Tuesday 10 July 2012


The Guardian reported yesterday a letter sent by 9 Tory ex-cabinet ministers (and David Steele...why?) to Cameron, demanding that he scupper Nick Clegg's plans for making the completely undemocratic chamber into a marginally less undemocratic one.

Despite Cameron promising a three line whip (vote this way or you're finished while I'm leader), it is thought that between 50 and 100 Tories are prepared to bet that Cameron won't be around for long enough to interfere much with their climb up the slimey pole.

Clegg's plans for the second chamber are far from perfect, in that they involved a house of 450 (when the USA manages with 100 and in theory we should manage with 8); then they are to be elected for 15 years, which massively reduces their democratic legitimacy; the plans still leave 20% of membership to be appointed by patronage (lickspittles bought for favours), and strangely, in a largely secular country, places being reserved for 20+ bishops from England's established church. 

So, many faults there, but a step in the right direction, remembering that at present there are around 900 members most of whom, once appointed, are there for life, elevated to the aristocracy and given anachronistic titles and styles; there are 92 members who owe their seats to the fact that they were born to rule (albeit that they now have to be elected from among their own hereditary titled elite), and that there are bishops from the Church of England. Two of the 92 "hereditaries" are genuinely hereditary; their sons will take over when they go to the upper, upper chamber: the Duke of Norfolk who as Marshall of England organises state occasions, and Viscount Cholmondeley, the lord great chamberlain!

Many Tory MPs and peers say that Lords reform will disturb the delicate constitutional balance, without bringing benefit to the way the country is run (however much it needs it). (Of course what they really mean is that they have a strong personal interest in the status quo of around £300 a day for doing very little.)

This letter comes from "grandees" most of whose names mean little or nothing to me.  I do recognise, however,  good old reactionaries like Norman Tebbit, Ian Lang and Michael Forsyth, the last of which seems so resistant to change that you wonder how long he wears his socks before reaching for another identical pair from the sock drawer. 

It puts Cameron in an difficult position, torn between his agreement with Clegg  to support this measure (and secure the future of the coalition, without which he would be sunk) and retaining  the loyalty of a large section of his backbenchers, already tearing themselves apart over Europe.

It raises many interesting questions. Should there be a referendum? Or would that, like the voting systems one, be a choice of two options, neither of which anyone really wants? How long could Cameron keep the Tories in government without the Liberals? Still he's off to chilax at Wimbledon this afternoon, so that's alright then!


  1. A referendum, shurley shome mishtake!

    We can't have a referendum on changing the House of Lords, that would show that "Call me Dave" is agreeable to referendi and we can't have that now can we? :D

    You hold a referendum on the HoL, next we'll be having a referendum on Europe and heaven forbid we might even be having a referendum on Scotland's Independence! :lol:

    Personally I think the current "membership" of the HoL are a bunch of old...................

    If, by some queer counting procedure Cameron gets his way then I think we'll end up with a bunch of old............

    Either way we'll end up with a money grabbing trough full of a bunch of old............

  2. Nick Clegg's proposals are purely to benefit the libdems and nothing more.

    I'm unsure if an 'elected' house is the best way to go. Let's face it, the people in it will (according to Clegg) be placed there via the party list system and I'm not in favour of that in the least. In Holyrood we have 56 MSPs who are unelected which is as bad as unelected members of the Lords.

    The problem nowadays is that for many politicians money is what motivates them. Back when I was young they weren't paid but motivated by status and conscience.

  3. Having professional folks from different areas should be a good idea, but unfortunately, that they are picked by politicians sours the mix completely.

    Also, it should make sense to have ex-politicians in there, I mean, who has the best experience in running things than a long serving politician? The trouble with at is, we now have career politicians who've done nothing else except sashay around the westminster bubble, they're so out of touch when they leave office they have no idea how real people live.

    This probably should be voted down, its half baked. Which isn't really surprising.

    What would I suggest? I have no idea, I hope it won't be our problem in a couple of years time.

  4. The trouble with Call Me Hitler, Anon, is that he agrees to stuff one minute and then disagrees with it the next... which I rather suspect is indicative of his being a useless toff who is where he is because of his money and connections with Buckingham Palace (which to you and me means absolutely nothing, but to the Tory party is a holy grail.

    You're right though. The Lords is justified by the fact that on occasions it gets things right. Largely though it's a pile of old.... having a jolly good time, eating and drinking well, at our expense...then spending the afternoon dozing and chattering, at our expense.

    The alternative is almost unbelievably ridiculous with its 15 year tenures (a seat for life) its 20% appointed, ensuring that Call Me, Clegg and Dammy Alexander gets their seats ...and almost as bad, the bloody bishops, in the 21st century.

    (It's a complete waste of time having them as all they know about is the inadequacies of women and homosexuals to be priests.)

    But, a bit like devolution and independence, you can never expect anything to be done quickly in this country.

  5. In my opinion, SR, election has to be better than appointment or getting there because of whose bed you were conceived in, but it is absolutely ridiculous to elect people for 15 years.

    The obvious thing to do when you are elected for that length of time is to put you feet up, do as little as you can, and given the record of our London elected representatives and the shower that are appointed, steal as much as you can, whilst making sure you have somewhere to go after you finish in government.

    I see what you are saying about the list members in Parliament. I'm sure there are ways of dealing with this, but they are still elected. And they bring a balance to Parliament that would not be there otherwise. For example, if we had no list members, there would be no independent, no green and I think 3 Tories and 2 Liberals. The SNP would still form the government, but in all the past Parliaments, Labour would have dominated completely.

    Whatever way you look at it that is bad. I may think that the likes of Rennie a placeman if ever there was one, Clegg's man in Scotland, and Davidson, who is Camerfool's woman, are complete wastes of space... embarrassments even, but I'd rather have some representation from these parties than none.

    So maybe we need to look at new rules for their election (actually some of the proposals from Carlaw Jackson, or Jackson Carlaw, I can never remember which, sounded quite good).

    The trouble with not paying politicians, of course, is that Lord Snooty and his Eton Oxford chums would be the only ones who could afford to take 5 or 10 years out of their lives to serve, and that lot may have worked in the past, but in the 21st century they have turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.

  6. As Tony Benn once said, Pa, the HoL has always been full of people who have done a favour, first for the king, and more recently, the parties.

    Prime ministers have used it to buy loyalty and some have even sold the seats, either for personal or party gain.

    Like, it seems, everything else in the UK, it is riddled with corruption and sleaze.

    I can see your point that ex-politicians have experience, and therefore might be reasonably expected to be able to bring something to the place, but the reality is that most of our politicians are absolute crap and have wreaked havoc in the Commons and continue to blether rubbish in the Lords.

    Who wants to know what Forsyth thinks, or Blair, or Ian Lang, or Gordon Brown? As for the current lot...is there one whose opinion is worth anything? They are a bunch of bumbling amateurs.

    Te other thing that I find offensive to the point of anger is when a politician is roundly dismissed by his or her electorate, and the prime minister then sticks him/her in the House of Lords.

    What a bloody cheek that is. A slap in the face for the voters...as in 'I know better'.

    Linda Chalker was ditched by her electorate in 1992 while she was a minister, so Major simply put her in the lords and she continued with her ministerial duties... Chris Patten was the same (although not a minister).

    That should be illegal!

    What's the answer...?

    Dunno, but whatever it is we won't get it. There are nearly 900 people in that place; they wear coronets, and red robes with ermine collars they refer to each other as "noble" and "My lord"; the expect other people to do the same. It's like something from a restoration farce.

    My answer would be get rid of it. Replace it with a senate of 100 people, 5 years tenure. Qualification for election at least 20 years spent in industry or social service (including the church), politics or military. No outside interests (directorships, etc). Mandate to turn up to work every day. No titles or honorific for self or wife or children.

    No one would be appointed and Norfolk and Colmondeley could arrange to bury royals without sitting in parliament... for heaven's sake all they need to be are specialised events co-orinators and you don't need to be in parliament to be that.

    It should be made absolutely clear to these people that they are the servants of the people (as it should to the spivs who populate the Commons). They are nothing special. First class travel is not an option, and subsidies meals and drink are off.

    Lastly the status of the parliament in England should be just that. It is presently a royal palace which gives them rights that they should not have.

    But after all that, I completely agree with you. Hopefully by 2015 it will not be our problem and if they want a house of a 1000 members all called kings, never mind lords, we won't care.

  7. What great fun! The Tory awkward squad (which seems to bigger by the day) want to force this issue, in the hope of ending the coalition. They seem to be living on a bizarre planet on which they think that if they force a general election the Tories will win outright and be able to form a government without the shackles of the Lib Dems. (The latter I assume being consigned to oblivion and no longer just a foot note in history the same as call me.) What’s more likely to happen is that Ed Millibean will become PM by default! Not a great result for the SNP and the referendum, as we really want Mr Cameron and his interfering cronies telling us all that we are bitter together and that we can have some jam tomorrow if only we vote “NO” (but they wont tell us what flavour or how much)!

  8. The Tory right has always lived in cloud cuckoo land Munguin.

    An immediate General Election would almost undoubtedly deliver a Labour victory, but it would be out of the frying pan and into the fire because they aren't even vaguely ready for government and the thought of Ed as PM is almost as silly as the thought of DC.

  9. tris

    And the silliest idea of all (which cos there is a god in heaven and will never ever happen hurrah) is the one whereby Alex Salmond becomes The First Minister(or his highness) of An independent Scotland.

    here i aint checked the polls today just how many points have the snps Independence garbage fallen behind today.

    Devo max the last refuge of the snps scoundrels.............We wont allow it and the snp will bin the referendum mark my words.

  10. Dream on Niko.

    By the way got any answers to the list of questions I posted up the other day, No, I thought not. Typical unionist living in "dependence heaven" Well guess what Niko, we are all living in the REAL world!

    Perhaps you should STOP reading the Daily Mail for ALL your information, they don't do TRUTH on Independence very well!

    The trouble you have Niko is that the D.B. shoot themselves in the foot EVERY day. Here's the latest wee ditties from D.B. "foot shooting central".



    Oh, before I forget Niko, just so you are really up to date here's ANOTHER article about INDEPENDENCE!


    So you see it is NOT just Scotland that is looking at Independence from Westminster Jersey is as well. Now consider this when Jersey goes Independent how long do think it will be before Guernsey goes Independent or the Isle of Man goes fully Independent. You see Niko Independence is in the air ALL around what laughing passes as "Great??? Britain!"

  11. Great pudding. ha ha ha

    Niko. Don't worry about opinion polls.

    They are being run every few days but always by people who have a vested interest in seeing the figures go down.

    You can make an opinion poll say anything you want it to Niko.

    Good articles Arbroath.

    Jersey will probably go (it already has very close ties with France) and yep, I imagine that the rest of the CIs will want to go. It will be interesting to know what happens with Sark now that the vile Tory Barclay brothers have taken over there. Hopefully they will kick them off and go independent with Jersey.

    Northern Ireland will probably be a part of the republic within 20 years.

    Te trouble with the Brits is they always have to take over other people's countries and meddle.