How democracy works

How does a bill like the one passed Monday become law?

Rational debate? Considered opinion? Not at all. The word of one apparatchik is law and no discussion is allowed. Read the debate for yourself:

Mr. Heath: On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I wonder whether there is any precedent for taking a Division on a completely undebated new clause, which falls in a later group that we have not yet reached, which is in the hands of Back Benchers from an opposition party and which has not even been moved. Is there a precedent for that?

Madam Deputy Speaker: I have made a decision, and given my ruling and the reasons why this vote has been taken. I have nothing further to add.

5 Responses to “How democracy works”

  1. Julian Todd says:

    As usual, it requires me to do the real hard dog-work that none of your high-fallutin professional journalists ever seem to get round to!

    http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2009-03-02&number=45

  2. vaci says:

    At first glance I thought rule 53A read: “the returning officer shall destroy each candidate’s home address three weeks after the election”

  3. John L Bell says:

    It couldn’t be an attempt to obscure any investigation of which particular property
    tax payers’ money has being spent? Not on a second home but unauthorised property portfolios.
    As a tax paying citizen I object to paying for their second homes….. never mind extending
    their property portfolio.
    Sections 2-4 of the Fraud Act will be their downfall.
    It is just a matter of time!

  4. heather says:

    Julian,
    Sadly there are few journalists who have the time and support to do this sort of work. I don’t know if it’s the fault of the media organisations who demand too much from fewer and fewer reporters or the general public who seem only interested in trivia and celeb news than in what’s actually happening in their own country.

    You should be proud that you’re one of the elite fact peddlers.

  5. Nick says:

    Isn’t it more a case of David Heath not understanding the system as well as Julian Lewis? He seems to have asked for a debate *after* the vote has been counted! So it’s unsurprising that the Deputy Speaker (an elected MP, by the way, hardly an appointed functionary) decides that there is to be no further discussion. If Heath had been paying attention, he’d have moved his point of order immediately after Lewis’s: before the vote. It’s not unusual for a debate to have a time limit, or for MPs to try all sort of procedural shenanigans to get their favoured provisions through before that time limit, so Heath should have been aware.

    Anyway, as you no doubt know, this provision has *not* become law yet. It still has to pass through the Lords. Now, they are apparatchiks, but they will have the ability to remove this clause, or at least change it sufficiently that it is debated fully when the bill returns to the Commons.

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