Thursday, January 29, 2009

If it ain't broke ....

Mary Riddell offers her two penneth worth on the Lords corruption scandal in today's Telegraph. It is, of course, leftist nonsense - but I can see those on the left with more persuasive tongues than the ridiculous Riddell using this as an excuse to push forward their own agenda. Which has a certain chutzpah seeing how all those Lords who are involved in this are Labour peers.

I've written a lot about the Lords in the past and my opinion hasn't changed. An elected upper house will not be immune from corruption anymore than the current house is or, indeed, the Commons is. Indeed, as Britain continues to spiral into authoritarianism it is inevitable that corruption will become more prevalent as that is the norm in authoritarian systems.

Why do you think individuals and companies give large donations to political parties? For the "feel good" factor? They do so to buy influence and amend legislation to suit them - remember the exemption from tobacco advertising for Formula 1? I can't decide it Riddell is just naive or plain stupid - probably both.

An elected upper house will inevitably be weighted in favour of one political party or another. Forget all the promises of "safeguards" and "checks and balances" - it would happen as it does in the USA. The result of this is what we see in the US - that they end up with a governing administration which is either too powerful (as with Bush's first term) or a lame duck (as with his second term) depending on which way the upper house leans.

The Lords had worked as it was supposed to do for decades and was the product of a constitution honed over centuries by political minds far more capable than those of today. It provided a vital check and balance against the abuse of power by a government and was the reason why Britain had never fallen the way of other "democratic" nations into authoritarianism.

The "problem" with the House of Lords was never really a problem except for those who could not see past their own envy and spite and were incapable of looking past their bigoted prejudices at the historical context of the Lords. As soon as they felt they could do so, they began to take the axe to the Lords and our constitution - the result is a considerably weakened Upper House, an overly powerful government and the descent into authoritarianism.

When we eventually come through these times and re-emerge as a proper and fit democratic nation once again as we once were - whether it be as a united Britain or an independent England (more likely) - then our historians will look back at this period of history with utter contempt for this generation of politicians. They will look at the turmoil of the 21st century and wonder how on earth we allowed such people to gain control.

1 comment:

bernard said...

Your last two sentences are an absolute dead certainty.