Tuesday, May 31, 2011

House of Lords reform

The unelected pigs are squealing
at the prospect of democracy in the House of Lords.
The United Kingdom is not a proper democracy. This is indisputable for many reasons, the existence of a monarch with the power to dissolve parliament, an electoral system that renders the votes of millions of people utterly worthless and most importantly the undemocratic shambles that is the House of Lords.

The idea of a completely unelected upper house would be utterly incomprehensible to residents of many other countries. Admittedly democratic systems across the world suffer from their own specific defects but the idea of an unelected Senate would be shocking to most people in France, Germany, Italy or the United States.

The votes of around 40,000,000 Brits determine the 650 representatives in the House of Commons yet the 789 members of the House of Lords have been selected by just 9 men and 1 woman since the introduction of the Life Peerages act in 1958 (see table below). At first the Prime Minister selected life peers to top up an upper house stuffed with hereditary peers who had simply inherited their positions of power and authority from their fathers. Before the 1997 General Election Tony Blair promised House of Lords reform but only carried out half of it removing hundreds of Tory Hereditary peers in 1999 but failing to bring in a proper democratic replacement in favour of stuffing the place with 357 of his hand picked unelected political stooges.

Since 1999 the selection of unelected life peers has been an important part of a Prime Minister's job allowing him to alter the balance of power in the upper house to suit his own interests. This is best illustrated by the fact that David Cameron created 116 life peers in his first year in office,  nearly ten times the rate of Tory predecessor Alec Douglas-Home who created only 14 life peers in his one year stint as Prime Minister between 1963 and 1964.

Before the 2010 General Election all three major parties committed themselves to introducing some democracy to the upper house in their manifestos however the overwhelming majority of the unelected rabble that are famously allowed to claim expenses just by signing in and doing absolutely nothing else are obviously strongly opposed to any kind of democratic reform.

The current unelected peers will almost certainly vote down any proposals to apply democracy to the upper house and some have even claimed that use of the Parliament Act to impose reform would be "unconstitutional". They know as well as anyone that the United Kingdom has no written constitution and that the Parliament Act has been used before to prevent the undemocratic Lords from sinking legislation from the less undemocratic Commons.

It is quite pleasant to know that these horrible unelected political stooges are getting so upset at the prospect of losing their power, influence and expenses however this feeling is tainted by the knowledge that they will just be replaced by another tier of corrupt, dishonest, self serving career politicians wearing the rosettes of the three main political parties in the UK, Neo-Liberal Blue, Neo-Liberal Red & Neo-Liberal Yellow.

Peerage dignities created under the Life Peerages Act 1958
Prime Minister Party Tenure Peers Per year
Harold Macmillan Conservative 1957–1963 48 9.6
Alec Douglas-Home Conservative 1963–1964 14 14.0
Harold Wilson Labour 1964–1970 123 20.5
Edward Heath Conservative 1970–1974 56 14.0
Harold Wilson Labour 1974–1976 80 40.0
James Callaghan Labour 1976–1979 57 19.0
Margaret Thatcher Conservative 1979–1990 200 18.2
John Major Conservative 1990–1997 141 20.1
Tony Blair Labour 1997–2007 357 35.7
Gordon Brown Labour 2007–2010 34 11.3
David Cameron Conservative 2010- 116 116
Total 1,226 23.2

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