most trouble for the government over the compulsary ID card and database bill.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lords_Reform [wikipedia.org]

Re:The Parliament Act. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976972)

The House of Lords is not a governing body as such. It scrutinises and revises legislation that is drawn up by the executive... and its status below that of the House of Commons (where the elected MPs sit) is rigorously maintained. Nevertheless, it's status as a chamber appointed by elected politicians rather than elected directly has always been controversial. It occasionally acts as a guard against stupid legislation and holds the executive to account in ways that the elected MPs don't (cough, ID cards, cough)... but other times it's just a chamber full of cobwebby old spectres who spend their time sleeping and waiting for death.

Re:The Parliament Act. (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 8 years ago | (#14976998)

Because it works.

The thing is, the House of Lords knows that it only exists because the people allow it to. If they decided not to follow the will of the people, then the House of Lords would be abolished and replaced by someone who did. However, this isn't a problem. Somehow, we seem to have an unelected house that is genuinely concerned about justice, democracy, and human rights, and since they are unelected, are not going to compromise their beliefs to score votes.

But the public doesn't kick up a fuss. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976813)

But what we've witnessed is that the public does not kick up a fuss about serious issues. This isn't true of just the UK, but of the United States, Germany, Canada, Australia, and most other Western nations. And when any fuss is made, politicians do not listen anyways, these days justifying their gross misconduct as being "necessary to fight terrorism".

Democracies often work best when they're highly inefficient, and there is much strife between opposing political bodies (not just parties) of similar power. The efficiency losses are more than made up in freedom gains.

Re:The Parliament Act. (1)

JimboG1 (852662) | about 8 years ago | (#14976965)

How I understand it is a bit different. The Act (which is what it would become if passed) would allow ministers of the crown (i.e. elected MPs given jobs by the Prime Minister) to change existing primary and secondary legislation without reference to Parliament, Parliament being the House of Commons and the House of Lords together.

The government asserts, and some of the provisions of the bill back-up this up, that thi legislation will be used to amend and even abolish legislation that is no longer relevant, particularly relating to business regulation, and the regualtion of other markets.

As I understand it, the argument goes, the modern world moves so fast that the legislative machinery of state is not nimble enough to keep up with changes in the global market place in other circumstances. To compete with the emerging market economies, the UK must be able to change as and when needed. Rather than the (at least) 18 month process that is now required to change legislation, it would take a matter of days. Kind-of convincing.

If the politics is right, then OK, this might be reasonable.

But, executive power is currently approved of by fewer and fewer voters and citizens (not always the same group). As dissolutionment with politics becomes all the more rife, checks on executive power diminish as fewer people get involved in the political system. To me, this is a very dangerous precident and one any government, particulary a Labour government, should shy away from until the question about the security of the future of participatory politicis in the UK is resolved. My 2p.

Pesky bureaucracy (3, Funny)

Beuno (740018) | about 8 years ago | (#14976600)

Yes, let's get rid of that pesky bureaucracy.
And while you're at it, why waste time voting?
Let's get rid of that time-consuming thing...

Remember, remember... (3, Funny)

babbling (952366) | about 8 years ago | (#14976651)

I want everyone to remember that we stand on the edge of oblivion! I want everyone to remember why they need us!

Re:Pesky bureaucracy (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976653)

So, it's time for a regime change?

Re:Pesky bureaucracy (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 8 years ago | (#14976706)

Yes, let's get rid of that pesky bureaucracy.

RTFA- the power falls to the Ministers, especially the Prime Minister. This doesn't get rid of that pesky bureaucracy- it does the exact opposite in fact. It makes the bureaucracy a bunch of petty dictators within their independant ministries.

Re:Pesky bureaucracy (1)

kubrick (27291) | about 8 years ago | (#14976774)

Yes, let's get rid of that pesky bureaucracy.

Guy Fawkes, where are you now that your country needs you?

Re:Pesky bureaucracy (1)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | about 8 years ago | (#14976863)

Guy Fawkes was blowing up the wrong building for the purposes you have in mind here. He was trying to destroy Westminster, aka the Houses of Parliament. You'd like him more to go after various other government buildings along Whitehall.

That sucks... (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | about 8 years ago | (#14976607)

If I lived in the UK, I'd definitely be writing my (UK equivalent) senator and representatives about now... I really can't quite imagine something like that actually getting passed, but governments are, unfortunately, not limited by my imagination.

One question is: who would actually be writing these laws that would go through without parliamentary approval, if not parliament?

This bill is truly dangerous (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 8 years ago | (#14976804)

I don't think I need to write to my MP on this one: he's already strongly and publicly criticised the bill for the insult to democracy it is, and indeed a group of professors of law from our local university (which, for the benefit of US readers, means a lot of very highly placed academics in the UK) wrote to a national newspaper to express their support for his opposition. I do believe in contacting my representatives, but in this case his view seems pretty solidly on the right side of sane.

As for who would write the laws, it would basically be ministers, i.e., senior politicians appointed by the current administration and generally drawn from the ranks of both houses of parliament. This is basically carte blanche for the administration, once elected, to pass its laws without scrutiny or opposition from the other political parties. Technically, IIRC, the bill does allow for a couple of hours of debate, which is just about long enough for everyone to sit down... :-(

When you consider that this bill could be used to pass several pieces of legislation that have recently proved highly controversial within the house (ID cards and draconian "anti-terrorism" measures among them) you can see how dangerous it could be.

Then consider that under our first-past-the-post electoral system, the current administration was empowered based on only 22% of the population's support. They didn't actually win the popular vote in England at all, and they have relied repeatedly on Scottish MPs to force through controversial legislation that won't affect those MPs' own constituents because it only applies in England.

In other words, this bill would essentially hand executive authority to a group of people who are not directly elected to such responsibility, but rather appointed by another group who can have as little as 1/5 of the population supporting them, and with that they can impose their will over the other 4/5 and their duly elected representatives challenge. Why would this disturb anyone?

(Then again, we live in the land of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act, the Serious Organised Crime Act, The Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act and most recently the Civil Contingencies Act, which collectively have stripped away pretty much almost every freedom and right that UK citizens enjoyed prior to the current administration being elected. What more damage can they do?)

Re:That sucks... (1)

ScottyLad (44798) | about 8 years ago | (#14976815)

"One question is: who would actually be writing these laws that would go through without parliamentary approval, if not parliament?"

That would be the Civil Service [wikipedia.org], which reminds me of a joke I heard the other week on Radio 2 [wikipedia.org]...

A prostitute, and architect and a civil servant are arguing over who works in the oldest profession.

"Everyone knows mine is the oldest profession, back to biblical times", claims the prostitute.
"Ah..", says the architect, "but God created order out of the chaos; therefore architecture is older than prostitution".
The prostitue reluctantly agrees.
"Who do you think created the chaos?", asks the Civil Servant.

Re:That sucks... (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 8 years ago | (#14977056)

If I lived in the UK, I'd definitely be writing my (UK equivalent) senator and representatives about now

If you were in the UK that would be either your baron or duke.

In COBN3T Britain (5, Funny)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | about 8 years ago | (#14976616)

In SOVIET BRITAIN, Britannia waives the rules!

Re:In COBN3T Britain (4, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | about 8 years ago | (#14976759)

> In SOVIET BRITAIN, Britannia waives the rules!

You forgot the even-more-ironic second line [ingeb.org] to the chorus.

In Sov'yet Britain, Britannia waives the rules! Britons, ever ever shall be slaves to fools.

Hey, I live in the UK! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976626)

I live in the UK! How come nobody told me about this?

Re:Hey, I live in the UK! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976681)

They don't want you to know.

Re:Hey, I live in the UK! (1)

SEWilco (27983) | about 8 years ago | (#14976733)

I live in the UK! How come nobody told me about this?

Because of the Official Secrets Act?

Please... (1)

Winlin (42941) | about 8 years ago | (#14976634)

...don't give the U.S. government any ideas. Not that they seem to feel like they need congressional approval now, for that matter.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976671)

So this is how democracy dies...
With thunderous applause.

Sorry, couldn't resist :-D

Re:Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976685)

... move to Canada.

Check out saveparliament.org.uk too (3, Informative)

caluml (551744) | about 8 years ago | (#14976654)

There's also a website [saveparliament.org.uk] that explains in slightly less dry terms than the official parliament website some of the things it would allow MPs to do. It appears to be unavailable at the moment, but check it out when it's back up.
From memory, it's basically: add or change any laws they feel like, as long as they don't raise taxes, or have jail sentances over 2 years.
And as for why the opposition parties and UK media aren't mentioning it, I have no idea.

Re:Check out saveparliament.org.uk too (2, Informative)

Yer Mum (570034) | about 8 years ago | (#14976828)

See also...

http://www.libertycentral.org.uk/content/view/395/ index.php [libertycentral.org.uk]

Which shows an amendment the opposition proposed to protect the British constitution and civil liberties (nothing to do with business reform) from this bill and was rejected in its entirety by the government.

Which begs the question is why would the government want the ability to change the constitution without parliamentary approval?

To those who don't know what is redundancy... (5, Funny)

fijal (877896) | about 8 years ago | (#14976657)

From an American view (1)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about 8 years ago | (#14976721)

From an American view I'm jealous that you have more than two real political parties, but I don't get why England doesn't have her own Parliament.

Re:From an American view (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976806)

Because England rules Britain, an English government would be much the same as a British one so why seperate?

Re:From an American view (1)

cruachan (113813) | about 8 years ago | (#14977026)

That's because of the peculiar makeup of the British state. There's approximatly 5 million of us Scots, a similar number of Welsh, and the rest - 50 million odd - are English. Because representation is approximatly proportional the British parliament is hence 85% or so English.

Furthermore the legal systems are split into England and Wales - which have the same legal system because Edward I conquered Wales in the 13th Century, and Scotland, which is separate because the act of union between Scotland and England didn't take place util 1707 and was on paper at least a merger of equals (haha).

Until we got our own Parliament back in 1999 Scottish legislation was voted on in the British Parliament, so that 85% English majority got to determine Scottish domestic legislation. This did lead to a certain amount of tension ;-). The reverse, that out fraction of Scottish MPs got to vote on English affairs, was thus completely overshadowed by the greater injustice (unless you were Tam Dayell of course).

Since 1999 the English do however seem to have noticed us and there is some clamour to do something about Scots voting on English matters. However because and English Parliament would represent 85% of the British Parliament setting a separate body up would be costly and create a second power centre with almost as much legitimacy as the British Parliament. Needless to say this isn't a viable political solution, so what's most likely to happen is that eventually Scots MPs won't vote on English matters and there will be a defacto English parliament comprised of a subset of the British one. Labour isn't keen on this as it disproportionatly returns Scottish MPs, and it's contortions to justify the status quo are truly a wonder to behold, but it's one of those things that isn't going to go away and the 'no vote' solution is so plausably fair that it's pretty likely to happen eventually.

Re:From an American view (2, Informative)

whoniverse (880278) | about 8 years ago | (#14977046)

The short answer is: history. Here's a slightly longer answer: Unlike the US, the UK political system is a result of historical changes over centuries, and is not a coherently thought-through system. Until devolution a few years ago, the UK Parliament was the only legislative body in the entire country. The Devolution process gave away some of parliament's powers to new parliaments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. However the three don't have equal powers to each other - the reasons being a combination of history (Scotland has always had different laws to the rest of the UK as it joined when the two nations shared the same King, whereas Wales and Ireland joined by means of English conquest), popular feeling (the Scots were more in favour of devolution than the Welsh), and the needs of the peace process in Northern Ireland. There have been plans for various powers to be devolved not to a new English Parliament, but to the nine English regions (which are comparable in both size and population to Scotland, Wales and Nothern Ireland, whereas England itself is massive compared to the other parts of the UK). However, this devolution hasn't got a large amount of popular support compared to the pressure for devolution from the other nations of the UK, the North East had a referendum on a regional assembly, but that gave a no vote. The only part of England with any devolved power at the moment is London. There are some arguing for an English Parliament, but there aren't very many of them - most people in England would think of it as a waste of money, because England makes up the vast majority of both the land and the people.

We don't care - honestly!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976723)

Look - just pack it in! Us Brits no longer care about such things. We are all subjects, we have the Royal Family and we also have the democracy that was the model for the world, so we triply don't have to worry.
Anyhow, isn't this calling the kettle black - that dope in the White House, doesn't he have the same, so laws don't apply to his office?
Parliaments and congressii need to be above the law - it is the only realistic option for all concerned. In that way politcs is effectively abolished - nobody talks politics in Blighty, except the few leftovers that still watch teevee instead of posting to slashdot (and other sites). Same in U.S.?

take that america (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976736)

we can make make laws that are more stupid than you. hahahaha hahaha .. ha..
oh shit, I'm in the uk :/

ok, now I'm confused, do I make a USA immigration application or start learning chinese?

Re:take that america (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976899)

German more like, once your newly empowered government decides it'd like hand over all its sovereignty to the EU regardless what anyone might have to say about it.

If you'd like to move to escape, then there is no safe place. Learning Chinese may be an inevitability though.

yes, good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976971)

A new german identity, and maybe move to brazil.

er, *cough*cough*

Eine neue deutsche Identität. Jetzt gehe ich nach Brasil.
Auf wiedersehen! :)

"It's gonna get blown up anyway" (5, Funny)

flyingace (162593) | about 8 years ago | (#14976741)

Didn't you guys see "V for Vendetta" over the weekend ?

Re:"It's gonna get blown up anyway" (1)

stupidfoo (836212) | about 8 years ago | (#14976952)

Unfortuantely. If you're expecting to see an action movie you might want to lower your expectations just a little bit.

Re:"It's gonna get blown up anyway" (1)

PCM2 (4486) | about 8 years ago | (#14976990)

Have you seen the movie? I'd hardly call it an action movie. A call-to-action movie, maybe.

Bloody MC (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976765)

It's that damn Magna Carta, you know.

Once you take the power from the one true Sovereign, who has been selected by God to know what is right for this country, all of this havoc follows in due course.

I say: absolve the House of Lords and the House of Commons, and revert all power to HRH Elizabeth Regina.

We'll then all get along splendidly. (Or at least untill Charles takes the thrown.)

Great Idea! (1)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | about 8 years ago | (#14976770)

They're going to have multiple parliaments so that if one fails they have a backup? Oh wait... that doesn't seem to be what they are suggesting.

Maybe In Canada Too (1, Offtopic)

Rac3r5 (804639) | about 8 years ago | (#14976771)

We need something like this in Canada do. Right now we have a representative of the queen here in Canada. It is one of the most retarded and useless positions in Canada.

Why is somone who is not democratically elected, in a political office.

Re:Maybe In Canada Too (1)

dadragon (177695) | about 8 years ago | (#14976817)

Why is somone who is not democratically elected, in a political office.

Not to state the obvious, but Canada is a monarchy.

Re:Maybe In Canada Too (1)

ahodgson (74077) | about 8 years ago | (#14976914)

We also have a Senate, which actually has some power, and performs roughly the same role as the House of Lords, which would be a better comparison if you actually knew anything about how our government works and had RTFA.

We solved this in the United States 225 years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976943)

We wondered what they were doing too, so we shot at them until they left.

Worked for us, you might want to give it a try...

Re:We solved this in the United States 225 years a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14977027)

We wondered what they were doing too, so we shot at them until they left.

Worked for us, you might want to give it a try...

Yeah - worked real good.

Welcome to the Fourth Reich, idiot.

Re:Maybe In Canada Too (4, Insightful)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | about 8 years ago | (#14976959)

Because the Governor-General is no more a political office than the Crown is. The appointment is made with the "advice" of your Parliament anyway, which basically means the Crown appoints whomever its told to appoint. It's as democratic as your Prime Minister.

Besides, some people see an advantage of separating the Head of State from the Head of Government. In the US it would be refreshing to be able to have the Head of State present to solemnize some event, without having to invite the current idiot in the White House who will use the occasion to push whatever's presently on his political agenda.

Paranoia (0, Flamebait)

caffeination (947825) | about 8 years ago | (#14976772)

I swear, Slashdot will send me to an early grave if I continue to parse its headlines at such a high privilege level. Though I'm guilty of feeding this [slashdot.org] myself, I'm starting to tire of so many SKY-IS-FALLING stories (I've been around here slightly longer than my UID suggests).

I get the impression that this is kind of a rite of passage here. Would that be correct?

(I don't consider this offtopic because this is an absolute non-story. Your Moderation May Vary)

Can they do that? (1)

irimi_00 (962766) | about 8 years ago | (#14976776)

Can they do that? This seems a bit too outlandish to be true. Am I daft or would this be like the Senate trying to pass a bill that would make it unnessisary fo rlaws to go through the House?

Hopefully not offtopic... (0, Offtopic)

ductonius (705942) | about 8 years ago | (#14976789)

Good thing the UK is safer now that they've virtually abolished the private ownership of firearms. There's now no chance of those dangerous and unseemly uprisings that generally happen when parts of the govornment are bypassed.

Never forget that any govornment that does not fear it citizens will eventually abuse its citizen.

Looks like the govornment in the UK is losing its fear.

Re:Hopefully not offtopic... (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 8 years ago | (#14976866)

Oh, god. Not the "guns will make us free" argument again.

Okay - lets assume that we arm every citizen of the British Isles, and that the government tries to push this bill through. Now what? Do we get a rag tag army together, march up to the gates in front of Downing street and start shooting at people, until they send the tanks in? What will that achieve?

American Dictator (0, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 8 years ago | (#14976840)

The US has now installed both Roberts and Alito onto our Supreme Court with their "judicial philosophy" of a "unitary executive" [google.com]. That is, the president runs the entire government from his Executive Branch, the Judicial Branch just finds ways to interpret the president's decisions, and Congress is a medium to the public, to be informed of policy details when it suits the president.

Just this week, Bush signed into law a bill that was not Constitutional, because it had not been agreed in the same terms by both Senate and House of Representatives. So he "fixed it" with a "signing statement" [tpmcafe.com] declaring how he will execute the law. Signing statements have no force of law, or any existence beyond a recent ceremonial ritual. But now someone can bring this unconstitutional law before the Supreme Court, where Roberts and Alito can lead a decision to create a precedent for making the signing statement the executable law.

When the Senate confirmed Alito everyone knew he considers Congress optional. Now they've sent him the legal tools to make that the force of law. Why should the UK have all the dictator fun?

Re:American Dictator (1)

hamburger lady (218108) | about 8 years ago | (#14977002)

The US has now installed both Roberts and Alito onto our Supreme Court with their "judicial philosophy" of a "unitary executive" [google.com]. That is, the president runs the entire government from his Executive Branch, the Judicial Branch just finds ways to interpret the president's decisions, and Congress is a medium to the public, to be informed of policy details when it suits the president

yeah, i'm sure they'll keep that attitude when a democrat is elected president.

Commonwealth Politics (1)

stoutpuppy (889407) | about 8 years ago | (#14976846)

I think most of you are forgetting about the differences between American and UK (and at least some common wealth countries). If it's anything like in Canada these guys don't even get voted in so they're basically just a lingering monarchy, not quite a democracy. Why let some guys who don't even show up for work half the time who are just buddies with the Prime Minister get paid lots of money and have say of what real people want when they do not represent the real people.

The Queen? (5, Interesting)

dadragon (177695) | about 8 years ago | (#14976847)

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.

How Emperor Blair will rule without bureaucracy... (5, Funny)

Too many errors, bai (815931) | about 8 years ago | (#14976855)

"The regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battlestation."

Third Time Lucky (1)

rabbitfood (586031) | about 8 years ago | (#14976873)

This is the third time that I know of that they've tried this Belarussian provision. The House of Lords (the 'revising' chamber, that used to be stuffed to the rafters with accidents of birth and which is now stuffed to the rafters with accidents of money) have tried to insist a 'sunset' clause - being that, after a certain time, any such legislation automatically lapses, without success.

But seeing as the Civil Contingencies Act provides for the current Prime Minister to (a) declare a state of emergency and (b) once declared, amend any law he likes e.g. any requirement for democratic elections, this would seem redundant, unless it's the Chancellor that wants to be President for Life.

Happily, living in the UK means that I can make such claims without fear of

Hunting law??? (1)

donrich39 (723851) | about 8 years ago | (#14976874)

I missed the Hunting Law, ... was that where they made it illegal for Dick Chaney to hunt in the UK?

Remember, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976876)

Remember, the Fifth of November.

To a non-brit.. (1)

BigZaphod (12942) | about 8 years ago | (#14976892)

On the surface this sounds like an attempt to bring back the monarchy. Not all at once, mind you, but just with a different set of people being in power.

Re:To a non-brit.. (1)

Angostura (703910) | about 8 years ago | (#14976947)

Oh, I don't think anyone is suggesting that Prime Minister should be made a hereditary position. Perhaps you meant oligarchy [wikipedia.org].

Constitution? (2, Informative)

krlynch (158571) | about 8 years ago | (#14976904)

A question for our British friends: the Guardian article, at least three times, refers to the "constitutional implications" of this proposed legislation. But the UK has no written constitution (I realize there are charters and precedent and common law heritage and all that, but there is no constitution in the sense that most nations have "A Constitution" that sets out the structure of the government). As I understand it, the "constitution" (little c) of British government is (more or less) whatever Parliament decides it is; there are essentially no fundamental "restrictions" on what Parliament can decide to do. Is the article trying to imply anything more than "constitutional implications" in the sense of modifying centuries of precedent, or is it something deeper that I am not seeing? Thanks!

Re:Constitution? (3, Informative)

paulkman (962983) | about 8 years ago | (#14976964)

The "constitution" of the UK is basically just that, centuries of precedent. Some stuff is written down (like the Magna Carta), but for the most part, it's all tradition. In this sense, parliament itself has placed restrictions on itself by acting the way it has for several centuries.

Absolutely Redundant... (1, Funny)

creimer (824291) | about 8 years ago | (#14976905)

Why would you need a parliament after the building was destroyed at the end of "V For Vendetta"?

And We Aren't? (2, Insightful)

Dankling (596769) | about 8 years ago | (#14976912)

Anybody with a high school degree education in US Government knows that our government was purposefully made to be redundant.

It's called Checks and Balances and it's why our government is still in operation (though many will argue its effectiveness). We separate the powers of law making between the senate and the house and give the president a veto. Wow, Redundant! We even have these crazy people that can even interpret these laws in crazy ways so as to fit the current times.

Recap: Bill goes through house and senate, gets signed by president then gets interpreted by judges. And who's complaining about only a second body of redundancy in England?

Nobody Even Likes Them!

The same indeed (2, Insightful)

Rick Zeman (15628) | about 8 years ago | (#14976941)

Watching, I reflected that this was truly how democracy is extinguished. Not with guns and bombs, but from the inside by officials and politicians who deceive with guile and who no longer pretend to countenance the higher interests of the constitution

Hello, George W. Bush.

Hm. (4, Insightful)

mattpointblank (936343) | about 8 years ago | (#14976950)

If GCSE History serves me correctly, didn't Hitler [1] do something like this? Some bill that granted him "emergency powers" over the Reichstag that meant he could pass laws on his own? One step closer to dictatorship we step..

[1]Note that I'm not equating Tony Blair to Hitler or Labour to the Nazis or anything, just an interesting co-incidence..

Re:Hm. (1)

cnerd2025 (903423) | about 8 years ago | (#14976992)

Yeah, it was like that. Hitler staged an attack on Germany and thus was able to claim emergency powers. Then he eliminated all opponents.

P is for Parliament (1)

CatOne (655161) | about 8 years ago | (#14976967)

Particularly pesky in this pugilannimous period, practically prone practices such as parliament should be permanently purged.

Just like australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14976979)

It's funny how these righties copy each other in their overlording.

Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14977067)

This is why we need an elected second house. It's a convenient excuse for the Government to waive any check on its power by simply claiming that because the Lords are unelected, the Government can simply ignore them whenever it wants.
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