It is inevitable, of course, that because the government have not got the answer that they wanted from the "consultation" that they should "extend" the timescale to let all "stakeholders" respond.
None of this matters.
The power to "dictate the colour of cigarette packs, their shape, the trademarks displayed on them and any labelling" was handed to the Health Secretary solely back in 2009.
And you poor fucks think that we live in a democracy.
The consultation on this matter—just like the "consultation" on the display ban—is simply a democratic fig-leaf: the government simply wants to pretend that it is, in any way, answerable to the people.
Anyone who believes that our democracy is in any way "representative" is an idiot.
Successive governments have passed what your humble Devil called "mini-Enabling Acts" for years: the NuLabour government may have been the greatest transgressors, but that hasn't stopped the Freedom Coalition making full use of those functions.
When you are a disgusting authoritarian bastard, why would you not?
So, here is a prediction: plain packaging will be enacted. And it may or may not go through Parliamentary scrutiny. Regardless, it does not need to.
Many people—including MPs—whinge about how the EU is making our Parliament irrelevant. But, as I wrote some time ago, our Parliament does not need the EU to make it irrelevant: they are doing that themselves.
Once again, our MPs—either through malice or the usual fucking laziness—have voted to abdicate another part of the power that we lend them.This is why—though there are a couple of decent MPs in the House—every single one of our lords and masters needs to be hanged.
And there are hundreds of pieces of legislation with similar clauses. Parliament is reaching the point where it is simply irrelevant: the government could use these clauses to enact pretty much anything that it wants.
The government could suspend Parliament and carry on ruling as an oligarchy but it simply doesn't need to: why go to the bother of suspending Parliament and risking a revolution when you can simply by-pass the institution altogether?
Our jumped-up chicken Parliament is still running around and around—desperately pretending that it is somehow important—when, in fact, it has had its head cut off.
For those who have not actively colluded in this state of affairs are, nevertheless, complicit in our enslavement.
- A jumped-up chicken of a Parliament
- Quietly, quietly, the illiberal creeps in
- Farewell freedom—it was nice knowing you
- Flattening the laws of England
- We need fewer MPs
- Eternal truths: the other and you
- Divide et impera
UPDATE: contrary to what Dick Puddlecote may think, this post was not intended to have a pop at him or any of the other folks who are throughly annoying the government on this matter.
The intention was to highlight the fact that successive governments have quite deliberately attempted to neuter Parliament, and remove themselves from democratic oversight.
But, surely, we have the right to throw these bastards out—that's the point of democracy, is it not?
Well, yes and no. As you might have noticed—if you have taken an interest in politics over the last few decades—the ratchet only seems to go one way, i.e. in the removal of our freedoms. And I don't give two shits about the colour of the rosette worn by the scum who do so.
So, if Lansley has the power to impose plain packaging on tobacco, then he will do so. And the next government will not remove that power.
If you doubt what I say about the freedom ratchet, simply compare the Coalition's liberties-championing rhetoric immediately after the election with their actual record in government.
All of this, of course, means that making your feelings known in the so-called consultation is extremely important. But it is also no shock that the government have changed the rules of the game because they didn't get the answer they wanted: and if they continue to get the wrong answer, then they will simply press ahead regardless.
After all, if the government does not intend to use these mini-Enabling Acts—and really wants to restore our freedoms and the relevance of Parliament (as the Coalition claimed)—then why do they not repeal them?