back to article Coroners & Justice Bill chewed a new one by opposition

If you seek a textbook example of how not to draft law in 21st century Britain, then look no further than the Coroners and Justice Bill which emerged from committee stage last week in the House of Commons. That’s the pretty unanimous view of both Conservative and Lib Dem MPs, whose job it was to wrestle with the intricacies of …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What happened to Jacqui Smiths phone logs?

    She was accused of fiddling her expenses, she claimed the room she stayed at in London was her primary residence, neighbours said no, she is hardly there....

    So why did she not release her phone logs? You know it would save a lot of time if she authorized the release of her cell logs (the logs for her mobile phone that show which GSM cell she was in). This would prove that she spends the majority of her nights at that address like she claimed.

    It goes back 2 years according to her, and is already kept for billing purposes, well according to her, so we could get a retrospective look at her claim to spend most of her evenings at the room in London for the last 2 years.

    Surely as an 'honest' minister she has nothing to hide!?

    She could prove what she says is true! And it would show how important these records are, for eliminating innocent people from investigations. You know, like she said.

  2. Graham Marsden

    Personal political agendas? Nothing new there, then...

    It is rapidly becoming clear (if it wasn't blatantly obvious already) that this is just another last gasp effort by the leaders a failed Government (who know that most of them will be out of jobs after the next election) to force through any and every little bit of legislation that will allow them to impose their personal prejudices and wants on the country without caring a jot about what the effects will be on the liberties of the people they're supposed to represent.

    It's not enough to think "well, they'll be out next election" because we need guarantees from whoever replaces them that they *will* get rid of the ridiculous draconian Big Brother and Nanny State legislation they have brought in rather than getting into power and then saying "well, maybe this would still be useful, so we'll keep it".

    Contact your MP via and tell them you want a commitment from them that they'll not only oppose these proposals, but that they'll support all attempts to repeal them and restore the liberties and freedoms that have been taken away from us in the last decade to "protect" us.

  3. blackworx


    Makes no difference either way, because the end result is the same.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Every government consultation I've tried to get involved in has tried to remove any opinion which goes against what the government wants to do.

  5. Sillyfellow


    conspiracy disguised as a cockup

  6. John Smith Gold badge

    1 clause down

    Now how many of those others need a good er reviewing in the Lords?

  7. Richard
    Thumb Down

    Simple answer

    Throw the whole thing out. There's nothing in this bill that needs to be passed urgently ...

    ... unless you're a Labour minister trying to cover up something or other, that is.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Labour Building Tory Police State?

    It seems crazy for Labour MPs to support legislation like this when it looks likely that the Tories will form the next government.

    I would have thought that this kind of stuff would be a Labour nightmare. They're building a police state more rapidly than ever before, and it looks like they're going to hand it over to the Tories. Having the Tories take control of a half-build police state really should be a nightmare for Labour MPs and Labour party members and supporters more generally, shouldn't it?

    Why are they building their own nightmare?

    Perhaps there's already a convenient law that allows one of those Statutory Instruments to be pushed through parliament to "indefinitely postpone" the next general election until the "present crisis" (whatever that will turn out to be) has passed.

    Perhaps the question for those lucky enough to live in Labour-held constituencies to ask their MPs might be: Why are you lot building a police state when it's likely to end up in the hands of the Tories?

    Have Labour really forgotten the '80s?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re:Labour Building Tory Police State?

    I've long been of the opinion that the 'police state' is completely apolitical - both ends of the political spectrum want one. People often refer to our current situation as heading toward a Stalinist state, but you could just as easily cite Pinochet, the Shah of Iran or apartheid South Africa - not exactly leftist pin-ups - who all had 'police' services whose remit went way beyond helping old ladies to cross the road. Fear of the mob (often composed of disappointed former supporters) is as old as the idea of government, and the tools for suppressing dissent only change in name over the centuries.

  10. John Smith Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    @AC 21:42

    "It seems crazy for Labour MPs to support legislation like this when it looks likely that the Tories will form the next government"

    All people who think like the idea of large database surveillance seem to have this blind spot. They either believe that the access measures they will put in place (now that someone has prodded them to consider it *might* be abused) will make sure no one can misuse it. And naturally all the information will be 100% accurate. Maybe they believe they will be in power forever.

    I used the term people. You are mistaken if you think this is a right wing/left wing thing. Its an authoritarian / liberty thing. There are democrats (who support democracy) and politicians (who support the idea of getting something done to further an agenda). The two don't always coincide. Authoritarians view the state as a corporate person. Your not opposing their views, your opposing the "State." Their fears, their concerns become its policy.

    Side note. Member of the Whips offices are concerned with internal Party discipline. Having a detailed background file on MPs is probably quite useful for this Mrs Timney was a Chief Whip and Geoff Hoon was one of her deputies

    I always note 1 thing. The IRA blew stuff up regularly on mainland Britain in the 1970s and 80s. Had she wanted it Margaret Thatcher could have had versions of all of these "security" measures put in then. She was ruthlessness enough to make it happen.

    That a leader who had no qualms about using the full force of the state to crush opposition bought *none* of them in should give anyone pause for thought. I suspect she checked the numbers closely enough to see that the cost grossly outweighed the benefits.

    30 years later some of those civil servants (or their anointed successors) are whispering in the ear of her Wackiness. She is believing them.

    Sadly for some people even the prospect of being persecuted (that's not a typo) under the laws they brought in will not be enough to change their views. They will simply view it as a set back and feel that "Once I'm back in power I'll show them. No more Mrs Nicepserson."

    The costs still outweigh the benefits.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's wrong with managing consent?

    At times it would be handy to auto-complete forms from shared information so why does a government that purports to desire citizen involvement and efficiencies based on service delivery persistently avoid developing systems and web forms that request consent? I have seen many attempts to demonise the Data Protection Act as if it prevents the legitimate sharing of information - which it does not , it's intent is to restrict personal data to legitimate and consented purposes only. It is a failure to request and respect consent that restricts the scope of the information not the DP Act itself.

    I see a similarity here to recent attacks on Human Rights and the ID issue, where bad publicity is cultivated as a platform for the governmemt to propose withdrawal from Human Rights and scare mongering over terrorism excuses any attempt to enforce the other . The issue is not the Human Rights Act, the potential use for an identification card or the Data Protection Act but a government agenda driven by moral panics with a distrust of self determination and an intent to control. Why should apopulation trust a government which resents legislation clearly there to protect democracy and individual rights from state interference?

  12. John Smith Gold badge


    "I have seen many attempts to demonise the Data Protection Act "

    You sound like you know a few civil servants.

    However you seem unaware that inter-departmental data sharing (AFAIK) requires at least an outline of what is to be shared (and who to) in the Acts governing the departments concerned.

    something to do with MPs being able to see whose sharing what with whom.

    You appear unaware that Clause 152 of the Coroners & Criminal Justice bill was designed to allow any future Minister to copy any of his dept's data to whoever he wanted to, provided he asked the opinion of Parliment and ICO first. He did'nt have to abide by their opinion. Just ask what it was. Senior civil servants thought this was brilliant. Not that they would be implementing it of course. But being able to side step all that "inefficient" democratic process.

    "but a government agenda driven by moral panics with a distrust of self determination and an intent to control." That's a pretty good summation of most current Government thinking.

    " Why should apopulation trust a government which resents legislation clearly there to protect democracy and individual rights from state interference?" They should not.

    Your a bit behind the curve on this.

    But Ministers and senior civil servants believe that should not matter. Despite their repeated ability to loose large databases in their care (child benefit claimants. Armded forces applicants. The UK prison population. The UK prison staff list etc) they *believe* they have a *right* to have our details. To make running goernemtn *easier*.

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