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Monday, 29 January 2018

Lords abolition - options

If it's not clear now, it will become astoundingly clear to the nation over the next few weeks that we must abolish the Lords in the form in which it is now constituted. The House has been so grossly polluted with thieves, peculators, placemen, barrators, perjurers and all the crooked corrupt filth and refuse from the political class that the scum of their crookedness has irredeemably befouled those who by honour, virtue and service are really deserving of elevation to the peerage. As it is practically impossible to cull the filth, we must seek more radical solutions.

There are three options for an upper house; elected, appointed or mixed. The problem with an elected upper house is that we create a rival to the Commons with democratic legitimacy - less easy to uphold the supremacy of the people, particularly if upper house members are not elected for life. Appointed runs into the familiar problems of opening an honourable system to the faecal touch of the political hand, unless appointments and all influence over them is removed from politicians. 

I have already suggested that we rescue our honours system from political debasement by banning politicians from anything above BEM. In return, we should create a new, special order for political service limited to say 100 members appointed for life with annual nominations to any vacancies by the sitting prime minister, but with no rights for the order to sit in an upper chamber. They would get colourful cod-mediaeval robes, a glittery breast star, post-nominals and a church service once a year with the sovereign. Candidates should be limited to Privy Councillors, to restrain the basest instincts of prime ministers to pay back big favours. 

The much needed renovation of the palace of Westminster offers a useful opportunity to start the change. While works take place at the east end, the Commons should move into the Lords chamber and take over their offices and canteens. The Lords can go to the Excel exhibition centre in Docklands, fitted out as a chamber in that ghastly EU semi-circular configuration as a lesson in how we should never adopt this style for the Commons. 

It's high time we bit the bullet on this. The Lords must go.
Would you really want to shake Lord Rennard's hand? Without gloves?


DeeDee99 said...


I fully expect the House of Frauds will give us ample justification for abolishing them, as they try desperately to defy the Will of the People and impose a Brexit in Name Only on us in order to protect their own vested interests, not least their EU Pensions.

I would support an appointed Chamber but appointments made following nomination from a Committee which has to following a set procedure of choosing candidates from specific sectors, including: Big Business; Small and Medium Sized Business; Armed Services; Trade Unions; University Sector; wider Public Sector; Sciences; Agricultural.

They should serve for a maximum of 15 years and be on a strictly one-in-one-out basis.

Stephen J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen J said...

Perhaps we might send them off to some of blair's houses, since he created this shitty system.

The reason we had hereditary peers until 1911 was that not only was it in their interests to protect their interests, it was in our interests too... Since these are the same thing.

The trouble began when Lloyd-George couldn't get his socialist way over pensions... How is that working out for us?

We should find some of those old families and spend a little time looking for the rightful heirs to around 1000 non-paid peers, provide a house for around 100-200 of them to sit at a time and then let them get on with their scrutiny of our feckless MP's.

However, the ultimate power should be invested in the electorate with a right to call a referendum on acquiring enough signatures to make such an event difficult, but possible should we need it.

The hereditary thing is such a great idea because, the type of people that inherit, tend to have spare time, be very well educated and have plenty of dosh, as well as in general not being socialist, but cONSERVATIVE (with a small c), rather than modern effin' tories.

jack ketch said...

It is time the Sovereign took back sovereignty...or rather that those who stole it in the first place return it to it's rightful owner....and do penance. The House of ConMen should repeal the various Parliaments Acts, the monarch or the Prince Of Wales (god help us) should attend every cabinet meeting as is their right. The current honours system is a joke, the Queen alone should appoint peers and the HoL should return to the way it was until Blair, hereditary peers not sporting 'heroes'.

But PMT.May has already made abundantly clear that, after BrexSShite, she will emasculate the Lords for their defiance ...and the Supreme Court too. The day the Prime Minster sat in the Lords glowering and threatening was an even lower point for our parliamentary democracy than even the plebis-cide itself.

It took us being invaded 5 times, 3-4 civil wars, regicide and nearly two thousand years to form our system of Parliamentary Democracy, with all it's faults. It will take but some 3 decades, 3 megalomaniac PMs, some plebis-cides and BrexSShite to destroy it.

Domo said...

Appointed always leads to the problem of appointed by who?
Hereditary sounds good in theory, but do you really want lady Nugee inheriting authority?

Anonymous said...

The real point about hereditary is that there is nothing quite so random as a man's trouser tadpoles... Lady Nugee might have fallen in lurve with a white van driver from Rochester, stranger things have happened.

NB: in Switzerland, women were not even allowed to vote until 1971. The principle being that a woman's interests were the same as their "men", without the flightiness!

(Holds onto his hat and hides behind sofa...)

jack ketch said...

in Switzerland, women were not even allowed to vote until 1971

I seem to recall a German magazine 'exposee' from the early 90s ridiculing a small electoral area in Switzerland where women were still not allowed to vote and men had to strap on a sword to be allowed to cast their ballot.

Cuffleyburgers said...

What an ugly sod lord rennard is and no, I wouldn't shake his hand.

I agree it needs reform, but I am also acutely aware that there is no reform that would actually make it better.

It is like Trumps shitholes comment - these shitholes are shitholes because the people who live there have made them into Shitholes.

The HoL is a cess pit because the people who have been sent there have made it into a cess pit. The people who will design and implement any HoL reform are the same who filled the current version so the prospects that any future version will be better are precisely zero.

Anonymous said...

A precursor to abolition would be to remove the gravitas associated with the place. A simple way of doing this would be for a Bill declaring all citizens to be bestowed with their choice of the titles; Lord, Baron or Earl. I would exclude Dukedoms as the reserve of royal princes. I think Lord Raedwald has a ring to it don't you think?

Dave_G said...

Reformation of the HoC would be more fitting. The HoL can be dealt with as the afterthought it is.

£100k/year but strictly no external interests/influences, banning lobbying, guaranteed recall, fixed term length and accountability for misdeeds, malfeasance and corruption.

Time for politicians to be responsible and not just mouthpieces for vested interests.

Mark The Skint Sailor said...

I've always said that appointment to the second house by random ballot, very much like jury service would put people in place with no overall political majority. The post would be fully paid and would also get a pension afterwards the same as working in the armed forces because taking someone away from work for a long time would affect their re-employment.

The benefit being they would be from all walks of life and with a broad variety of experience. None of it political.

The only disadvantage would be to set the rules strict enough to avoid corruption.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a system like that with the bishops or the order of the garter? Fixed numbers of academics, businessmen, politicians even! Members of each group to be nominated by whatever method the group chose. Once made a member of the HoL it would be for life or until the member chose to retire at which point they lose everything bar the title.

This system would keep the numbers fixed, ensure that special interests were represented in a transparent way yet retain a degree of independence. There could even be a national lottery for a group of 'ordinary' people so we could all have a chance of getting a place!

andy said...

I don't know which would be better, an elected or appointed upper chamber,I guess it depends who gets to do the appointing but either way I`d have the condition that nobody can serve in it if they have previously had any kind of connection to the political process other than voting,so no ex MPs,no MPs aides or researchers,no lobbyists or quangocrats,no MPs family members,no members of any political party instead have solid citizens of a certain age with real world experience of business,law,medical issues etc with a fixed number of members and a fixed term of office and a compulsory gap between those terms,(in the same way that Roman consuls could not become consul again within 10 years of holding that office)to stop them getting too comfortable with the perks of office and forgetting why they`re there.

miker22 said...

The sad thing is that the HoL used to work quite well, even though on paper it was indefensible. Even ex politicos no longer seeking advancement but with experience contributed something. Do we need it at all? It's purpose is principally a revising chamber is it not? Can that work not be done in Parliamentary Committees? Presumably after we leave the EU the torrent of new legislation will dry up perhaps. The judicial system has been changed so that the Supreme Court is now the highest Court. I'm putting the thought forward rather than advocating it.

Budgie said...

There is nothing wrong in an elected revising house. I would have Ealdormen elected by county (in proportion to the population) by PR added to the HoL. Only the Ealdormen could vote but the existing Lords could speak and work if they wished, just not vote. This is an evolutionary step.

Other commenters here have listed restrictions on the candidates which I tend to agree with. Certainly previous politicians, Spads, civil servants, should be prohibited.

However a more radical reform would be to make governance of the UK truly federal. So England, N Ireland, Scotland and Wales would each elect their own MPs from similar sized constituencies. Each nation would have its own parliament for those MPs who would deal with domestic matters including most taxation. The MPs would only assemble together to deal with national UK policies such as defence, security, foreign affairs, and external treaties including trade relations.

John Brown said...

The HoL should not contain only directly elected peers to avoid creating a rival to the HoC.

But there should be a mechanism whereby the number of appointees that each party can select to represent them in the HoL after a GE is in proportion to the number of votes cast for their party in that GE.

Although there can be a minimum percentage of the votes cast to enable a party to select a representative in the HoL an MP in the HoC should not be a necessary condition for the party to have a representative in the HoL.

Wildgoose said...

We need an English Parliament to stand alongside the existing Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Parliaments and with the same responsibilities as the other Parliaments. It is unacceptable that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should get to decide their own laws AND interfere with our laws. The English should not be second-class citizens in their own country with their laws being determined by others - whether Europe or the other "home" nations.

Similarly for how we decide to run our Health Service, Education and so on.
The UK either needs to become a true federal (or confederal) state, or it should break up. If the former, then the House of Lords can become an elected Upper Chamber for all four nations, preferably based somewhere outside London, ideally more central within the UK itself, (perhaps Liverpool?).

Anonymous said...

Advanced democracy is the electorate having a direct say on matters of national importance - if we'd had it 60 years ago we'd still be one of the most cohered societies on the planet. But no, we're still shut out because the politicians think they're all staggeringly brilliant and the plebs can go fuck themselves. How much of our dosh have they spent on this Common Market they oiled us into? Enough to run Wales for 10 years.

I'd scrap the Lords and put in an AI system. Bills started in the House of Commons proceed as now to a Third reading, but instead of going to the Lord's for a first reading the Bill goes straight to the Committee Stage where humans look at it for the first and last time. Said humans are appointed by the AI system after scanning the electorate. Therefore Law is made by constantly referring the matter through the people via the AI system. Party politics are thus filtered out for good.


Hector Drummond, Vile Novelist said...

An elected upper house has its problems, but it works okay in Australia.

Budgie said...

Steve, Very true, our politicians have oiled us into the EU. And the EU has in its turn stolen our rights from us. That is so because the EU, being a purely arbitrary and invented political project, cannot have rights of its own to hand out. It's theuft.

Of course gullible Remains wail about losing their "EU citizenship" now we are leaving, completely oblivious to the fact that their own national citizenship has been devalued in proportion. For example a Remain's "right" to live in Italy is at the expense of the Italians previous right to decide who can move to their country.

Anonymous said...

Once again, Steve, spot on!

jack ketch said...

Or perhaps the less gullible Remains realised that far from their national citizenship being devalued it was infact enhanced by also being EU citizens? I agree though that among remainers there is a tendency to focus on the rights of being an EU Citizen (ie Freedom of Movement), usually expressed in remain-mythological wailing terms such as 'b-bb-b-but Georgina desperately wanted an Erasmus year'. By the same token BrexSShiteurs seem to view the ECHR as a 'bad' thing yet squeal when the UK's highest court rules agin the misuse of the Royal Prerogative...suddenly Our Great British Judges are traitors deserving of hanging from the nearest lamp posts.

Cascadian said...

I swear I heard the phrase "great thrusting trading nation" used related to Brexit. If such an entity is to exist then dead weight of the HoC know-nothings and the corrupt time servers of the HoL cannot be afforded. Also as others point out regional assemblies for Jockland and the Taffies are laughable excesses, you need to be thinking of nothing less than total political reform if you are competing with the likes of Singapore. As always nobody expects that, yUK will stagger on with its fancy dress institutions providing execrable results and no accountability.
My apologies to the likes of Norman Tebbitt, who would be an acceptable dictator from my point of view, there being so few people of ability available.

Anonymous said...

Like juries.
If they are sensible enough to decide on murder defendants, ....

Raedwald said...

Steve - excellent points well made.

Tom said...

I always wondered if a House of Representatives would work.The members would be nominated by qualifying fee-paying organisations with a minimum annual subscription and having enough members to qualify.Whether you allocate seats by membership numbers or restrict them to only one per organization could be debated.
Right that's settled,I'm off to join the National Trust.

Budgie said...

Jack Ketch, It is not "Royal" prerogative nowadays. It's government prerogative because the sovereign has no political power. You are also incorrect about "... Judges are traitors deserving of hanging ...". I wrote here on 19th Jan 2017:

"The constitutional basis of the court case won by "Gina Miller" is that the government (ie the executive) cannot use its prerogative powers to remove "rights" enacted by Parliament.

That principle is absolutely fundamental to our freedom under the law. I support it completely. However ...

The High Court was persuaded by the claimant's lawyers that the principle defined above was applicable.

The EU "rights" (ie rights and obligations) that would be removed by leaving the EU are principally the Regulations (because the Directives have already been implemented as UK statute, and would not be removed by reason of our exit). But the Regulations (that "reside" in Brussels) have by definition never been passed as law by the UK Parliament. The Regulations have only been enabled by the ECA 1972.

Therefore the condition of the constitutional principle is not fulfilled. See Professor John Finnis "Terminating Treaty Based Rights" 26 Oct 2016. The government's failure to correctly argue the case seems at least partly due to the incompetence (connivance?) of the government's lawyers.

The ECA can only be repealed by Parliament, and that appears on its own to fulfill the requirement stipulated by the judges that Parliament, not the executive, must decide.

I have long argued here, and elsewhere that we should not invoke TEU Article 50; and also that we should "patriate" the Regulations as part of the leave process. Theresa May included in her speech (17th Jan[2017]) the line that EU laws would be "converted" directly into UK law in order to provide immediate regulatory continuity. I am thankful that the government agrees with me! The fact that all applicable EU laws will be patriated means that (initially at least) no "rights" will be "lost" thereby again complying with the High Court ruling.

. . . . . . "

According to Remains, then, having particular "rights" changed by the EU, without any Parliamentary approval, is good; but EU "rights" turned into UK statute by our Parliament is bad.

James Higham said...

Glad you’ve addressed this one.

Edward Spalton said...

According to our family tradition, my grandfather decked his pony and trap in Conservative colours for the " Peerss v People" election of 1910 and was pelted through the streets of Liberal Derby. My father ( born) 1907 inherited an intense dislike of Lloyd George. Whenever he had any clerical or administrative tasks related to National Insurance records, he grumbled intensely about this " damned Lloyd George swindle" with mutterings about " nine pence for four pence".

In the debate on the Parliament Act of 1911, one noble Lord remarked that the hereditary principle worked perfectly well for his fox hounds and pretty well for their Lordships' House with occasional infusions of new blood to avoid inbreeding. He may have had a point!

Niall Warry said...

How come America copes with an elected second chamber?

If we have a written constitution, the sixth demand of The Harrogate Agenda, then it could spell out the constitution roles of both houses.

For me our new 'Senate' of no more than 100 members should have 75 elected and 25 appointed , like our juries, by sortition.

We need the people more involoved in our institutions.

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