Nick Clegg does not seem to be having the best of luck these days. A month ago his AV referendum went up in smoke and now it seems his plan to change the way the House of Lords is elected is going the way of the Dodo too. But what did he really expect? Firstly, nobody this side of the solar system has any respect for him and those that say they do are just trying to steal his parking space, but secondly it’s the House of Lords for God’s sake, what was he thinking; they’ll never change.
According to a study conducted by the Times newspaper, almost 80% of elected peers would be against such reforms planned by Mr. Clegg, believing it to be unconstitutional. He planned to reduce the number members down to 300, each an individually elected peer and eventually hoping to remove all hereditary entitlements. Each was to be given a 15-year term, but not surprisingly almost all those surveyed by the newspaper said that they would oppose any and all plans.
All the main parties made reforming the House of Lords part of their 2010 election manifestos, but now it seems that it is unlikely change leading some commentators to suggest that the government could implement the Parliament Act 1911, which effectively bypasses the HOL. This last time this occurred was in 2004 when the Commons passed the Hunting Ban. But it is easy to see why in the hell the Lords wouldn’t want reform.
Back in the day you didn’t have to do much to find yourself a seat in the HOL, all you needed was to be popped out of Baroness’ cherished hotspot and in a number of years your Lordy Lord father would pop his clogs and low and behold you’d have a seat. Now it is a little bit more difficult, but not too much. Hereditary peers still exist and they get paid to sit around for as little as 136 days a year for no more than six hours a day for just under £70,000. It seems the perfect job, why would you want to give that up, and why would you allow some snotty upstart politician that suffered badly in one electoral vote, who has turned his attention to the system that has given you most afternoons off? A Lord without a peerage is like a shire horse without anything to tow, all it is, is a bucket load of rancid old meat! Even when the Times put out this survey to all 789 members only 300 or so could be bothered to fill it out and return, what does that say about how futile a system it is?
The Deputy Prime Minister has long stated his view on the House, “I have always supported 100% elected,” And the Conservatives have also tried to sound out how they will attempt to improve the current system, “We will seek to build a consensus for a mainly elected second chamber to replace the current house of Lords, that an efficient and effective second chamber should play an important role in our democracy,” (Conservative Election Manifesto 2010) but with more than double the amount of peers than either political party, do they really seem likely to change current law and insinuate anarchy in their ranks?
Do we need a House of Lords really? Surely the point of electing a government in the House of Commons is so they that can implement the laws they put forward in their manifesto and not to see them fall short because the House of Lords is closed for the day due to a day trip from the residential home where the majority of members live. They are mostly unelected, stuffy and completely out of touch with the modern world. Any group of persons that vote against a bill that bans fox hunting because they consider it ‘traditional’ instead of a senseless and wretched blood sport should be stripped down to their briefs and given a 10-second head start before a group of starved wolfhounds are let off their lease.
I think the public would have more respect for Nick Clegg and his viewpoint if he were to take a few stark-mad, slightly loopy Lords and take them out onto Dartmoor and release them back into the wild doing a decent thing for his career and for us – the ever accepting tax payer!
- There should be a referendum on the House of Lords (politicalpromise.co.uk)
- Lords united against Nick Clegg’s reform plans (guardian.co.uk)
- Poll: Peers ‘oppose Lords reforms’ (mirror.co.uk)
- Constitutional crisis fears over Lords reform, new poll of Peers finds (telegraph.co.uk)
- British PM David Cameron proposes smaller, elected House of Lords (theglobeandmail.com)
- Now Cameron turns attack on Lib Dem plans for elected House of Lords (independent.co.uk)
- U.K. deputy PM proposes elected House of Lords (cbc.ca)