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I cherish the history of this country; I cherish the Book of Aneirin, Y Gododdin, presumably written on vellum:
“Gwyr a aeth i Gatreath
Godidog oedd eu gwedd”.
That goes back to the early centuries, before English existed as a language. Of course we treasure the past, and our heritage, but it has nothing to do with this century. We have other ways of maintaining a record. How precious are what we think of as these glorious words we produce, the prose of the laws that we pass. In 13 years of Labour Government, 75 laws were passed by Parliament and went through the whole process but were never implemented fully—never. They are rubbish; they are litter. Another such Bill at the moment, on psychoactive drugs, will do positive harm. I am afraid that we commit this sin. It is said that when there are crises, dogs bark, children cry and politicians legislate. Much of our legislation—the Bill on psychoactive drugs is an example of this—has no right to be preserved in any way. That will be regarded in the future, when the harm the legislation will do is obvious, as a vanity and an extravagance.
There are many outside who feel the austerity implemented mercilessly by that Government over there, who have taken large sums from people’s meagre incomes, with no attempt to make a case for that and no debate on it that makes sense. We have cut and cut again, and those people who are in financial distress will look at this House and laugh, and say, “There they go again: out of touch, looking after themselves and wasting huge sums of money—£100,000 for the parchment, £47 million for Kids Company—and for what?” Those on the Government Benches can say, “Oh yes, we have done that,” but we have 3.7 million children in poverty. We are not talking about them tonight, but we have saved the vellum. Contemptible.