Friday, December 22, 2006

Independent England: The House Of Lords

Over the last 10 years the Labour Party have been carrying out a constitutional "reform" which is nothing other than political vandalism and little short of a coup. Their program of "reform" had nothing to do with wanting to make things better but was purely based on their old left wing bigotry, envy and hatred.

The Lords bore the brunt of this. The left's hatred of the upper class and aristocracy meant that they had little interest in actually improving our democracy - just a blatant, virulent determination to put the upper classes in their place.

The House of Lords was, of course, far from perfect - but what, in a democracy, is perfect? The purpose of the upper House is to provide a vital check and balance to the Commons and ensure that the elected government do not abuse their position and power to advance an agenda based on party political interest ahead of national interest. Labour's indiscriminate use of The Parliament Act has, to some degree, circumvented this and the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act takes us a step further along the road to totalitarianism.

Over the centuries, the importance and role of the Lords has evolved until it was what it was up until a few years ago. A proper reforming house that provided the ideal check and balance to government executive powers. The Lords, on the whole, took their job seriously and acted responsibly. Indeed, the place to hear serious debate as opposed to the Punch and Judy knockabout of the Commons has been the Lords. As the status of hereditary peers diminished outside of Parliament, so they took their role in Parliament more seriously.

Virtually everyone in politics these days sees a future House of Lords being predominantly an elected house. I, personally, don't like this idea if it is going to be elections along the lines of other elections - i.e. for a fixed short term.

To see why I don't like this system you only need to look across the pond at the USA. When the Republicans controlled both houses, Bush had virtually limitless power. Now the Democrats control Congress he is virtually powerless. This swinging from extreme to extreme presents a real problem for a democracy in my opinion.

This brings me to my view on what I would like to see for a future Independent England. I would, as you may have guessed, prefer to see a House of Lords that is based around the traditional - hereditary peers and appointees. However, I recognise that many people just can't buy into this and perhaps a new start as an English nation should bring about a fresh start for the House of Lords.

So perhaps we could have a system of elected Lords - but Lords who are elected for life. I think it would work if we allowed each English county (that is the traditional counties - see earlier post) to elect, say, ten Lords each. Having sworn (and signed) an oath of allegiance to the Crown, each elected Lord would be able to take their seat in the House of Lords and remain there until their death (or until their title was revoked by the reigning monarch under certain circumstances) at which the time the people of their county would elect a new Lord to represent them.

Their position as a Lord could be revoked in two circumstances. Firstly, by being found guilty of a criminal act and secondly if the people of the county raise a petition with enough signatures (the number would depend on how many people reside in that county) to force their departure. In addition to these county Lords there would be the appointed Law Lords and Lords Spiritual (the bishops and Archbishops of the English dioceses).

I believe that such a system would ensure that the Lords remains an effective check and balance to the elected government, preserve the principle of the Lords acting in the national interest ahead of party political interest while giving a greater degree of accountability to the people they represent.

1 comment:

youdontknowme said...

I also believe that there should be reform of the House of Lords with an elected element and my reforms would probably create a type of trilateral legislature instead of a bilateral legislature.

I think that the elected element should be the equivalent of around 10% of the House of Commons which would be 65. The Lords would also have their own giant constituencies and would be elected for 8 year terms.

To stop the House of Lords becoming just another clone of the Commons I think it would be a good idea to make them run as independents so none of them would be allowed to join a political party. This in itself actually creates some problems but nothing major that can’t be handled.

The elected Lords would have much more authority than the unelected ones. If the Commons used the Parliament Act to rush through legislation like they did with fox hunting it would not be rushed through but it would bypass the unelected Lords and go to the elected Lords to vote on which is why it would create a trilateral legislature. I also think that these elected Lords should have the final say on sending troops to foreign countries.