法政隨筆 – 玻璃防護牆

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14/08/2011

法政隨筆 – 玻璃防護牆 吳靄儀

參觀立法會新大樓的香港市民,會發現會議廳的公眾席前有一面玻璃防護牆,將公眾與會議廳裡的議員及官員隔開。我不知道市民的反應會怎樣,但關於這面玻璃牆的設置、高矮和效果,行管會倒有過不少爭論。

英國下議院大樓是歷史悠久的西敏寺宮殿,但幾年前卻在它的會議廳公眾席前設置了一面玻璃牆,當時也引起了很大的爭議。去年退休的工黨議員RobertMarshall-Andrews QC,在他新出版的回憶錄Off Message有很生動的描述。

據他所述,首相貝理雅對自己的身分和安全越來越重視,到了極其誇張的程度。

2004 年復活節假期後,回到會議廳的議員,赫然發現公眾席前設置了這面龐然大物防護牆,事前竟從未與議員商討過。作者強烈反對,認為是對民主的重大不敬。他馬上要求就玻璃牆的去留作緊急辯論,並發起行動,在很短時間內收集了百多名議員的簽名支持,下議院於是在2004 年4月22 日進行辯論。

身為御用大律師,作者的發言自然辭鋒犀利。他指出: 「This building does notbelong to Members of Parliament. It is a RoyalPalace but it is also, in the best sense, thePeople’s Palace. They come here not because ofsufferance or invitation but as a right.」議會所處的大樓是人民的大樓,他們有權到來,而且他們的在場,不是竊聽、偷窺議會的辯論,而是無言的參與,民眾和議員是整個國民政體同甘共苦、笑淚與共。玻璃牆粗暴地扭曲和介入了這個關係,所以不能容忍。他提醒議員: 「We are not here tosoak up the many privileges associated withbeing a Member. We are to bear and share therisks that our people bear and share.」

 

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