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Interesting Links for 17-02-2017


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 17th, 2017 08:29 am (UTC)
Any discussion of how much smaller the House of Lords ought to be should be based on the number of working peers. The rest (and there still are many, even with the hereditaries mostly gone) are just nominal.

Yes, you need a second chamber, of some kind. It can do all the detail work the Commons doesn't have time for. And it shouldn't be filled with elected politicians: one of those is enough.
Feb. 17th, 2017 10:28 am (UTC)
I am very sympathetic to this. It has always seemed to me that if the role of the upper chamber is revision by experts, elections are probably the worst way of getting them. Unless it has an explicit role in representing the devolved administrations (which it doesn't), better to downgrade its voting power but upgrade the intellectual quality of the average member - which means cutting out the dross.

On that basis, comparison with upper chambers elsewhere is misleading. Particularly in federalised countries, they have a different role.
Feb. 17th, 2017 11:34 am (UTC)
The main purpose of the House of Lords, in my opinion, is as a brake and a counterweight to the populism-driven House of Commons. It has said "do we really want to do this?" many times to the elected members of Parliament who have been whipped by their masters through the lobbies or driven by their electorate to promulgate bad legislation -- Labour's proposals for ID cards is one of many times the crusty old limpets of the Upper House have brought rationality and common sense to the Commons despite Blair and Blunkett's best efforts.

Whether the Upper House should be directly elected or not is another matter -- I for one like the current system of appointments since it results in a greater number of people who are FRS and fewer who are PPE. It's unlikely, for example that someone like Lord Winston or Baroness Warnock would be as deeply involved in the legislative process as they are today if they had to stand for election on a regular basis.
Feb. 17th, 2017 10:35 pm (UTC)
If we can't come up with a selection criteria - I'm not too fond of the 'attempt to stuff it full of your political appointees' system we've got going at the moment, and selection criteria are very difficult when talking about politics - then I'm pretty fond of the 'elected once for a 15-year term and a lifelong pension' plan.

Still relieves the pressure of re-election while providing some kind of mandate.
Feb. 17th, 2017 11:27 pm (UTC)
The problem with elected reps in the upper chamber is they would be standing for election just like the HoC elected representatives. Even with term limits and a pension it still means the pool is limited to folks who seek the office and no-one else. There's also the likelihood of party political candidates using their local party structures to get the vote out, canvass etc. which would tend to overshadow any truly independent candidate for a given constituency. It would certainly mean the end of the Winstons and Warnocks, the Ridleys and others.

A lot of the appointed members of the House of Lords have part-time jobs in industry, science, medicine, academia, letters etc. which widens their world view and prevents intellectual capture by the insular Westminster machine. If the HoL is going to be different then keep it different. Heck I'd even have a place for the old inherited seats, possibly on the basis of a small number of seats rotated through a pool of eligible candidates on an annual basis.
Feb. 18th, 2017 07:13 am (UTC)
I don't see the logic of voting them in, if you can't vote them out again. Surely an important element of elections is accountability?
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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