The Professors passion for "The Science of Deceit" started here...

Employed by the Ministry (in a covert capacity) to help introduce the law ending dishonest politics, you can see his hand all over the posts of past.

Current political circumstances have forced him to reveal himself and as we speak, MPs are signing up to re-introduce The Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill for debate with over 80,000 voters supporting them.

Posts before Jan '08 are purely for the record (with hindsight they make fascinating reading). Posts after May 13th mark the Professor's return.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Geese and Gander

Parliamentarians aren't subject to the same laws as the rest of us when it comes to misrepresenting the facts, making misleading statements etc. . We've seen a whole bunch of explanations on this blog. Unwritten constitution, 300 years of history, self regulation...

Dominic Lawson found the answer in the Independent.

The fact is, they don't want to be subject to the same law as us. We've just seen the kind of fallout the 2006 Equality Bill can produce with gay adoptions v. the Catholic. Nevertheless, the government put it's foot down - "We are all equal. No discrimination. No exceptions."

So it's a little suprising to find that there are in fact some exceptions to the Equality Bill. They're a fairly well known collective, almost always in the news for one thing or another, but neatly summarised in Section 52 of the Act, sub-section 3.

Public authorities: general
(1) It is unlawful for a public authority exercising a function to do any act which constitutes discrimination.
(2) In subsection (1)-
    (a) "public authority" includes any person who has functions of a public nature (subject to subsections (3) and (4)), and
    (b) "function" means function of a public nature.
(3) The prohibition in subsection (1) shall not apply to-
    (a) the House of Commons,
    (b) the House of Lords,
    (c) the authorities of either House of Parliament,
    (d) the Security Service,
    (e) the Secret Intelligence Service,
    (f) the Government Communications Headquarters, or
    (g) a part of the armed forces of the Crown which is, in accordance with a requirement of the Secretary of State, assisting the Government Communications Headquarters.

Just about says it all really.

Hat tip to dizzythinks


  1. wow thats so interesting, might be worth taking a little look to see if the Human Rights Act has any inbuilt inequalities for politicians as well....

  2. This is completely absurd, although not entirely surprising- the people creating the law make sure they are exempt from it. We are not living in a democracy, it's a complete joke

  3. There's the Pigs and then there's the Pigs. Some more equal than others. Get used to it.

  4. In the real world, power is always going to create inequality - get with it.

  5. Isn't the point that we should be working towards our ideals rather than talking about a 'real world' in which people who wish to abuse power get away with it because people lke you are too willing or apathetic to do anything about it?

    It doesn't have to be the case that there is inequality in any society - only a jaded person would say that

  6. whatswrongwithworld13 Feb 2007, 10:47:00

    quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  7. Blair's Republic13 Feb 2007, 10:57:00

    absolutely 'whatswrong'. The answer seems to be the guardians!

  8. If Catholics cannot be granted an exemption from legislation that goes against deeply held moral beliefs, why should ministers be permitted it when they inevitably use such privileges for the purpose of their own self-aggrandizement?

  9. Why don’t we have another set of guardians, like the Supreme Court in America? Although not democratically elected, they would be able to hold MPs (or even the PM) to account if there were a law against them lying.

  10. st quintin - why not elect those guardians too?

  11. anon 12.39 - I agree, we don't just need an elected second chamber and a written constitution and we'd be a lot more sorted.

  12. The more checks and balances the better: if we ever get a House of Lords that is anything other than an appointed house packed with political puppets, then it might be fit for the purpose of policing the government. I don’t think it is capable of playing that role right now.

    Even if the House of Lords became a fully elected second chamber, I think there is still something to be said for having an independent (unelected) panel of legal experts: any elected body in that position would be distorted by party allegiance. Better perhaps for them to be apolitical and (hopefully) less likely to be biased.

  13. Who writes this ? I love them. Back home we never had such craftsmen, such draftsmen. The people who write this kind of legislation are poets. I think I'm getting an erection.