The Great Repeal Act
Via Lib Dem blogger of the year Stephen Tall, I got to hear about the idea of the Great Repeal Act, which is Nick Clegg's plan to identify thousands of laws and sweep them away to undo a generation of illiberal regulations and build common ground with their new Tory friends. Their website has got a top ten list of laws to be swept away, and lets you e-mail in your own ideas, which is at least reassuring in that it will keep constitutional reform enthusiasts happy.
It does look like they might need some help in finding these thousands of laws to be got rid of, given that law number three is the one which allowed bankers accused of fraud to be tried in the USA (which no one who is not a banker could reasonably object to) and law number eight, which is:
"8. Public interest defence for whistleblowing
Official Secrets Act 1989
It is important that national security is protected, but sometimes it will be the case that it is in the public interest that malpractice or illegal activity is exposed. The Official Secrets Act includes no public interest defence, however – so whistleblowers remain unprotected, even if their action is very much in the public interest."
Now introducing a public interest defence for whistleblowers sounds like a perfectly reasonable idea to me. The one concern that I have with it being included in a list of laws to be repealed is that, um, it would require a new law to introduce.
Maybe it's just me, but I do think it weakens the argument that we have too many laws when even the people proposing a Great Repeal Act can only think of seven before they start coming up with more new laws that need to be introduced.