Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The tragedy of the Commons

I'm kinda torn - OK, I support abolishing the House of Lords, but then I support trial by Jury - which the Lords have just defended. By the same token, though, they might well overthrow the sexual orientation regulations (SORs) that the churches loathe so.

Should I savour the Lords, rejoice in their sagacity, regret their follies?

Should I, that is, play practical politics and welcome whatever stick drums out my cause? I think not. I'm glad the erosion of trial by jury and the crasss stupidity that entails has been defeated (it was clearly a matter of change management and death by a thousand cuts) - but I won't welcome that the Lords did it, nor thank them. I still consider their intervention illegitimate and unwanted.

A great deal of harm is done by procedural power politics and doing things because you can without, per se, winning the argument or making the case - especially as if someone were to contrive a way around the procedural power point or to eliminate it altogether then nothing is there to prevent stupidity. Winning the argument is the only reasonable means to any political ends.

To reiterate the importance of Juries - they are there so we can consider that crimes are something that can be understood by the layperson. If fraud trials are too complex that is the fault of legislators and prosecutors for failing to make the tests clear enough. Nothing to do with ancient rights or whatever, but common sense that the minimum we want from our courts is that they maintain confidence in themselves and their proceedings.

Sling out the Lords, they're no bloody good.

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