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Overhaul the System itself

Comment 6th July 2010

In the modern 'Digital' age technology moves at an ever-increasing pace. The process of moving a law from concept to reality takes several months of deliberation and process that means that it is outdated before it is even legal precedence. Those that are rushed through are completely ridiculous and generally reflective of panic legislation brought in to appease the minority.

Two examples of these laws are the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill (section 64) and the Digital Economy Bill as a whole. The former outlaws the possession of 'extreme pornography' and was rushed through in the wake of the death of Jane Longhurst. Whilst its intentions were good, the law inadvertantly crushes the ability of, for example, BDSM practitioners distributing educational materials to promote proper techniques. The latter is a blanket used to appease the music industry which has, on several occasions now, been shown to be making unfouded accusations about the effects of downloads upon their sales.

This was further compounded by the recent debates on gaming in the wake of the release of the latest Call of Duty. The media painted a grim portrait of death and violence in games and many jumped on the bandwagon (see Alan Titchmarsh's hideous attempt at a constructive debate for information). As such many MPs had their opinion formed by said media and therefore the debate was skewed by a legion of game haters that had never even played one. This means that the process of developing law is skewed to the point of the media telling MPs how to think.

Like the England football team, the government relies on outdated systems of doing things built in a time when Britain had an Empire and a man could be judged by the size of his beard. Whilst other parliaments sit in giant glass houses oozing modern architecture and flair, our Government sits in a long room that is still centrally split by the maximum reach of a man and his sword.

What is required, therefore, is an audit of the law making process. If you cut out the apparent necessity for old men in dusty rooms to discuss the ideas to death, and move towards a new system, then such legislation could be prevented entirely. Could this website be extended to allow for cloud based law collaboration? Could laws be placed in the public domain for consideration, comments and approval ratings to be made? Is it time for UK politics to embrace the future, rather than base itself on the ways of the past?

Why does this matter?

There is no point address the laws that need repealing, amending or creating if the underlying process is a mish mash of Stuart, Victorian and 20th century paradigms on best practice.

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