Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"If the government becomes a lawbreaker ..."

posted by k

The Lord Chancellor is about to make a speech.
As usual, snippets of the speech have been released in advance. This helps the government manage press reaction.

One snippet is particularly illuminating. Lord Falconer will say, "In overcoming terrorism, policy must come first and the law second." This is being billed as an attack on human rights lawyers and judges. That spin suggests what the speech means.

Presumably Lord Falconer is not making the common sense point that policy decisions precede law. He is suggesting something much more disturbing: that government policy should be above the law.

Perhaps Lord Falconer should remember where laws originate. Laws come from parliament. Members of parliament enact laws by majority decision in two houses. Lawyers act within what law permits. Judges interpret laws. They do not act outside the law.

If Lord Falconer is worried about dangerous decisions made by judges, he should look at how they are appointed. Which wild revolutionary body or individual gives jobs to these dangerously anti-establishment judges? It's the Department of Constitutional Affairs, headed by Lord Falconer as Lord Chancellor. How worrying for him. He'd better investigate and sack himself.

Or is it parliament to blame? Does parliament refuse to pass government policies? Do MPs know their responsibility to their electorate and think before voting? I hope so.

Lord Falconer's words suggest a denial of his own responsibility. They disregard the careful democratic process by which laws are made. Lord Falconer indicates that government ministers want to be free of responsibility to people, parliament and law.

A government that is unaccountable to people, parliament and law is a dictatorship.


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