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Lords Reform.


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Well the Gov are finally considering reforming the House of Lords, to make it 80% or even 100% directly elected; errm, why 80%? :? They're also talking about reducing the numbers from over 600, to 450; errm, why not a round 100? :? It's so simple and logic, why can't they get it? :roll: 100 members elected proportionate to the votes per party at a General Election, making it fully democratic and cheaper - sorted. :wink:

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I'm not really sure where I stand on reform of the Lords.

 

I'm certainly anti hereditary peerages, nobody deserves that kind of role purely by accident of birth. Also not in favour of having the Bishops in there (separation of Church and State?), or the Law Lords (did you know that a Law Lord must retire from hearing legal cases at 70, or 75 in some circumcstances, but retains his seat in the House of Lords for life).

 

But I think that life peers, through not having to constantly look to their partys' wishes and worry about re-election can sometimes inject a bit of common sense (especially when it's politically unpopular common sense) into the Parlimentary process. If they were all elected and the numbers were kept in proportion to the General Election result I think we'd just end up with an expensive rubber stamp.

 

I certainly think that there need to be more cross-benchers in there, to reduce further the influence of party politics in the business of scrutinising new legislation. Numbers-wise, they've got the work of 650 MP's to keep an eye on, so I don't think 100 of them would be enough.

 

Maybe my ideal would be a mixture of cross-bench life peers with independently elected peers - not tied to the General Election process. Perhaps even elected for a longer term - say 10 years with 10% replaced every year so that the make-up of the House gradually changes to reflect changing public sentiment. I'd also think about a ban on second terms so there's no party influence on re-election funding.

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I cannot for the life of me understand what possessed Tony Bliar to start this change to the House Of Lords in the first place. OK it might seem unjust for hereditary peers to be there by birthright, and bishops tend to be a bit loopy, but the ex House of Commons politicians kicked upstairs seem to have got the right idea about being the check on excess by the lower chamber. The way elections are in this country giving a vote to the plebs for the upper house would just compound the mistakes they already made by electing aload of losers to be the government in the first place. Cynical? Moi? too right mate!! :wink::wink::wink::wink:

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Not quite Gentlemen: if you look at the percentage per party polled at a general election, you'll find no party polls more than 50%; also fringe parties could poll 1%, thus entitling them to 1 seat; so not a rubber stamp by any means. :roll: As for numbers: the less there is, the less cost to the taxpayer. :wink:

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If seats were shared out percentage wise based on General election results then the elected Lords wouldn't have an individual constituency as such, and therefore no local people they had to pretend to represent.

 

And if a particular party had, say 35%, of the seats to allocate after an election they'd simply give them all to their most loyal supporters and contributors. Depending on the make-up of the house you'd get either a government rubber stamp, or deadlock.

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Not quite: the reality is: that even where MPs are elected from a constiuency, they are not voted for as individuals but because of their party affiliation, and when in Parliament are "whipped" into a bloc vote - so no difference there - except for the 30 or so usual lefty suspects on the Labour back benches. :roll: Proportional representation on a party basis, would truly reflect public opinion, allow parties to put forward their best team from a party list and faciltate the Lords (Senate) becoming the executive branch of Government, whilst the Commons could continue as a purely legislative branch. :? Thus providing the rational division between Executive, Legislature and Judicery long overdue in our archaic system. :roll: As for rubber stamps, with no majority in a 100 seat Senate, no party would have total sway. :wink: As for "deadlock", think you'll find that in cases of no overall control, parties compromise with each other and agree a concensual programme (eg Scottish Parliament). :wink:

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