Another bung, m’lud ?

Passing of House of Lords Act 1999
Image by UK Parliament via Flickr

Being a hardy old traditionalist, I loved the idea of that quaint old peeps home that is the House of Lords. I slept comfy in the knowledge that this vestigial instrument of Britain’s history was alive and well and not doing anything terribly controversial, whilst the Commons got on with the business of enacting the policy pronouncements of the government of the day. Those occasional burps whereby some hairy-arsed lefty subversive wanted to sweep away this most sacred of un-democratic institutions in a burst of electoral and constitutional reform never really seemed in danger of happening and thus unsettling the Mother of all Parliaments.

So amusing then that a grubby, grabby Lord or two have been caught doing that most un-British of activities and taking a bung to influence the passage of legislation through its hallowed chamber ? Bit of a wake-up call, really. Hopefully, this will include waking the sleepy Lords and Ladies themselves. The latest news is m’Lords Truscott and Taylor – amongst others – are quite willing to accept the occasional gratuity from corporate sponsors in order to choke or charm any bits of law of interest. OK so how naive must anyone be to think this unworthy of the world of politics but it did shake me out of my old cosy, traditionalist views. No way am I a republican (yet) but I suddenly feel a yearning for the creation of an Upper House that is actually elected by universal suffrage. That is, we get to choose the members of the second chamber, not the politicians. A genuinely independent counterpart to the House Of Commons – albeit reflecting the political make-up of the day – made up of elected ‘Lords’ and not party toadies.

Time for a change. It gets my vote and would hopefully create an institution more worthy of respect from the rest of the world, and more in keeping with modern times.

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