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Monday, February 15, 2016

The future is bright; the future is vellum

There is a lot to be said for tradition. Relying on the familiar is one of the ways we root ourselves in our community. Change can be disorientating and disturbing, and may have the effect of separating us from friends, family and neighbours.

It is not surprising therefore that, facing a multi-billion pound refurbishment programme that could leave MPs and Lords without offices or a chamber and scattered across London, the Government has said that it will continue to print our laws on calf-skin or vellum. That at least, our legislators will be able to rely on.

The Telegraph says that Matthew Hancock, the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, has determined that the thousand-year-old practice of recording Britain's laws on Vellum should be saved in a bid to "safeguard our great traditions."

His intervention and his pledging of the Cabinet Office budget to cover the cost, came after the House of Lords said that from April all legislation will be printed on simple archive paper instead of the traditional calf skin vellum to save £80,000 a year. After all we can't have the 'Mother of all Parliaments' resorting to paper like the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish can we?

The question though is whether this is a stay of execution or is Mr. Hancock's decision set in stone for the foreseeable future? After all elsewhere in the paper, we have futurologists telling us what life is going to be like in 2050.

For the record, the Adam Smith Institute reckon that today's teenagers living in the 2050s, will enjoy the lifestyles of 2016 millionaires because workers in the UK will be earn twice as much in real terms by 2050 as they do today. Whether this means the elimination of poverty or income disparity, they do not really say. But why no mention of vellum?
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