BRITAIN: Labor Runs Afoul Of a Muddy Loch

In France, the guillotine dispatches condemned criminals. In Britain, it is a device designed to cut off endless parliamentary debate—much as cloture is used in the U.S. Congress. Begun in the 1880s to combat the obstructionist tactics of Irish Nationalist Charles Parnell and his colleagues, the guillotine has been a welcome procedure for circumventing parliamentary bottlenecks. But when employed prematurely to close off debate on major, hotly contested legislation, it can stir up the wrath of M.P.s on both sides of the floor. Last week Prime Minister James Callaghan's Labor government...

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