Thursday, March 05, 2009


There hasn't been much time to enter stuff on the blog since returning from Bangladesh the Monday before last, with three days Committee on Borders, Citizenship and Immigration, but anybody who is interested in the arcane mysteriesof the law on these subjects can find the debates in Hansard:

A correspondent with three law degrees said she had followed the first day on Committee and couldn't make head or tail of what was being discussed, and how on earth could practitioners, still less persons subject to immigration control, be expected to understand the legislation. The Government say that one of their objectives is to simplify the law on nationality and immigration, but in fact with every new Bill and the dozens of statutory instruments and codes of guidance, it is being made steadily more complex and abstruse. Worse, because so much is being done by Orders which can only be rejected or accepted, and by these codes which aren't subject to any oversight by either the Commons or Lords, Parliamentary control is being steadily whittled away.

Yesterday, the Government had wanted to complete the Committee stage on the Bill, but the Tories declined to continue after the amendment being discussed at 22.oo was disposed of. We are meant to work what is laughingly called 'family friendly hours' these days, and the unwritten definition includes finishing at around 22.00. But when we did rise at 22.10 last night three were only three or four groups of amendments left, and they could easily have been covered in less than an hour if the Tories hadn't been so keen to go home.

Personally, I would have been happy to continue, though I had started the working day with EU Select Committee at 10.30 in the morning.

The Sub-Committee I'm on is dealing with money laundering, and we were taking evidence from the Law Society, the British Bankers Association and the Chartered Accountants. Obviously there is a lot of it about,with tens of thousands of 'Suspicious Activities Reports' being made annually. This imposes significant burdens on professionals and their clients, and it isn't easy to say whether the process is cost-effective, or whether a better methodology for detecting crimes involving money transfers, including terrorist offences, could be devised.

This morning I attended the urology outpatients at King's to have an internal bladder scan, as part of the investigation of my enlarged prostate, a very common problem with men over a certain age. I would have been able to post a photograph of the inside of my bladder, but Lindsay has confiscated the pictures. I'm working on getting it back so watch this space. Next step is an ultrasound scan, also destined for the blog, and when it happens I'll be careful not to leave the picture lying around. Anyway, the bottom line from this test today was that there was nothing to worry about.

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