Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Constitutional Vandalism?


The former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, gave a significant interview with the 'Today' programme on Tuesday, concerning the radical proposal to split the Home Office in two and effectively create a new Ministry of Justice. The interview is worth listening to in full, and is available on the Today programme website (Listen Again section - look for Tuesday 23rd. April), and also here, on the BBC News site. He gives a measured but alarming view of the constitutional propriety of the way in which this 'reform' is being undertaken. His main issue is both the lack of deliberation - it has not been debated by parliament - and the impact of such a reform upon individual liberty. One of his key points was this:

"There has been no debate. Parliament has not considered this, but it is going to apparently happen on 9 May.
"I really think with our constitutional arrangements, we should be more careful about how these matters are dealt with.
"We have no written constitution which is entrenched and our constitution works through checks and balances and it is very important that if we are starting to alter the framework of checks and balances, that the matter is looked at carefully."


With these comments, he not only gets to the heart of the problem with this current reform but also, arguably, with the whole way in which this government chooses to do business. Listen and make up your own minds.

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