Saturday, 26 January 2013

A Thought

Our Parliament has been around for over 300 years now (if you date it back to the Act of Union 1707).  No-one actually knows how many laws have been passed in that time, but a decent guess is  3,679 since 1801.  Whatever the actual number is, it is a lot - and the rate of new laws seems to be increasing rather than decreasing.

So why isn't the UK perfect now?

Surely, if politicians sitting in the House of Commons passing laws was the answer to social problems, we would have it sorted out by now?  Granted, new laws are needed to cope with new things like (say) cars - pre-existing laws could not cope with that, and a Road Traffic Act or the like would be needed in order to regulate them.  As we gained in experience, we would also need to go back to the Road Traffic Act once or twice in order to amend it as needed in the light of that experience.  But that doesn't explain the sheer volume of legislation that issues from Westminster and Brussels.  That doesn't explain 3,679 laws and counting.

The logical conclusion, therefore, is that politicians don't achieve much social good.  Politicians, in short, don't work.  Perhaps we should pass a law to ban them?


  1. I don't think that's a very good idea at all!

    And 3600 seems a very low figure.
    New Labour alone were reported to have made 3,600 just under Blair and Brown. And a similar number of new criminal offences.

  2. Full blown laws or statutory instruments? If you include the later it probably gets into the tens of thousands since 1801.

  3. The number refers to Acts of Parliament, and the source is the House of Commons library. Even that is only a guess, they admit that no-one really knows.

  4. This is what constitutions are usually for, under a "classical liberal" system. What we have in Britain is a parliamentary tyranny restrained only by what party leaders think they can get away with.

    I propose a slimmed-down system whereby Parliament is prevented from passing laws on certain subjects without explicit approval of the electorate, and severely limiting the amount of time available to Parliamentarians to consider legislation.

    For example I gather that in Texas the state legislature meets once a year. That must force legislators to concentrate their minds..!

  5. I like this meeting once a year idea.
    Providing we get paid for a full year, of course.

    1. Yes you would get paid your usual earnings for the time you had to take off from your normal work. Of course, we (the electorate) would have to decide each year who is going to get sent to Westminster for a few days.