Black watch.(Parliamentary Roundup)

'Consult' is one of those warm words politicians always embrace but then repeatedly ignore.

Dictionaries define the warmth: 'to seek information or advice; to take feelings into account'. But the machinery of government then provides reality. 'Let us first set our scene, Minister. Ask for views at the end'.

Positive, decisive moves are the aim. Sadly, also, it is too often a recipe for dangerous nonsense which earlier advice from the real world could have avoided.

Two examples over recent months have given us both sides of the consultation story--one encouraging, the other promising gloom, if not actual disaster.

Good news first, The latest Regulatory Reform process--tidying up fire legislation--has been a model of democratic good sense. …

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