Why do politicians keep making laws?

I PEN this column before the outcome of last week's elections is known. Since, however, I know that my Holyrood masters devour my pronouncements with trembling anticipation, I can be sure this piece will be on top of the new administration's in-tray, regardless of its political colour.

We have a new set of lawmakers this week. I have said before: the trouble with lawmakers is they have to make laws. If a constituent makes a fuss about something and demands action at the local surgery, the hapless MSP promises to raise it at the Parliament. If enough of them get the same grief from their constituents we get a new act. The Dog Fouling Act, as daft a piece of legislation as you can find, is the product of this sort of lobbying.

That's not the only way, though, that we get new legislation. Politicians fancy themselves. They have a high opinion of their own abilities and sense of justice. I think these very characteristics ought to disqualify them from governing altogether, but, astonishingly, they don't agree. They want to change things. They believe their proposed changes will make things better. They campaign for election on this basis. Then they get in and off we go with the new programme. Much of it just seems to me like tinkering. For example, take local authority funding.

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I am sure all the ideas to replace the Council Tax have their merits but somehow I feel it won't make a lot of difference overall if a change comes in, other than allow some politician to boast about it. But change itself will cost money, and the whole population, and their advisers, will have to learn and obey new rules.

What else can these important people do? They can hardly say one morning: "Well, we don't have any business for Parliament today, so off you go home." So, we get more and more laws and more and more subordinate rules and regulations to go with them. Meat and drink for lawyers, I suppose, but I, for one, wish they would give us a break, and let us get used to what is already there before piling more stuff on to us. I have toyed with forming a Law Society Commission for the Abolition of Law Reform, but I suspect it would only have one member.

A few weeks back, I met a leading Scottish politician to whom I expressed this point of view. To an extent the person agreed, and said that, for every new piece of legislation, the government ought to find something to repeal and be rid of. Helpful as always, I offered to send a list of proposed repeals to save a busy public figure the trouble of instructing staff to do so, but I was graciously turned down.

First on my list would probably be the Single Survey. The Holyrood beaks just can't seem to get it into their heads that lawyers have no axe to grind here, other than the public interest.

The administration decided long ago, long before any serious consultation began, that the Single Survey would be a good thing and nothing, not the absurdly useless pilot project, not the measured concerns of the RICS, not the forceful insistence by the Law Society that sellers are consumers, too, not even the market solution now prevailing of offers subject to survey, was going to stop them. Perhaps, by the time you read this, the great Scottish democratic voice will have given us a new regime. If so, I urge them, as they seize excitedly upon my column, to make the Single Survey their first victim.