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 a 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.