LibLink: Mark Pack: Less legislation? Yes please

Over at the Huffington Post, Mark Pack has been waging a war on “Initiativeitis”:

Initiativeitis – an ugly word for a regrettable phenomena. It is an often-criticised habit of government ministers of all parties always to be touting a new initiative backed up by a new piece of legislation in order to look like they are working hard and making a difference.

Yet speak to those who work in the frontline in public services, and complaints about too many new initiatives coming down from on high are widespread – again, regardless of which party is in government.

While political commentators may criticise a light Queen’s Speech, Mark says we should welcome it:

It would be rather better than the alternative, a packed legislative agenda which results in numerous errors, inadequate debate and then another wave of legislation to undo the previous mistakes, leaving all the while those working in the public sector to cope with ever-changing rules and demands.

Traditionally the last year before a general election sees a government pushing on with huge amounts of different initiatives, seeking to make as many political points as possible, setting the political agenda on its own terms and setting traps for their opponents. All good political fun – except of course legislation should be about rather more than that.

And it’s a welcome feature of coalition government.

Which is one appeal of coalition government, where the exact opposite dynamic happens as the next general election approaches. Instead, the political tensions between the members of the coalition rise and it becomes harder to rush through legislation.

Rather than having a frenetic increasing in law making for the sake of politics, we will see a general easing off – and that is a good thing.

You can read the whole article here.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in LibLink.


  • Eddie Sammon 28th Jan '14 - 5:18pm

    I’m happy to see a call from a Lib Dem for fewer government schemes. It seems the amount of interference is disliked by both the private and the public sector.

  • Melanie Harvey 28th Jan '14 - 7:49pm

    Very welcome article. To many cooks spoil the broth and to many hurried laws makes everyone a crook.

  • Matt (Bristol) 29th Jan '14 - 10:14am

    I agree, largely, but It could be pointed out (which I am sure Mark Pack is well aware of) that historically, the Liberal Party of the 19th century could lay good claim to be the party that invented initiativeitis, as the party of Gladstone, Chamberlain (in his early days) and constant ‘reform’ of government and society. This was held to be a reason for Disraeli’s government of the 1870s being elected, as the country was believed to be tired of constant legislation.

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