House of Lords: It’s time for reform

10 Aug

I am writing the following post in support of Lords Reform Day

To the residents of other democratic countries, the UK must seem a bit strange. On the one hand, we have a free and fair democratic system, on the other we have a hereditary head of state and an unelected upper house. It is the latter I wish to discuss.

Reform of the House of Lords was one of New Labour’s original election pledges back in 1997. Yet, it is now 2001, and this same party are in the middle of their third term of government, but the House of Lords is still unelected. The best they have managed to come up with is the idea of making 50% of peers elected ones, and allowing hereditary peers to keep their seats until they die.

The House of Lords is an anachronism from the days when peers were seen as somehow better than the common herd. This, quite rightly is no longer true, and the average person tends to see those with titles as at best lazy twits and at worst corrupt and dishonest members of an old boys club. Since the cash for peerages scandal came to light, I would guess that most people veer towards the worst possible judgement.

We no longer doff our caps to our ‘betters’, we no longer believe that Lord Soandso deserves to be seen in a better light than anyone else. We view those who do receive knighthoods with some measure of suspicion because we wonder who they curried favour with to gain such an award, and we suspect that they will use their title and privilege to support their friends and cronies rather than act in the best interests of the citizens of this country. Yet, these same people are allowed to make decisions which effect our lives, our financial stability and our rights.

It is time we ended this out-dated relic from a time long gone, and had an upper chamber that truly reflects modern, democratic Britain.


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