The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Will The Great Repeal Bill Really Be Great?

Posted by The Futility Monster on July 28, 2010 @ 21:49

Well, I can see a few that definitely won't be happening...

There is much interest over the idea of the Coalition’s “Freedom Bill”, particularly over what might be in it. They even launched a website asking people for their ideas, though maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. After all, only cranks inhabit the internet.

But, from a political hack’s perspective, the interesting part is whether this whole idea comes together in the end.

What makes a Bill like the Freedom Bill so difficult is that it could potentially contain hundreds of different ideas. Bills of this nature are loathed by governments and whips alike because it makes it extremely difficult to get the message across not just to the country, but to the MPs themselves. Everyone might well have their pet project in there, but if they dislike something else which another MP likes, it soon becomes a nightmare to work out who is for the package and who is against it.

You can bet your life that Labour will oppose the Freedom Bill. After all, most of it will be their legislation and regulations for the chop. Still, one would expect a smooth passage this early in the coalition’s lifespan. But what goes on behind the scenes in the meantime will be fascinating.

It will invoke a level of horse-trading never before seen in Parliament. Never before (and probably never again) will such a disparate group of concepts be brought together under one piece of legislation. It will be easy for an MP to say he/she won’t support until their idea gets recognised, because the Bill will contain hundreds of others, and surely one little extra one won’t hurt anyone?

But maybe it will. Maybe adding it will piss off a group of other MPs. And to keep them on board, they might want their own little addition. Or removal. Setting off another group of “rebels”. Oh, what fun!

The Government Whips Office will indeed be working overtime. Their great spreadsheets of which MPs are gettable, and which are beyond hope, along with a running vote tally, might be exciting for us nerds.

Or maybe the whole idea just won’t survive after all. Surely it will be just too difficult to get a majority to unite over hundreds of these different ideas? That’s assuming the coalition’s formal discussion process can even agree on a list in the first place.

Maybe it will end up being far more modest than we hoped. A small removal of some of the most odious rules and regulations that the governing parties can unite behind as the worst examples of Labour’s illiberalism.

Ahh, grasshopper. Maybe that’s why it’s not called the Great Repeal Bill any more…

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