Lord’s Reform – A view

25 Aug

If you checkout the side bar you will see a link to Lords Reform, if you go through the archive you will see a post from our esteemed editor arguing the same view.

As a collary to this BBC Radio 4 was interviewing some US politicians asking for opinions on our “beloved” PM and one republican referred to the UK as not being a true democracy. He was referring to the Lords and the Monarchy (if memory serves). He was taken a back when the interviewer asked if there was a chance of US troops invading to bring democracy to us….. but I digress.

Lords Reform, and the abolition of the Monarchy (by extension), is seen as necessary to ensure Britain is a true democracy in the 21st century. Please don’t get me wrong I do see the argument but I don’t think the alternatives are fully thought through.

For instance a fully elected second chamber makes common sense but I think the Lords has much to commend itself.

It isn’t elected – no seriously, the British people are more concerned with personality than policy.
It isn’t elected – Lords members don’t care what the press say about them. They can stick to principles, if the press lambast them so what.

When Baroness Thatcher was overthrown (oh happy days), the contenders were John “The Common Man” Major, Michael “Hezza” Hestletine and Douglas “patrician” Hurd. My father’s comment was that he would vote for none of them, but that Hurd came from a “class” that was brought up to believe it was there “duty” to look after those less fortunate than themselves.

Hereditaries have that tradition instilled in them and frankly that’s more than some politicans do.

Ex politicians like Geoffery Howe do not spend time debating in the Lords because they need the money. They do so because they have gained a lifetimes experience of politics and want to give something back.

Law Lords work on the same principle. Bishops too, debate on principle. Ah Principle something you won’t hear much of in the Commons these days.

I remain unconvinced that an elected second chamber would improve Britain today. The Lords job is to hold the Commons to account and to act as a revising chamber, that lack of accountability means they don’t have to worry about fads. And if the commons wants its way it will get it eg. Fox Hunting

In some respect the monarchy is perhaps the most anacronistic element of our democracy, but again I’m not sure about the alternatives. I would prefer The Queen to Baroness Thatcher and Prince Charles seems to have more principles (I keep using that word) than our current Prime Minister. And he is willing to take a contrarian view regardless of public perception.

An ex-colleague of mine argued against the monarchy but was horrified at the thought of a President Blair.

If anything has gone wrong its the presidential style of the current government. Politicians have become so concerned about “party loyalty” and “image”…. and whose fault is that? Well look in the mirror. How many of us really research the issues? We read a headline but seldom read the story. Image Image Image.

Are the British people really capable of deciding its government? Most of them know more about some idiot on Big Brother or X-Factor, than they do about what is going on in the Middle East, Africa or any of a number of other places.

I ask would you trust the majority of people you meet in the steet with deciding something so important ? Would you ?

The current system may not be perfect but….

There is a saying, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.


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