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Discussion > Should the Parliamentary MP's Code of Conduct have prevented Davey's Energy debacle?

The Code of Conduct for Members of
Parliament

III. Duties of Members

6. Members have a general duty to act in the interests of the nation as a whole; and a special
duty to their constituents.

7. Members should act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in them.
They should always behave with probity and integrity, including in their use of public
resources.

Does membership of the EU prevent a UK Minister from following his UK Parliamentary Code of Conduct?
Does membership of the UN prevent a UK Minister from following his UK Parliamentary Code of Conduct?
Is it possible for the government to sign treaties which negate an MP's obligations within the UK?

Our experience of the Medieval Warm Period was beneficial and something to welcome not something to prevent.
What happens to the rest of the planet is obviously of great interest to the UK government and it's population. However UK taxation should not be used to fund solutions to problems which other countries are not willing to fund themselves.

UK taxation is being used to attempt to remedy non existent problems on a global scale even though that action would have no effect even if the problems were real.

This is not in the interests of the UK or it's people. The Parliamentary Code of Conduct forbids such action.

Mar 2, 2015 at 11:36 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung
The only way you would ever get any traction on this is to find a well-heeled and influential individual or group prepared to take some sort of action in the Civil Courts.
You would need to overcome the well-recognised assumption that global warming is a potential threat, that this threat is largely due to increased anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere, that the UN has been attempting for years to get agreement between its members to reduce such emissions, and that the UK government is taking some action to comply.

Good luck!

Mar 2, 2015 at 1:28 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike

I agree with your summary of the problems but my question remains; Should the Code of Conduct have prevented Davey from taking the actions he has taken?

Mar 2, 2015 at 2:39 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Enforceable codes of conduct is something I have wittered on about hereabouts - specifically The Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 in particular requires that policy and the actions of civil servants (very broadly scoped definition of civil servant too...) follow The Civil Servant's Code of Conduct and mandates all sorts of sensible things - they rather amazingly completely missed out a tariff of sanctions for any goon actually caught breaking the law....

Unfortunately it's likely a morsel of the increased frequency and decreased consistency of legislative bowel movements emanated by The Mother of Parliaments. While there are no consequences for wrongdoing - wrongdoers (and they are many and varied) will simply carry on unmolested.... more's the pity.

Mar 2, 2015 at 5:22 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Thank you tomo :)

There seems to be an understandably defeatist mind set here; OK so we do not think we can change anything but should we not still discuss it? Is it not possible for BishopHill to be able to say it/we have an opinion about something (always assuming we all feel/think the same way)?
Various politicians from various parties are having a laugh at our expense, earning megabucks at our expense, acting against the interests of the UK and it's population and they do not give a rat's arse about it. Surely the least we can do is express an opinion?

Mar 2, 2015 at 10:38 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung - aye....

I'm not defeatist ... far from it ! What I do find exasperating is the procession of "legal eagle" activists mostly but not exclusively of the "left of centre" persuasion who give their professional services gratis to the cause as we recently saw in the Ecotricity / Balcombe (not) fracking thing. I suppose the lefties have a more crusading approach to their beliefs - but really ... where are the pragmatists, the truth seekers and the slayers of hubris and confronters of unacceptable behaviour?

The mercenary nature of the legal profession and the sheer amount of technical paperwork required to mount a challenge is considerable - but not impossible....

Anybody out there know a climate sceptic QC with time on their hands or a legal student looking for a fun test case - preferably both :-)

I've even considered KickStarter funding.... Harnessing Delingpole / Booker commenters would be a start.....

The irritation of the blobbers and Sir Humphreys would be an almost unalloyed joy to behold.

Mar 3, 2015 at 7:19 AM | Registered Commentertomo

I think Kickstarter is a really good idea but it would need a message that said exactly the right thing; a hook in marketing terms, I would certainly be willing to participate in such a project plus investigating the possibility of finding a sympathetic QC :) maybe we could "kick" the idea around a bit hehe.

Mar 3, 2015 at 1:00 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung
Then the direct answer to your question is "probably not" and for the reasons I've stated.
Given the general consensus on climate there is no evidence to suggest that Davey has acted in anything other than the interests of the UK. Indeed you could argue that had the government not taken the actions it has (and Davey is only a part of the government which is another reason the answer is 'no') it could have been said to be acting against the common interest.
We think we know that global warming is a crock but that does not mean we are right or that ministers acting on scientific advice are obliged to agree with us.
If you challenge any minister on this subject how many other subjects can virtually every voter challenge them on?
The so-called bedroom tax? Changes to the benefit system? Overseas aid? Membership of the EU? Plans to hold a referendum on the EU? Spending too much on [insert department of choice here]? Spending too little on [insert same departments here]?
The list is endless. And the guardians of what ministers may or may not do are the senior civil servants. If a minister were acting in breach of the Ministerial Code his Permanent Secretary would soon tell him.

Mar 3, 2015 at 4:53 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Hello MIke :)

I beg to differ for three reasons:

1. The code of conduct is broken because although (if the theory of global warming were correct) Some parts of the planet may be slightly inconvenienced by 2 Deg C of warming, the UK would benefit hugely. Davey is supposed to act in the interests of the UK not the whole planet; that is the law.

2. It does not take an Einstein to work out that whatever actions the UK government took; we could not make a meaningful difference or even a measurable difference to global temperature. However multiple billions of pounds of taxpayers money have been spent trying to produce that miniscule perceived difference, this at a time when China is predicted to double it's CO2 emissions by 2025. In a recent deal between China and the USA China agreed to START to reduce carbon emissions from 2030. It can be demonstrated therefore that Davey is spending billions to achieve an impossible result and this is not in the interests of the UK.

3. You know and I know that nobody can produce a single shred of empirical evidence to support the CAGW theory.

So wot's not to like :P

As a special bonus; the office of the commissioner on the parliamentary code for the behaviour of MPs is totally confused with mutually exclusive rules in different parts of their website :)

Mar 3, 2015 at 7:29 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Mike

I realised right away that the Ministerial code is useless because only the Prime Minister can decide on such complaints and SamCam would not allow him a free hand hehe.

Mar 3, 2015 at 7:43 PM | Registered CommenterDung

You should have a read of Ed Miliband's 2010 Energy Act. It makes it quite clear than Green interests are above all others, and the regulator must act accordingly (i.e. ignore the deleterious consequences for consumers, regulate to tilt markets in favour of greenergy, turn a blind eye to uncompetitiveness of greenergy, etc.)

Mar 4, 2015 at 12:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Dung
I agree with you.
Her Majesty's Government doesn't.
End of.

The UK is part of the international community so the argument that what we do has no effect on climate is a spurious one. Arguably no one country can have an effect but the claim that therefore there is no point in our doing anything is wrong. The fact that China is adding more additional CO2 to the atmosphere than the UK's total contribution is irrelevant.
OK, it's not irrelevant in real practical terms but if everyone took that attitude we'd never make any progress. Which you and I think would be a "Good Thing" but the government doesn't.
Which doesn't mean they are acting in breach of codes of conduct.

Mar 4, 2015 at 9:07 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

3. You know and I know that nobody can produce a single shred of empirical evidence to support the CAGW theory.

Mar 3, 2015 at 7:29 PM Dung

That's not relevant. The govt clearly acted on the advice of the relevant civil servants, in particular, the Met Office.

Blame the massive failure of the Civil Service to provide valid advice and instead to have provided outrightly false advice. It is certainly a duty for the govt to ask searching questions which they failed to do.

But ultimately, it would be unreasonable for a govt to say 'we have decided that the scientific civil service is simply talking bollocks' and do the opposite of what is recommended or even just to do nothing.

Mar 4, 2015 at 6:24 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A

that failure in the Civil Service is covered by the law I've mentioned quite a few times on BH. There is a legally binding duty to objectivity in their actions for anybody employed by the government - and I doubt I'm alone in thinking that means taking decisions enlightened by evidence and facts. If they choose to ignore the evidence and substitute their own "facts" - then that - in and of itself should result in an appearance in a court of law.

A number of things are enforceable duties under the provisions of section 5 (5) of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. It is long past time that somebody blew the dust off this and set about these creatures with some purpose for their repeated and shameless abuse of the values enshrined HERE

The chump Davy is merely a variety of dung fly.

Mar 5, 2015 at 1:12 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Thank you tomo and I will read about that!

During my conversations with Code of Conduct Commissioners Office I had to accept that they can not investigate policy and everything Davey does is within policy (I think?).

Govt sets out its aims and then adopts policies to achieve those aims. However there must be some mechanism that marries policy to the achievement of the aims?

Please do not associate my fly with Ed Davey -.-

Mar 5, 2015 at 2:01 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Tomo

What if the advice did not come from the civil service? Government often cites the Panel on Climate Change as their guide, the Lib Dems are Green fanatics in their own right anyway and Cameron is up to his neck in UN Sustainability rubbish.

Mar 5, 2015 at 2:17 PM | Registered CommenterDung

The entomological reference was entirely unconscious - honest :-)

Policy must be informed by the objectivity (and honesty and transparency and a bunch of other stuff) mandated in the Civil Servant's Code of Conduct. AFAICS DECC et al simply ignore the provisions in the code - wholesale. They could choose to publish the facts at odds with the policy - but >no< they instead choose to gild and varnish self evident untruths and hide inconvenient evidence.

Our public servants are more numerous than they have ever been and their antics in all walks of life have never been subject to less restraint - and many choose to take full and wrongful advantage of that situation. It is really time they were reined in and some culling of the useless appendages happened.

Mar 5, 2015 at 2:18 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Since I've not seen a reference to this new law here - I think it's worth dropping in - as given the working title one might reasonably assume that there's something in there for Greenpiece, WWF, Grantham and the FoE etcetera to trip up on - although some say it's targeted at shutting up people like Andrew ....

Mar 5, 2015 at 3:40 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Dung - You may have a point here, but it needs to be put in the context of what is both necessary and sufficient to produce policy that is net beneficial to the country. I would claim ALL of the following need to be in place for current policy to be in the interests of this country.

1. That there is an empirically demonstrated non-trivial relationship between rising human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and temperature.
2. That, if unabated, this temperature rise will have non-trivial, adverse consequences.
3. That these net adverse consequences apply to Britain.
4. That some of those adverse consequences cannot be adapted to.
5. That there are a set of policies that can be enacted for less cost than those adverse consequences to Britain.
6. That sufficient countries will adopt those emissions-reductions policies to make a global difference. The UK has about 1.5% share.
7. That these policies will be optimally enacted, to obtain the maximum reduction for the least cost.

Nobody has properly thought the problem through.

Mar 5, 2015 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

The problem with and the beauty of this thread over the last two weeks has been that so much new thought and information has been communicated that my head is swimming, so many new areas of discussion opened up that I have no idea where to start.

tomo

AGENDA 21 has been/is being enacted in the UK and the effect of that is that the government must not only involve NGOs in policy discussion but also in policy decision making and even implementation.

Kevin

The requirement for all MPs to always act in the interests of the UK does not seem to be enforceable. The Parliamentary Standards Committee and Commissioner can not review or act on Policy matters. If it is policy then they are answerable to the public (so do not elect them :P). David Cameron is ultimately responsible for policy so you would have to take him to task.
tomo found a law that binds people to act in the interests of the UK but only civil servants; not MPs or Ministers. I was looking at asking which civil servants advised the PM on energy and climate change but if he cites say the IPCC; they are not civil servants; what a stitch up!
We can prove that the policies being pursued IN THE UK will NOT produce the global effect desired and that no action at all would be the best course for the UK but how to get at the politicians?

Mar 6, 2015 at 1:26 PM | Registered CommenterDung

In what way does the government ensure that it discontinues a policy which is not delivering and can not deliver the government's desired results?

Who should I send this to?

Mar 6, 2015 at 1:59 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Talking of Ed Davey -as I suppose we must....

http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2015/03/the-carbon-brief-interview-ed-davey/

Mar 6, 2015 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Well as Davey pointed out, you need to be evidence based; I am now able to say with complete confidence that Davey is stark raving mad.

Mar 6, 2015 at 3:25 PM | Registered CommenterDung