Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Good Lords!

The government have been forced to abandon plans to introduce 42 day detention without charge thanks to the House Of Lords. Whatever your opinion of the 42 day detention plan, this demonstrates that our Upper House is capable of doing what it is supposed to do - providing a vital check and balance to the Commons. It is also worth mentioning that this is something which elected or appointed upper chambers frequently fail to do.

I've always been opposed to the reform of the House of Lords - although constitutional vandalism would be a more appropriate term for what Labour have been doing. My opposition is due, in part, to the fact that I see the potential flaws in an elected system - principally the potential for either a too powerful governing party or a "lame duck" executive depending on how the electoral barometer swings at the time.

I also see the problems with an appointed upper house which would be open to being stuffed with cronies - something which already happens to an extent - and with that the potential for the rise of a tyrant.

The Lords was far from perfect, but then so is democracy. However, the point that everyone seems to forget and the other reason why I was opposed to the idea of "reform" of the House of Lords is that, basically, it worked. Anachronistic it may be, but as Mark Stein used to say - if something has been around long enough to become anachronistic it must be doing something right (or words to that effect).

There are many areas of our government that do need reform - not least the bloated public sector, failing processes of various departments (lost data? Home Office "not fit for purpose"?), but the least of them was the Upper House or even our constitution. The motivation for the constitutional vandalism perpetrated by the Labour party was not to improve our democracy but simply class hatred.

Hatred, for whatever reason, is a motivation that should not be part of government. That alone should be enough to disqualify the Labour party from ever holding power again. The damage they have wrought on our constitution is merely the clincher.

No comments: