Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Glad to be wrong

A couple of months ago I blogged about the British Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, which would have allowed the British government to bypass Parliament and effectively legislate by Ministerial decree on a wide range of subjects (including fundamental constitutional and human rights issues like jury trials or freedom of speech). I concluded with the depressing thought that, this being Britian, the government would probably get away with passing it.

It looks like I was wrong. Over the weekend, the British government backed down, and is now promising to amend the bill to prevent the possible abuses raised by critics and allow far wider democratic oversight. This is a good move. There's unquestionably a role for delegated legislation, but that delegation must always be tightly limited and subjected to proper scrutiny. And a government's promise not to abuse power just doesn't cut it.

Now, if only they could stop Parliament from abusing its power as well...