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Well, you know

The system of hereditary peerage is outdated and must be abolished, two candidates for House of Lords Speaker say today.

The 85 dukes, earls and barons who sit in the chamber by birthright

Actually, they’re the only members of the house who are elected. A very restrictive franchise, true, but they are elected.

12 thoughts on “Well, you know”

  1. The Meissen Bison

    The advantage of the HoL before Tony Blair wrecked it was that only those hereditaries who were actively keen to do the job, actually attended regularly. The disadvantage was that lots of hereditaries who didn’t attend regularly would be inveigled into turning up to support Conservative legislation that was otherwise under threat of being voted down.

    Adjusting the rules to prevent that happening should have been relativly easy and an unelected second chamber to give a verdict on or amend legislation from the HoC seems like a good idea: juries aren’t elected which is why they work rather well.

  2. Hereditary crew did far more to defend freedom than the fucking appointed-by-political-pigs have ever done.

    They couldn’t win mostly–but at least they often tried.

  3. All the great reforms were done with a hereditary HoL. It takes time to move the conscience of a nation, and so it bloody well should.

  4. Bloke in North Dorset

    I was a supporter of the HoL, it had its faults but by and large it worked. It wasn’t just Tory supporting, Maggie lost some key votes and they were a far better opposition then Labour at the time. The Salisbury Convention and the HoL not being able to vote on financial matters meant that the HoC largely got their way and the HoL usually only blocked the most egregious legislation.

    Blair’s disastrous reforms have turned it in to a job for the boys and girls, rewarding their mates and shuffling off party incompetents to make way for even more inept party loyalists. It needs abolishing all together.

    I’m not in favour unicameralism and would like to see a second, revising, chamber, but not sure what. Possibly something along the US Senate lines made up of representatives by area rather than voter numbers. It would certainly help to address perceived flaws in representation claimed by the Welsh and Scots.

  5. They seem to be mixing up hereditary peerage with hereditary membership of the House of Lords. What are they advocating, that I can vote for who the next Duke of Devonshire is?

  6. Given that they demonstrate scant knowledge of the constitution, surely they rule themselves out as candidates. It’s like when Blair and Falconer got rid of the post of Lord Chancellor without knowing that he was the Speaker of the HoL. Morons!

  7. Indeed, you could argue that the most conspicuous faults of the old House of Lords (failing to block unfunded state retirement pensions, the nationalization of shipbuilding and aerospace and the poll tax) were precisely those on which it had volunteered to have its hands bound by the Salisbury Convention as they were manifesto commitments of the party with a majority in the Commons.

  8. BiND
    quite agree. Another ‘reform’ by Blair that royally fucked things up. History will be truly unkind to Blair/Brown, and the more we see the consequences the more harshly he will be judged. I sometimes feel towards him the same way some hard left nutjob still blames Mrs Thatcher. But I have more and more justification, which they don’t.

  9. Far worse than the handful of hereditaries are the hundreds of bumbling, incompetent placemen (and women) appointed first by Blair and then by Cameron in an effort to pack the house. Place a limit on numbers (no more than a couple of hundred) and enforce retirement at 75 (like judges). Problem solved.

  10. I repeat my plan. Bring all the hereditariness back to the Lords and let the Life Peers elect 85 of their number to join them. Plus, no bishops, no judges, no Royal Dukes. There you are: fixed.

  11. dearieme, et al
    I’d go further. No one who has worked in government or a state funded quango or “charity” NGO should be made a life peer. Blair’s reforms have made the place a glorified carriage clock.

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