Saturday, 2 May 2009

Brooms for Clearing Up After New Labour

In holding New Labour, and in particular the New Labour Executive, to account for more than just poor governance, it is possible to envisage the adaptation of familiar institutions and practices present in our system of government and law.

The Public Inquiry is such an institution. While typically it is held after a disaster - a major rail crash for instance, it has too the capacity to be used for contested planning decisions or for social disasters such as mass murder or mass death precipitated by apparent negligence. The goings on in some government departments since 1997 might well be seen as disastrous.

A Public Inquiry functions more openly and interactively than a Royal Commission, taking views from interested parties and conducting itself in public view. Once actions that could be construed as improper have been identified the Serious Fraud Office could take over with its formally instituted legal powers and practices.

Both Public Inquiries and the Serious Fraud Office have been ridiculed repeatedly for toothlessness or for giving way to Executive intervention. Under a new government toothlessness can be remedied within the existing frameworks, and an Executive determinedly behind investigation and if necessary prosecution would not follow New Labour in ending arbitrarily the work of the Serious Fraud Office.

We know there is to be a Public Inquiry into the Iraq war if the New Labour Executive is driven from power. This is welcome but far more important, and more within the aegis of just the United Kingdom and its maltreatment for the last 12 years, would be a Public Inquiry into the conduct of the Treasury.


Anonymous said...

I think we should be careful about this.

There are in history too many unpleasant examples of "victors' justice" to consider.

One needs a super-human saintliness to avoid descent into vindictiveness and spite.

hatfield girl said...

The compromises of government are well understood. What is under consideration here is any wrongdoing, its finding out, and its prosecution.

At the black heart of New Labour are wars of geopolitical advantage and primitive accumulation, the destruction of the nation state - not just ours, and the ceding of UK sovereignty to a reformulated European Union remote from democratic governance and control, and the ending of our liberties.

I repeat, they have gone too far, specific individuals have gone too far, and must be brought to account for abusing the office conceded democratically but retained by denial of our democratic practices, not just removed from power.