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Friday, October 07, 2005


A fine example of the Politician's Logic fallacy

via Tim Worstall.

The Politician's Logic fallacy goes like this:

Major Premise: Something must be done.
Minor Premise: This is something.
Conclusion: Therefore, we must do this.

(Logic-choppers will recognise this as a part of the class of quaternio terminorum fallacies).

The ZaNuLabour regime is especially fond of the Politician's Logic fallacy, which can "justify" literally inconceivable amounts of meretricious legislative busywork. Here, the Politician's Logic fallacy appears to have resulted in a much-ballyhooed new law that is exactly the same as the old one.

OTOH there is another explanation. The failed lawyers, mouth-breathing polytechnic lecturers and overpromoted county council button-sorters that run Britain's government may be competent at something, but legal drafting ain't it. Mybrotherthelawyer tells me that the legislation that comes out of Parliament nowadays is so badly-written that often nobody in the legal profession can work out WTF the laws actually mean. It's not unheard of for one clause of a statute to mandate a certain action, and another clause of the same statute to forbid it. The main cause appears to be the government's habit of making things up as they go along. Consider the bill that established the Financial Services Authority, back in 2000 or thenabouts: over one hundred amendments were made during the committee stage, with ministers popping up like meercats with ADHD every five minutes or so and proposing fresh new reams of nonsense. I'm told that a number of judges stated, off the record, that they would dismiss any cases brought under the financial services legislation because they considered it literally impossible to follow the statute consistently.

Either way, it's nothing a Brit can be proud of.

I want my Green Card...

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