Saturday, 17 September 2011

The House of Peers

Mark Pack speaking at the LibDem Conference today urged Liberal Democrats to lobby any members of the House of Lords known to them to encourage such Peers to support a fully elected upper house. Mark pointed out that we were the Liberal DEMOCRATIC Party. Well I'm sorry Mark. I can see nothing relentlessly democratic in electing a replica of the Commons. Whatever form of proportional voting is used - and the experience of AV is still a raw wound - one might expect a re-run of the tribal voting that has characterised our so called democracy for decades. It was pure fluke that just this time the General Election result led to the Coalition. Also my limited exposure to Hereditary Peers is that a significant number have much more empathy with the ordinary people than many career politicians, ex-politicians, business men & such like. I would like to see a house of Lords - call it a Senate or whatever - with a maximum number of 600, (like the revised Commons) made up of 20% Hereditaries elected, as now, by themselves; 20% nominated for their expertise and/or service to the Community by a majority of the Upper House - NOT the Government; 60% elected as proposed by the Bill. I do agree that there should be no place as of right for religious leaders - some might of course qualify as nominated members based on what they've done - not their rank in whatever religion they might espouse. In my opinion such a mix would lead to an Upper House that knew what it was talking about and could mount a real challenge to the Commons in the situation that prevailed until May 2010, & is likely to prevail again, i.e an elected dictatorship.

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