Last night the Government rushed the Digital Economy Bill through Parliament without proper scrutiny in what is known as the ‘wash up’ procedure. This procedure is designed to allow the government of the day to pass uncontroversial bills once an election has been called, to prevent the country grinding to a halt.
However, the Digital Economy Bill is far from uncontroversial. It contains provisions that allow users to be disconnected from the internet and websites to be blocked without any kind of judicial process. It is opposed by organisations as diverse as consumer groups, and the secret services.
The bill was promoted by the record and film industry, despite private admission by those involved that it would do little to halt the decline in their businesses. The potential unintended consequences of such a complex bill receiving so little debate may be disastrous.
All in all, yesterday was a poor day for democracy. See who voted for and against here. More information here.