Saturday, August 01, 2009
The Good Old Days?
Parliament's reputation is at something of a low ebb these days, partly because of the MPs' expenses scandal, and more seriously because of the steady attrition of Members' power as Government increasingly sidelines Parliamentary debate in favour of hastily cobbled-together secondary legislation. Much of the damaging and useless legislation that has been foisted on us in recent years would have been a good deal better if it had received proper Parliamentary scrutiny.
But before we get too misty-eyed about the old days, it's worth having a look at some of the stuff discussed by an earlier generation. This Hansard extract from the 1950s includes a contribution from the late Barbara Castle, mentor to Jack Straw. She was a left wing firebrand, and I doubt that the young Barbara would have approved of her protégé's authoritarian streak.