Listening to Deputy Prime Minister’s Question Time and also the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee’s hearing this week, I was tempted to blog about how in a throwback to the worst of New Labour, many Labour MPs seemed to be confusing something being a “civic duty” with it being a legal requirement. After all, it doesn’t say much for your idea of “civic duty” if you think it is synonymous with “legal requirement”.
I didn’t have time to blog about this… but then today Sadiq Khan writes for The Guardian:
The compulsory nature of our interaction with registration officers may seem like a technical detail – but it is this that elevates electoral registration from a voluntary activity to an important civic duty.
No Sadiq, a civic duty is something we do because we believe it is the right thing to do as a good member of our community. Making something a legal requirement doesn’t make it a civic duty, it makes it compulsory. It really is an throwback to the worst regulatory excesses of New Labour of the sort political satirists and caricaturists would struggle to match, to write that something is only a civic duty if the law tells you to do it.