Left Out Liberal

A left-wing/liberal look at the UK's General Election of 2005.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Lords Not Lapdogs

As I type, the House of Commons is once more considering the reasoned amendments made by the Lords when they met once more at 5am. As usual, there's a lot of disgraceful language being used in attempts to bully and scare those opposing, with all the usual "the blood will be on their hands if they do not destroy our centuries of liberty!" nonsense present. John Denham is one of the worst proponents of this kind of lie.

Nevertheless, it's been a fascinating 24 hours. The Lords continue to resist the Commons, and when I went to bed at 1am last night, I was expecting to wake up and check the news this morning to see the Lords had backed down.

Not so. The Lords are opposing, and we're entering constitutional unchartered territory. However, I believe that these issues touch upon vital civil liberties in this country, therefore the Lords is entirely justified in continuing to ask the Commons to think again. This is the nature of our unwritten constitution.

No one really knows where this is going to go. The sunset clause seems the most sensible thing here, and I am hoping the government will finally concede on this. It makes sense to force Parliament to entirely rewrite this piece of trash after one year. Doing so does not "increase the terrorist threat" or "show weakness to terrorists" as the Government is saying. This is one of the worst defences of a bad piece of law that I have ever seen, and it is making me more than a little suspicious that there is something more behind this Bill than the Government is letting on.

The Lords are telling the Commons to think again. Indeed, they are arguing that the Commons should have a chance to examine the Bill at all; all the amendments and proper consideration of the Bill in its current state have been made in the Lords, and the Commons have never had a chance to consider it line-by-line.

The majorities in the Lords are falling. I suspect many of them decided to go to bed, rather than have changed their mind. Hopefully, now it looks like this will return to the Lords later, they will return to cast their vote. They cannot back down on this: these are vital principles of liberty that we are on the brink of waving goodbye to, possibly forever, if no sunset clause is reached. Surely it doesn't make sense that we keep these laws, even if the terrorist threat (which is exaggerated anyway) ever were to disappear. The situation changes. We need this protection.

But these are interesting times. It's good to see a little bit of turmoil every now and then...


Post a Comment

<< Home