Editor’s blog: The Star Chamber


I notice this week that Business Secretary Lord Mand, no sorry, Vince Cable (still takes a bit of getting used to), has announced new regulations to bring an end to excessive regulations that is said to be stifling business growth.

There is to be a ‘one-in, one-out’ approach. No, that does not refer to jobs down at County Hall, that’s going to be more like ‘one-in, ten-out’. It applies rather to plans to “change the culture of Government that would make sure that new regulatory burdens on business are only brought in when reductions can be made to existing regulation”.

Cable’s action plan talks about the creation of a new Cabinet “Star Chamber”. He says: “The deluge of new regulations has been choking off enterprise for too long. We must move away from the view that the only way to solve problems is to regulate.

All very noble, but the term ‘Star Chamber’ to me conjures up some frightening images. Recalling my history lessons from school, the Star Chamber was an English court of law (1487-1641)  to ensure the fair enforcement of laws against prominent people. It was all very worthy until it evolved into a political weapon and became a symbol of a grisly misuse abuse of power.

Hopefully not what the Government intends.

The film buffs among you may remember the 1980s film ‘The Star Chamber’, which features an idealistic group of judges that get frustrated with the law and take it in their own hands to bump off the baddies, and sometimes innocents as well.

Presumably not what the Government intends.

I wish Mr Cable all the best with his plans, but can we please find another term other than Star Chamber?