Leading article: Bonfire of the Bills

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The Independent Online

It is hard to see silver linings in those recessionary clouds, but if you peer closely enough, you might just make some out. Take this week's Queen's speech. The Government needs to make room on the legislative agenda for emergency action to alleviate the banking crisis. One casualty is the Communications Data Bill, which provides for the creation of a giant database of information about our telephone calls, emails and internet searches. No one with any grasp of Britain's history of liberty will mourn that omission.

But it does prompt a thought. Could we not use this economic downturn to hold a bad Bills amnesty? This could be an opportunity to get rid of a heap of unwanted legislation and damaging plans, from ID cards and 42-day detention to a third runway for Heathrow.

Ministers and civil servants could use the cover of the recession to bury their past mistakes. So come on Whitehall: bring out your legislative trash. You won't get a better opportunity.

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