Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Secret Courts

Well, they have gone and done it; a "Conservative" government at that.  Parliament yesterday voted for more secret courts.  I say "more" because we already have secret courts.  You don't know about them because, well, they're secret.

Bigger than the issue of what Parliament has actually done, is the problem with 'creeping legislation'.  In five year's time this Act will barely resemble what our MPs voted for yesterday.  There will be Appeal Court modifications and amendments-in-council.  The safeguards (such as they are) that mollified supine Members of Parliament will gradually and assiduously be eroded.

Before long government lawyers will be lobbying for secret trials on any matter that could conceivably be argued as 'national security'.  That will mean anything to do with government funding, taxation, the activities of senior politicians and royalty, our relationship with foreign powers, what goes on in European Union meetings.  Everything that involves the government conceivably involves 'national security'.

This action also neatly nullifies the Freedom of Information Act - at least on any enquiry of substance.

Our only hope now is that the House Of Lords will make significant amendments that offer us some protection.  This is the body, you will remember, that T. Blair has partly sabotaged by politicising it.

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