The Tories have always been keen to present tax cuts as essential for business confidence and investment, growth and making the country a desirable place to work and live. They are clearly less interested in focusing on other factors that influence business and personal decisions. Let’s take two of these: good governance and certainty about laws that affect you. Yes, I’m afraid it’s time to revisit the retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill and the Bill of Rights Bill. (Yes, that’s unrealistic. Address the charges to bill sponsor Rob. We can add crimes against the English language and history to the indictment he faces.)
The Retained EU Law Bill is a variation of Rees-Mogg, based on the belief that the moment Britain repeals all EU law it will return to its Garden of Eden, a British Garden you understand, before the fall and increase the tyrannical, unnecessary EU rules. Like almost everything else said by Rees-Mogg, this is nonsense. The bill proposes to get rid of all EU laws by the end of this year, except those ministers decide to keep or change. Any laws not reviewed or repealed by the end of 2023 will automatically be removed from the statute books. Tough Act (indefinite) can be extended till 2026.
It can work if we work with a handful of laws. But we don’t. There are ca. There are 4,000 laws to consider across every aspect of life: employment, environment, food and product safety, consumer rights, financial services, VAT, data protection, cyber security, intellectual property, bankruptcy, business transfers, etc. It is a vast body of law that underpins every aspect of daily and commercial life. Businesses make investment decisions, structure themselves, train their employees, build products based on it. Then there is all the case law arising from and relying on these laws and the general principles of EU law (which will no longer apply), including all subsidiary regulations. (Each government department has at least 18 pieces of legislation to consider every day during the 223 working days on New Year’s Eve. On top of all the other work of the executive branch. And events. It would tax the most efficient well-run administration imaginable. It would overwhelm the government and administration we currently have.)
Now all this must be washed away. How? By whom? Determining which of these laws to retain in whole or in part, which to get rid of entirely, and which to amend is an important task that requires careful consideration of the law, the consequences of the change, and the impact of other laws. It will take time, careful thought and, you guessed it, consultation with those affected.
After all, it was all about taking back control, right? Think again. Perhaps the worst aspect of the bill is how it gives the executive – not Parliament – the choice whether to replace a law, by what means, enact new replacement laws and by making secondary legislation which other laws (on top of the 4,000 laws already mentioned) use the bill. The executive has already seized power. In practice, members of parliament must completely bypass the normal process of considering, debating and voting on new laws or changes to existing laws. The Regulatory Policy Committee called the bill a “red flag”, noting that the Business Department has done no proper risk assessment of the bill’s impact. The former Lord Chief Justice, Igor Judge, gave a brief fatality speech This week’s House of Lords rejected the bill in debate.
This is a frivolous, childish and dangerous approach to legislation. It’s not taking back control. It is an autocratic and undemocratic power grab. The Executive himself is giving”We do what we want“Power. Because there would be little time for any sort of scrutiny and consultation, the likelihood — a running certainty, really — would be that it would lead to poor, confusing legislation, unintended consequences, and enormous uncertainty, cost, and chaos for everyone. Only lawyers will benefit. There is no point in reducing taxes if the money is then spent on legal advice.
Then we have the Bill of Rights, Raab’s attempt to rewrite the Human Rights Act. It is presented as a necessary reform. In fact, consensus is set in the Joint Parliamentary Human Rights Committee Report, this is another power grab by the executive, deliberately weakening the ability of individuals and businesses to hold government accountable. It is worth reading the committee’s analysis. As polite as that is, it’s a damning wreck of the bill and RAB’s justification for it.
The rule of law, certainty about what the law is, stability, orderly confidence, evidence-based governance, checks and balances, sound advice, the ability to hold authorities accountable and enforce rights are essential basic structures for a country. investment
Why should businesses invest in Britain with such uncertainty? With such weak governance? With a government – a conservative The (alleged) government – intent on destroying almost everything to make Britain a reliable protected country? If you have a little idea of what a government wants to create, let’s make such a plan?
EU Bill will now be in charge of a new business and trade department headed by Kimi Badenoch. He has a chance to show whether he wants to be a serious politician, one who understands the needs of business, what a strong growing economy needs (and can actually start the process of restoring the Tory party’s reputation). Or whether he’ll stay in the party’s Brexit safe haven – Rees-mug in a dress. As for Rab, it’s time for him and his bad Bill to go.
It was the Romanian writer, Panait Istrati, who said of Communism in the 1930s: “Well, I see the broken egg. Where is your omelette?How odd that 90 years later this accurately describes the destructive approach of a Tory government.