As the poet Robert Burns aptly put it: ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft a-gley’(1)
So it has been with my intention of witnessing the parliamentary second reading and debate of the proposed Broadcasting (Abolition of Licence Fee) Act 2009.
The Broadcasting (Abolition of Licence Fee) Act 2009 was presented to Parliament on the 26th January 2009 where it received its first reading(2). It was assigned bill number 44 for printing purposes and scheduled for its second reading on Friday the 27th February.
The bill was duly printed(3) but was not read and debated on the 27th February due to a lack of time left during that day’s parliamentary business. It was re-scheduled for the 27th March.
I attended this re-scheduled date of Friday the 27th March for the second reading and debate so that I could report the proceedings here on the STS Observatory. After spending a long and somewhat tedious day in the House of Commons public gallery – which at one point contained more spectators than MPs in residence – listening to a very long winded debate on Royal Ascension(4) the Broadcasting (Abolition of Licence Fee) Act 2009 was not read and again re-scheduled for Friday the 24th April.
Once again another long day at Parliament was experienced to no avail. The second reading and debate of the Broadcasting (Abolition of Licence Fee) Act 2009 was objected to – due to the time restraints – and once again re-scheduled, this time for Friday the 8th May. To date, my experience would indicate that bills due to be read on Friday’s are constantly subject to re-scheduling!
Whether the Broadcasting (Abolition of Licence Fee) Act 2009 will actually have its second reading and debate on Friday 8th May remains to be seen? The process of following parliamentary acts appears to require patience and perseverance (which are not bad character traits) so I will endeavour to improve these facets of my character by attending the House of Commons, once again, in the hope of being able to report on the second reading and debate of this bill.
(1) Burns, Robert, The Collected Poems Of, (Ware, Herts: Wordsworth Poetry Library, 1994) p108
(4) Royal Marriages and Succession to the Crown (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill 2008-09