Hold everything: regulatory reform is rearing its stinking head again, just when we thought we'd flushed it forever.
The smug, cowardly sons of bitches. Where is their pride? What about the Rule of Law? What about Habeas Corpus? What about Magna Sodding Carta?
Much as the whole notion of an unelected Upper House makes my little pink socialist soul shudder, I find myself not unimpressed by the Lords in recent years. They have solidly opposed the most frightening and restrictive of neocon draft legislation, and there's more than half a chance that they'll continue to do so. No, we didn't vote for them; but most of us didn't vote New Labour, either, and unlike Brown and his cabinet, if you were to snap the Lords in half you'd probably find 'Habeas Corpus' written there like a stick of Brighton Rock. It's not much. But it's something.
Let's get right back and remind ourselves, though, what happened last time.
The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, 2006, was an outright attack on Parliamentary political sovereignty and the rule of law. Had it made it through parliament, it would have allowed the government to chip away at our consitutional and human rights with substantially more impunity than it's had for the past 10 years as our legal and political liberties have leaked through the cracks in New Labour rhetoric. The main reason it didn't pass? Us. Which means you, me and everyone else even peripheral to the British Left online and their supporters - reading blogs and news forums, keeping tabs on parliament, speaking out and spreading the word when it all goes wrong. It started quietly, like now, with some noble anonymous soul reading through the Bill drafts online, noticing the small print, and deciding that we could not let this happen. All they had to do was spread it. Within hours, the news had made it to the big news sites and then to the national papers, by which time the game was up.
This is the power of viral democracy. We were not told about this Bill. We were not asked if we wanted it. It was up to us to find it and spread the dissent before it was too late, and fuck me, we did it. And we'll do it again. Put the word on your blog, on your journal, on your myspace; put it on facebook, email it to your political constants, spread the word and whatever they try to pull on us, we can come back at them with equal voice, more numerous and informed than they counted on in their most sweat-sticky populist nightmares.* We have the technology and the grit and we're big enough and ugly enough to take you on.
So, boys: now we've walked in on you wanking in the dark over this foul little bill, what're you going to do about it? Will you scramble to bin the evidence, flush-faced and gangway-trousered, stuffing your shrivelling egos back into your pants, or will you carry on regardless - tossing off a great sneering fuck-you-bitch to democracy and equity, coming like gleeful teenage boys into the realisation of your own anodine desires? How the hell did we put you in charge?
You were elected to serve us. You were elected by the people, for the people, and the people trusted you to uphold whatever ideals of social and political justice we have left. Instead you drug us up with rhetoric and toys and fuck us unconsensually in some cheap little sub-clause out by the M5. Fuck you right back, Minister: we will not stand for this.
*No, seriously: spread this, please, it's bloody important.