Monday, November 21, 2005


Democracy and public opinion

Today’s Guardian leads with a story that Tony Blair is warning the Lords not to interfere with anti-terror legislation that the public clearly supports. This is an odd thing for a British politician to do as it flies directly in the face of how our system works. We do not have a plebiscitary democracy but a parliamentary one. We elect people to parliament to consider such matters and judge them on our behalf. As an example, public opinion has for a long time favoured the death penalty yet parliament has countermanded insistent demands to bring it back on the well considered grounds that: it makes very little difference to the murder rate; it can kill innocent people; and is not morally appropriate in a civilized society. People spraying prejudices around the public bars of the land are less well suited to making laws than those given that job in the highest debating chamber in the land.

Admittedly the role of the Lords is ambiguous as it has still not been reformed- and whose fault is that one might ask the man who favours no change- but it is still one of the two houses of parliament. Seems to me it’s no good citing public support in the country when parliament exists to provide a superior and better considered judgment. More-over, if public opinion is so important, then how come it was ignored over the decision to invade Iraq? You can’t have it both ways Tony. And whilst on that topic, it seems a little odd to cite widespread police support for anti-terror legislation while ignoring their opposition to liberalization of the licensing laws. Consistency is a sure test of good law as it is of a logical mind.

Our Tony is looking decidedly peaky these days - I refer to the interview boradcast on the BBC immediately after his first (and second) ever commons defeat - he's either under a lot of emotional or mental strain if not both. You can tell by his face that he's severely beaten down, possibly starting to lose his grasp on reality.
Since when did her care SO much about what the police and the public (alledgedly) say anyway?
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