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Office of Devil’s Advocacy

  • July 2nd, 2009

I want small government. But I want a new government agency.

In my view the last unequivocally great agency to be created was the Office of the Ombudsmen.

Since then its been a steep downhill slide. We got a Commerce Commission, Commissioner for the Environment, Telecommunications Commissioner, Electricity Commission, Securities Commission, Retirement Commissioner, Human Rights Commission, Privacy Commissioner,  Children’s Commissioner and Families Commission (listed in order of value to man and beast).

I could be persuaded that some of them should exist as specialised investigation and enforcement agencies (like the Serious Fraud Office) but many of their functions would be better performed by the courts applying law of general application. And some of them never would be missed – indeed we’d all benefit if the bossy people attracted to them were obliged to find more useful work. 

The trouble with Commissions is that they tempt Parliament to breach the rule of law. Some Commissions make up law as they go so that we can not know the law in advance. They get wide discretionary powers to make codes and allow exemptions. Often their rules are outrageously vague. If they applied equally to all (another requirement of the rule of law) anyone could enforce them. Instead Parliament allows these low quality laws to be applied only by their pet Commissioners. The theory is that making it up unpredictably is OK in the hands of their well meaning anointed (like themselves)  Commissioners.

But of course power corrupts, and busybodies showing their superior virtue by thinking up new rules for the good of others can be as oppressive as any tyrant.

So why do I want a new offical body?

I’ll explain tomorrow.



I really like where this is going.

  • David Baigent
  • July 2nd, 2009
  • 12:06 pm

You are a delightfully dangerous man.

best db..

  • peterquixote
  • July 2nd, 2009
  • 4:29 pm

sounds good dude, make sure you do Environmental Agency,
professionals coming soon not elected,

  • Robert
  • July 2nd, 2009
  • 7:43 pm

Right again of course so one is left wondering when you are going to rejoin the only party in Parliament that operates on a principled basis when it comes to these things?

  • Steve
  • July 4th, 2009
  • 10:22 pm

Your post dated 2nd July 2009 refers to tomorrow.
well, tomorrow has come and gone, and there is still no second part.
Lift your game, Stephen.

  • Jo
  • July 5th, 2009
  • 4:24 pm

How could you forget the essential Charities Commission?

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