Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Be careful what you wish for ...

I found myself agreeing somewhat with "Vicious Vince" this afternoon, when I heard him arguing (on Radio 4 I think it was?) that 'legalisation isn't the answer to everything' ... of course, he was referring to the PM's statement on the forthcoming Autumn Queen's Speech at Westminster.

And he does have a general point - I wouldn't necessarily agree with his assessment of the current Westminster proposals, but I certainly did feel on occasion, during the period of 1999-2007, that a huge number of Bills were passing through the Holyrood Parliament.

It was understandable, especially given that devolution was new and there was a real desire to 'make-up' for the lack of legislative progress on many purely Scottish issues within the pre-devolution Westminster Parliament. But at times, the number of Bills passing through Holyrood was pretty breathtaking ...

... well, talk about 'be careful what you wish for' :-(

Here in Scotland today, we had a similar type of pre-legislative statement at Holyrood from the FM ... and we appear to now have the extraordinary situation of more purely Scottish Bills passing through Westminster than are proposed for passage at Holyrood.

Legislation may well indeed 'not' be the answer to everything, but anyone predicting what has happened today back in 1999 would have been ridiculed ... and rightly so.

It does appear faintly ridiculous, that after 9-years of devolution more Scottish Bills are now passing through the Westminster Parliament than the Holyrood Parliament. And its happening under a Nationalist Government in Edinburgh.

Quite bizarre.


Calum Cashley said...

None of the Bills proposed at Westminster is purely Scottish, Andrew. The BBC has listed the Bills here:

Andrew said...


Thanks for the comment - I stand corrected!

I should have said "bills that apply to Scotland" and not that are "purely Scottish". My mistake.

You'd still have to agree that it is nevertheless quite an odd situation? - although, as I say, I do think that the first 8-years of devoluton were pretty 'legislative-heavy' ... but we appear to have gone from one extreme to the other!


P.S. and thanks for the link ...

Ewan Watt said...

You suggest this in your original post, but what is so bad about not passing legislation? Surely a legislature should be about rejecting bad legislation as well as passing 'good' legislation. I know that's the role of the US Congress - rejecting bad legislation.

Less legislation the better if you ask me.

Andrew said...


Thanks for the comment - I actually don't disagree with you, that legislation isn't necessarily a 'good' ... and I do try to make that point in the post. I even admitted to agreeing with a Liberal-Democrat on this issue :-((

My only rider was that it does seem rather odd (to say the least) that Westminster is now passing more Scottish-related legislation than Holyrood? ... and its not as if Holyrood is 'weeding out' loads of poor legislation - its just not doing much 'legislating' of any description at all!