Monday, 19 October 2009

This government and legislation

One of the things to really get me steamed up lately is the way this useless government uses legislation as another way of avoiding responsibility.

Have you noticed how they never take responsibility themselves for anything? If there is inadequate performance in the NHS, it's failing trusts that are responsible, and have been told to "improve, or else". Schools must improve, or else. It's never the government's fault. Never.

It's the reason for most of the legislation. They think they can demonstrate that they have addressed issues simply by forcing a new piece of law through parliament. All this nonsense that is the ISA - all of it poorly drafted, and hurriedly pushed through.

A few years ago, when I worked in industry, I was part of an "expert group" helping to advise the DTI (as was) team who were responsible for the detail of a new bill, which had technology implications quite fundamental to the way industry works, and which would put new, very serious requirements on industry which if breached, could (and have) result in multi-million pound fines, and even jail sentences. The DTI "team", which numbered three at most, had no experience in the field in which the act would operate, and failed to address the real issues adequately. In the end, the act was passed with serious vagueness about exactly what was required in order to comply. There was a danger that people could get in serious trouble through different interpretations of the provisions. In the end, as far as I can see, essentially lip service is being paid to compliance, and the real intent of parts of the act has never really been dealt with.

How many other pieces of legislation are like that, I wonder? At the very least, a great waste of time and money, and a cluttering up of the legislative system

And then, today, I heard Peter Hain on radio, telling us that Nick Griffin shouldn't be allowed on Question Time this week because the BNP is "an illegal organisation" - by which he meant that they were not legally constituted, as ruled recently. Jack Straw said the same thing on QT last week. Idiots. It's a sad day when people run out of real cases to argue and result to that kind of attitude. I've no time for the BNP, but censorship, and that's all it would be, is entirely the wrong way to deal with them. Where would it end?

And then - such irony - you hear MPs (unfortunately on all sides) claiming that the Legg letters are against the law. Idiots, idiots, idiots! Are they really that far out of touch that they don't realise that whether it's against the law or not is not the point (though as so many others have pointed out, it can't be against the law, since the expenses rules said any claims had to be for costs incurred solely for the purpose of fulfilling their MP duties).

Bottom line, for me, is that the law sets a framework, and is mainly a safety net, a last resort. People should do their jobs, behave decently, give and earn respect. Individual responsibility and accountability.


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