Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A Brief History of HoL Reform

There are plans afoot to develop a device that can read Stephen Hawking's mind. Bit of a mistake, if you ask me. I guarantee that they'll discover that what he was actually trying to type was: "Pass me a beer, innit," which accidentally resulted in the publication of A Brief History of Time.

The question of House of Lords reform is big news here in the UK. In its current guise, the House of Lords is filled with the rump of the aristocracy, bishops, judges and life-peers - the latter invariably being from within the ranks of the political elite with a few of the great and the good thrown in for good measure. The HoL is a revising body and has no political power beyond the ability to delay government legislation.

The Lib-Dems want to replace the current HoL with a directly elected body having the ability (and not just the potential) to defy the House of Commons through democratic legitimacy. It also, by logical inference, dismisses the role of the Queen, as she is the boss aristo and de facto head of the current HoL.

The alternative of creating a HoL comprising solely the great and the good is an ideal fraught with problems; who chooses the members and how can that possibly be free of political interference? Given the political elite currently appoints new members, the current system is highly contaminated by politics anyway.

You can either leave the system as it is, or do away with it completely. If fairness is the aim, then there is no fair alternative; if scrutiny is the objective, appoint a team of constitutional lawyers to do the job. If it ain't broke, don't fix it; if it is broke, then get rid of it. Sweden and Finland manage to get along just fine without an upper chamber.


Alan Burnett said...

"A Brief History of Time Gentleman Please".
I have always thought I would look good in House of Lords robes - and I'm deaf, that must be an advantage

Anonymous said...

NZ doents have an Upper House either.