Monday, 9 July 2012
House of Lords reform
You frankly have to ask yourself why the government has nothing better to do than concern itself with reforming a chamber which frankly doesn't seem to be that relevant in the first place?
The answer, of course, is that the Limp Dumps need to be seen to have achieved something in this coalition government. They entered the government on the understanding that there would be a referendum on reforming the first past the post voting system but it seems that when the question was put to the electorate they couldn't be bothered to answer it! In my view, this was a missed opportunity - but that's democracy for you.
Reform of the House of Lords has been on the agenda for years and successive governments have picked away at it. The most significant change was when the Law Lords were replaced with a Supreme Court. What a shame that the highest court in the land was replaced by just another version which seems bound to be told what to do by the EU.
Interestingly, I was sitting in the dentist the other day - I'd thrown a filling so was not in the best of moods - when I read an article about Abu Qatada which was saying that the rulings of the EU courts are only advisory and not binding on the member states. Perhaps someone should tell Teresa May?
But I digress. The bill published in June calls for an 80% elected upper house with members serving for a non-renewable 15 year term. The numbers would also be reduced to 450. The remaining 20% would be appointed with spaces being reserved for way is described as 'Lords Spiritual' - a move which harks back to bishops sitting in the house. Frankly, I find that totally unnecessary but that's just my opinion.
The problem I have with all this is that I cannot understand why something so trivial should be allowed to divert time away from the more important issues of the day like paying off our debts and sorting out the bankers and newspapers.
Still, I suppose Clegg has to justify his existence somehow and we can always vote him out in 2015...