Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sitting on a Thursday

Buried in the Order Paper: a Sessional Order to allow the House to sit, by motion, on Thursday mornings. Its not urgency, and wouldn't allow the normal rules around the introduction of legislation or gaps between readings to be bypassed, but it would allow more time while also allowing select committees to operate.

This neatly strips the government of its major Crosby-Textor spin line used to justify its systematic abuse of urgency: that they like to "work hard" (in supposed contrast to the opposition, and implicitly smearing anyone who wants proper scrutiny of legislation as "lazy"). Sadly, I don't think that will stop them doing it - the reason for urgency has almost always been about a desire to shut down the conversation and legislate before the public can object, rather than any real need for speed. But it will reduce the extent of the abuse somewhat, and hopefully will help build the culture that urgency is unacceptable even further.