Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Consequences of Too Many Bills

The Conservatives have pre-empted tomorrow's Queen's Speech by doing an analysis of the Bills in last year's Speech. Their research shows that of the thirty Bills promised, almost half have been scrapped, delayed, watered down or amended because they were unworkable. The bills scrapped announced in the Queen's Speech and subsequently scrapped or heavily delayed were: Welfare Reform Bill, Management of Offenders Bill, Mental Health Bill, Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill, European Union Bill. And these were heavily amended or watered down: Education and Inspections Bill, Health Bill, Racial and Religious Hatred Bill, Equality Bill, Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, Company Law Reform Bill,
Identity Cards Bill, Violent Crime Reduction Bill

So why is that interesting? Because it's a sign of a government reaching the end of its natural shelf life when it can't get its legislation through Parliament despite a big majority, and that it brings forward Bills at very short notice whhich are badly drafted and have to be shelved or heavily delayed. There are many echoes of the dying days of the Major government here. So desperate are they to rpove they are fizzing with ideas and haven't run out of steam that they stuff the parliamentary timetable full of Bills which are badly thought out and haven't a hope in hell on becoming law.

And that's what I expect them to do tomorrow. Instead of announcing a tight Parliamentary programme with 15-20 Bills, we'll get another long list of Bills, half of which won;t ever complete their passage.


Anonymous said...

They are a shambles: moral cowards, focus group-fixated, navel-gazing, lacking all direction and principle. I say this as a "natural Labour voter". Feel my pain!

Anonymous said...

The second part of your list of bills just shows that the Lords is doing it's work, which it has been doing for years - nothing new there.

And the Mental Health bill was the work of a very hardworking lobby.

Anonymous said...

I understand ol' Maggie had a bit of a problem with one of her Bills being outright defeated (not something this Government has had to suffer) in around 1982.

She lasted another eight or so years nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

One of my favourite Private Eye covers ever featured a picture of the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament. Inevitably, she had a speech bubble from her mouth :-

'I hope everyone realises I'm not the one who writes this rubbish..'

No doubt Simon Hoggart will have something equally scathing to say about it, he usually does.

Anonymous said...

I suppose that eventually a Government with real backbone will get HM to stand up and say 'My Government is withdrawing the following Bills from the Statute Book.....'

But almost certainly not in my lifetime - or yours, probably, Iain.

Anonymous said...

This is nothing new. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 stands (if that's quite the right word) as testament to the incompetence of this government. Many of its provisions will now never be implemented - despite many of those involved in the Criminal Justice System having undergone training in anticipation of their introduction. Other sections have been repealed without ever coming into force.

I think the Tories ought to promise not to introduce ANY new legislation for 12 months after taking office. Then, having found just how shitty the Augean Stables are, they can start to clear out this pile of manure that NuLab has created.

Anonymous said...

And the speaker said that the leadership of the Labour Party was only a matter for its members. Not when they alone will choose the next PM it isn't.

Jeff said...

I know that this governmnet has billed every tax payer but has yet to deliver the goods.

So it is not just the bills going through parliament that have been watered down.

James Maskell said...

Some of those bills were heavily amended for the right reasons, and eventually passed. LRRB for example. The Mental Health Bill was stopped due to heavy criticism from outside Parliament. Welfare Reform was never going to make its way through as the queue was long as well as it being a dificult one to navigate for whatever Government there was. The Company Law Reform Bill as I recall got watered down due to an unprecedented number of amendments by Opposition MPs determined to water it down.

Some of these failed Bills have been rolled over as it were to the upcoming session and will be passed then. The Lords did a good job ensuring that Bills were properly scrutinised...the LRRB for example is a great example of that. After 9 years, even with a majority that big, this is very much par for the course. Rebels have more sway than they did in 1997.

Anonymous said...

These Bills have one thing in common - to patch up the cock-ups New Labour have created.

What idiot on Newsnight decided to say that the Islamic terrorist threat was the worst SINCE the IRA. Islamic terrorists cells are one or two orders of magnitude more numerous than the IRA - Newsnight get some objective perspective please.