Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Being Eurosceptic but pro-unelected Lords is madness.

The costly, undemocratic beast from Brussels must be slain. That is now pretty mainstream among right-wing politicians and commentators. So why are they so many of them so keen to defend the current make-up of the House of Lords?

Democracy is democracy. Those such as myself oppose the EU on the basis that it should be for the British people to decide their own future. But that's no use if we have then have an unelected second chamber which meddles in our democracy with no mandate. Even the Earl of Dartmouth, formerly a sitting Peer in the House of Lords and now an MEP, has branded the HoL as dangerously out of touch and unaccountable.

Radical change in the UK requires power to be put back in the hands of the masses. And that requires ripping up the rule book of how things are currently done. The legislative procedure requires a fundamental overhaul in the UK.

Oh, but some may cry. An elected second chamber under PR would give a voice to the likes of UKIP, the Greens and Respect. Well sorry but if we want democracy in this digital age we must accept plurality. We must accept that the two-party or even three party system in Britain is finished. That era over, finished. Tribal loyalties have slowly broken over the past decade and will continue to slide, in my opinion. Cowering away from this fact leaves us with shameful consequences, such as close to one million 2010 UKIP voters going completely unrepresented in the House of Commons.


Anonymous said...

Sorry but I don't agree.
The argument against the EU is that not only is it not democratic but that it could never ber democratic as there is no such thing as a European people. An elected parliament wouldn't change that particular fundamental.
The argument against an elected HoL is why is an elected second chamber a goood thing and to answer that you have to define what the second chamber is for in the first place (and along the way define the purpose of the first chamber).
There is an argument for change incorporating the seperation of the legislature from the executive and for checks and balances not for fiddling with current structures in such a piecemeal way.

Of course, the other reason is that in the pols. want it, it must be wrong :)

Peter Melia said...

I’ve thought about the HoL for many a long year, and have come to the conclusion that the problem is not HoL at all, there is no problem there, the REAL problem is unrestrained democracy .
Mr. Heaver’s statement “...requires power to be put back in the hands of the masses...” is absurd.
In Britain power has never been in the hands of the masses.
There are only two countries when the masses did indeed have uncontrolled power, and in both countries, after a short while the masses “elected” a dictator. The first was France, with their revolution, wherein the masses (actually the Paris masses) inflicted untold horrors on the people they purported to represent, and in quick succession a newer, more horrible flavour of mass rule taking over, in the process devouring the leaders of the previous horror. After 5 years of dreadful experiments, they gave up and “elected” Napoleon. In Russia, the masses tried to rule for a very short period, but where outmaneuvered by the Bolsheviks.
If we do away with HoL who or what is there left to restrain the government when it oppresses the people? All governments, who always claim that their purpose in life is to protect the people, end up oppressing them to some extent.
So for this reason it is essential that the HoL is maintained, the only question being the quality of it’s members.
It seems to me that we desperately need, in this, or almost any other country, a Second Chamber, composed of Wise and Experienced people, unaligned, who, once appointed, will sit in the HoL, for life, that is until a mandatory retirement age is reached.
The purpose of this HoL will be as now, to scrutinise all matters concerning the House of Commons and either accept, reject, or refer them back for modification, taking into account suggested changes.

Their sole purpose is to protect the people’s God-given rights and freedoms.
To reflect this duty, salaries should be high, to reduce the temptations of corruptors.
They should be honoured and entitled, and regarded as a privileged elite.
The only question outstanding will be the method of selecting the members, assuming the numbers are more-or-less as now.
Should they be inherited, as now?
Elected? If elected by whom, the masses, or by the educated?
Nominated? If nominated, by whom?
If nominated by a political party, should there be limits of numbers per party?
Nominated by some sort of commission of Wise Citizens? If so how would the commission be selected/nominated/voted?
Achieve eligibility, by virtue of eminence and experience in some (any) walk of life, teachers/doctors/lawyers/production workers/sales workers/service workers/transport workers/ mariners/aircrew/military etc.
For me this last one “achieve eligibility” is very attractive, as it would ensure a continuous supply of experienced and independently minded candidates.