to the Financial Times is here.

The Constitution Society, with CentreForum, staged five great events on this subject (the first is here).  Their letter reminds us that much of what is wrong with government in this country is little to do with moats and duckhouses.    Their recommendations seem excellent:

* New legislation should be introduced only when it is genuinely needed, and not as part of the governing party’s attempt to dominate the media agenda.

* Policy should be based on evidence and analysis.

* Legislation should be properly prepared and clearly drafted.

* New bills should be limited to their essential purposes and to a volume compatible with thorough parliamentary scrutiny without automatic guillotining in the Commons.

The list of signatories is impressive: disclosure, Nat le Roux was my boss for ten years.


5 thoughts on “Letter from the Constitution Society

  1. The question is who bells the cat. Just saying government shouldn’t intriduce new regulations just to get on TV won’t stop it being worthwhile doing so.

    Perahps having an elected 2nd chamber with the power to veto & repeal bills or hold them back for a couple of years on less than a 50% + 1 vote & elected in some different way from the Commons. Say a 20 year term, or in an election where people can give a negative vote, or only those paying matre in tax than they receive voting. I am assuming the Commons elected by PR.

  2. Good lord. A letter to a national newspaper that basically says “Government must govern well”. I’m not sure what this says about those involved. That the signatories have too much free time, that the FT receives too few decent letters, or that the governance of this country has been so poor, that a cry for common sense is seen as a radical act.

  3. All well and good, but personally, of course, I prefer my idea – that *before* throwing money, resources or regulation at an issue, government should look to see whether its own previous actions, in granting privilege, protecting interests or just plain bad legislation, has created the problem they are seeking to solve in the first place.

    Of course, governments of most parties would find it very difficult, given that they created the privilege, protected interests or put in place bad laws in the first place.

    I always think of Herbert Spencer’s enumeration of the number of laws repealed in particular periods in “The Sins of the Legislators” where he ends with the warning “Seeing, then, that bad legislation means injury to men’s lives, judge what must be the total amount of mental distress, physical pain, and raised mortality, which these thousands of repealed Acts of Parliament represent!”

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