Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Lords Reform

Those readers who access a number of blog sites may have noticed a bit of a theme today as a number of us have committed to making some comment on the reform of the House of Lords.

I can't understand why this is so controversial. The Labour party made an early commitment to dealing with this issue but ended up dealing with the problem in a half hearted way by reducing the number of hereditary peers. This means that now, when one of them dies, the political party in the Lords has a little election to choose who shall fill the dead person's shoes.

In the last parliament there was another half hearted attempt at reform. There was a so called free vote but Blair loyalists were rushing back from all corners of the country to align themselves in a way that would most benefit their political careers (I know because I was on a health select committee visit at the time).

To retain the current system (as apparently favoured by Blair) means a continuation of patronage and cronyism and we need to move to a fully elected second chamber. However, I do have to say that I would prefer a different system of election because, with our current system of first past the post, it would be detrimental to democracy to perpetuate a system which potentially invests so much power in the hands of a minority.