Thursday, March 27, 2008

Welcome To Dictatorship

There is a Bill going through Parliament which will allow the removal, revoking or repealing of ANY Act of Parliament by order of a Minister. As has been pointed out on Guido Fawkes's site, this is actually more dictatorial than the Nazi's managed.

According to Jack Straw, the Bill would only have five parts (see paragraph three, here), but part six is where the kicker is.

Part 6
43 Power to make consequential provision

(1) A Minister o the Crown, or two or more Ministers of the Crown acting jointly, may by order make such provision as the Minister or Ministers consider appropriate in consequence of this Act.

(2) An order under subsection (1) may --

(a) amend, repeal or revoke any provision made by or an Act;

(b) include transitional or saving provision.

(3) An order under subsection (1) is to be made by statutory instrument.

(4) A statutory instrument containing an order under subsection (1) which amends or repeals a provision of an Act may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

(5) A statutory instrument containing an order under subsection (1) which does not amend or repeal a provision of an Act is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

And before you go slightly mad trying to work out just what that means, may I recommend the excellent SpyBlog's dissection of the true meaning.

The abuse of the catch all, excessively broad wording "amend, repeal or revoke any provision made by or an Act" means that even the Constitutional Acts like Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights 1689, Habeas Corpus, the European Communities Act, the Human Rights Act, the Civil Contingencies Act etc. can all be repealed or amended without the need for a full debate, or for new Primary Legislation, simply by Order of a Minister.

Such an Order could be passed, after a "debate" of about 40 minutes with 15 or 20 minutes for the actual voting through the lobbies, by a quorum of MPs as small as 40 i.e. only 21 Government MPs needed to rubber stamp an Order by a single Secretary of State, if the Order is even debated on the floor of the House of Commons.

It could also be rubber stamped by an even smaller committee of MPs, without any members of the public or the media present.


If this Bill goes through unamended, there is essentially no need for Parliament, no need for elections. While we've not been living in a democracy for quite some time, this would move us into the land of dictatorship.

UPDATE: Apparently this isn't as bad as SpyBlog are reading it. The Head Of Legal gives a different version of the interpretation here

However, revolution is still the only way to bring about change.

I am the revolution.

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