Saturday, 20 April 2013

Mrs Many Ducklings

Success with the new 12v charger for the laptop.  It has now recharged the laptop three times and is cooler than the 240v charger!  It was back into the engine bay this morning to check the condition of the new alternator belt.  I don’t have a steel straight edge to check the pulley alignment and in the interim I used half the old (broken) wooden mop handle.  The timber looks straight and when placed across the faces of the two pulleys they appear to be aligned.  There’s no sign of wear or fraying on the edges of the belt so I’m hoping the problem with the last belt was it was too slack.  I’ll continue to monitor the tension.
Mo (nb Balmaha) left a comment advising they haven’t replaced the belt on their engine during the last 7000 hours and John had previously emailed me advising their belt had more than 3000 hours use.  But George (nb Rock ‘n’ Roll) is replacing his every 750 hours on advice from Beta.  That’s quite a spread of hours!
“Mrs Many Ducklings” has put in an appearance.  The question is “Will she be a good mother, and how many ducklings will she have tomorrow?”
The study for the “Life in the UK” test progresses.  Plantagenets, Tudors and Stuarts have all been covered.  Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Middle Ages and even reached the Glorious Revolution.  Now it’s politics and the rule of law.  But I’ve started to query whether the UK is really a democracy!  The book states potential citizens are offered the right to participate in the selection and election of the government at least every 5 years.  I understand the basic principle that citizens elect members of Parliament who then create laws for the effective running of the country.  In a democracy those same citizens can vote out of office their representatives if they are unsatisfied with their performance.  So the majority of citizens have effective control of the creation and maintenance of laws.  However there are also judges who can decide a law created and passed by the representatives of the citizens is invalid and have it overturned.  When and how do the citizens have control over the election and selection of the judiciary?     Apparently the answer is….. “They don’t!”  Judges are selected by their peers in the legal fraternity!  It also appears they don’t stand for regular re-election.   To me, it appears there is a select and unelected group of lawyers who have the power to overturn the will of the people.  So do we live in a democracy?


Adam said...

I'd much rather that judges were appointed than elected. The idea of judges who need to make populist decisions in order to win re-election sounds far worse to me than the apparent lack of democracy. Anyway, British people are subjects of the Queen, not citizens...

Mo said...

Do we live in a democracy?
I'd say we live in a democratic dictatorship.

Tom and Jan said...

No where in the boat is "Subject of the Queen" mentioned. It's all citizen and citizenship. I wouldn't advocate judges be directly appointed by the electorate. However neither to I believe they should be able to overturn laws passed by the highest court in the land (Parliament). Otherwise we have a small select group of individuals who have enormous power and little accountability!

John said...

Hi Tom,

I don't know what 'the book' says about judges decisions, but if it does say that judges can overturn laws then it needs amending.

Judges interpret the laws passed by elected (or in the case of the Lords, unelected) Members of Parliament. This can, on some occasions, where judgements are appealed, look as if laws are being overturned, but is in reality clarification of the 'will of Parliament'.

Your ire about an unelected group of people determining the laws of this country would be better directed at the House of Lords. A group of people who owe their position due to an accident of birth, toadying up to the right people or in some cases providing funds to political parties (allegedly).

Why this bunch of sycophants should have a part in making the laws of the country is beyond me.

Tom and Jan said...

I fail to see how a group of unelected people can have the power to reinterpret (clarify) decisions by the highest court in the land. As for the House of Lords... I agree! NZ only has a lower house or representatives so the historical "problem" doesn't exist!

John said...

Hi Tom,

When laws are passed with vague wording such as 'reasonable' or 'best endeavours' then someone has to judge what that means. It is better that judges do it, so that there is consistency (decisions in a higher court are binding on lower courts). If the police, for instance, decided then the interpretation would undoubtedly differ from force to force.

It is not unknown for judges in the Court of Appeal to actually look at the transcript of parliamentary debates to try and determine what a minister actually meant when proposing a bill. The example this week of Pickles, bowing to parliamentary pressuring and promising to enact something different to what was actually in the bill he was proposing will keep lawyers and judges in work for years to come.