Thursday, February 08, 2007

House of Lords reform

Well, at last we have an open debate. My sense is that despite some sturdy opposition reform will go through this time -- and a good thing to, if it removes the constant carping about Lords powers from the agenda for a decade or two.
Not that we are going to vote for anything but an appointed house ourselves -- we sound like a 1920s trades union meeting when our privileges are assaulted -- but if the Commons expresses a settled view then I do not see that in the end we have any option but to go along with it. We will though, I hope, be able to insist on proper supervision of appointments (presuming that there are to be any), proper guarantees as to the political make-up of the house, and an electoral system which does not amount to appointment under another name. Personally, I think we should aim for a fully open list system, with the contents of each list being subject to the appointments commission's scrutiny as to quality and balance.

The fate of the hereditary peers has been left in the balance. Jack Straw weighs the arguments for our expulsion and for our conversion into life peers at some length, and then reaches no conclusion. This seems to me to have been arranged as a dilemma for Cameron -- either he can side with tradition, and let us hang on in there for a few years yet, or he can let us go with a crocodile tear and have the pleasure of appointing 30 or so of his own supporters to the Lords, to balance up the numbers. Interesting - I feel like a defeated gladiator looking up at Caesar.

Interesting weekend too -- interviewing Iain Dale among others for the Conservative candidacy in East Hampshire.


Anonymous Dave Gould said...

I strongly recommend the House of Lords resist any move to elect members. The Lords would end up a mirror of the Commons and Britain would truly become an elective dictatorhip.

The record of the Lords is vastly better than the record of the Commons. This is a point that should be made repeatedly until the entire country gets it. It is the Commons and the unaccountability of Ministers that need to be reformed, not the Lords.

Appointments to the Lords should be made by a jury, or a committee appointed by the Queen.

6:54 pm  
Anonymous Asha said...

Keep up the good work.

7:09 pm  

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