Thursday, 24 February 2011

Dissolution, Reformation and Overhaul.

A few members have asked why statements didn't include a view on abolition. All I can say is that with a 350 word limit, it is hard to cover everything. I took the view that I would offer 'tasters' of my background and experience and then be open to more searching questions - this may have been a mistake.

My view is in line with GP policy which is essentially for total reform. I am somewhat old fashioned in that I do think old establishments have had and may continue to have a purpose in  providing continuity and point of focus and in a lot of cases a draw for tourists for our economy.

I also believe that having some kind of second house offers scrutiny and a set of reins on the Commons. Like insurance policies, it mostly works in our favour, but sometimes it really doesn't.

However, like all 'old' things, we have to move and change otherwise there is no hope for innovation and new thinking. In an ideal world, I'd like to turn up and say 'everybody out, we're starting again'! However, total revolution does not always bring the desired outcome and sometimes situations worsen. Also, our country would miss a chance on negotiating the outcome and we would lose many current dedicated Lords and all their expertise.

I am not for a fully elected house. Only because I don't want more of the same as in the House of Commons, what would be the point? The Lords has to offer a different flavour and slightly different purpose. Also, I don't subscribe to the notion that democratic elections are always democratic. There is still favouritism, tactics, dealings and money involved; we don't always get the 'right' person.

What would I like to see? Well there are many ideas out there and I for one would be up for discussing all of them. I'm not sure on the percentage make-up, that could be negotiated, but I'd like to see something like this:
1)Existing group of life peers to be allowed to fade naturally or offer the chance to leave on maybe health or other grounds.
2)A partially elected House on normal election lines.
3)A 'body' to decide and offer places to known contributive citizens from across our countries. Bearing in mind that there is lots of expertise 'out there' which is never recognised and a lot of people would never have a hope of being elected in any other way. We need to find these people and offer them the chance.
4)A section to be offered on a 'lottery'/ jury system, (a friend, John, ran that by me - thanks).

The time limits set on how long someone sits could be negotiable, but I think a large proportion should be lengthy stays, (5-10 years), to offer continuity and stability.

Anyone who has worked at even local government level, as I have as a Councillor, will know that it takes a substantial amount of time to learn the ropes and too much change in members could destabilise the House.

I hope this clarifies my position.


  1. You seem to have missed the point about the House of Lords. The house of Lords is not an elected body - that is the difference between it and the House of Commons. The House of Lords is made up of a selection of some of the most intelligent people in the country who have all been majorly successful in their area of expertise who bring together a far more diverse range of people who all contribute their knowledge and experience to the running of the country. What exactly do you have against life peers, what problems do you find with our current government system?

  2. Thanks Claire,
    I'm assuming that you're not a Green Party member. I'm only guessing, but just in case here is the link to the Green Party Manifesto for a Sustainable Society (MfSS).

    PA460 The House of Lords, as presently constituted, has no legitimate mandate because it is not elected. It should be abolished and replaced by a second chamber directly elected by proportional representation. In order to provide independence from the House of Commons, the electoral method should ideally be different for each chamber. With a Parliament elected by AMS, as above, the Green Party favours a second chamber elected by Single Transferrable Vote in multimember constituencies. Its function would be to scrutinise legislation devised by the central Parliament, and to propose amendments where it felt necessary. The final decisions would, however, rest with the central Parliament.

    As you can see from my post, I am not in complete agreement with Green policy, but do think we need to open up the Lords to experts/people who ordinarily wouldn't have chance. I agree with you on the purpose and make up of the House of Lords, but do feel, in line with Party policy, that measured change would be a good thing.

    I have also met with a young man, due to inherit his peerage and he didn't want it. He wanted another career and felt the task too onerous. The feelings of those due to inherit should also be considered, therefore.