Electing Lords?

I was ready to write a “how disappointed” entry about Parliament's failure to trust democracy and give us a fully elected upper chamber. I was so sure they would fail to deliver I did not even wait up to hear the results.

Here are the results according to the BBC:

All appointed house - rejected by 179 votes

20% elected - rejected, no vote

40% elected - rejected, no vote

Half elected/half appointed - rejected by 263 votes

60% elected - rejected by 214 votes

80% elected - backed by 38 votes

All elected - backed by 113 votes


I'm almost speechless.

Now the Government has to deliver on the will of the elected house.

I just hope that the Government understands that just because the 80% option was not rejected does not mean that it is acceptable in a country claiming to be a democracy. It needs to be 100% elected. If Bishops want a seat then they can stand for Election as can the Leaders of any other faith. Such is the low opinion I have for politicians at the moment I expect to be disappointed.


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Interested in what you think the point of an elected second house is. Considering it's likely to just mean you have 2 houses elected by the same electorate, where are the checks and balances? You might as well just do away with it.

Posted by Dick Davies on March 08, 2007 at 02:17 AM GMT #

If you are going to have a second chamber then how else do you choose membership in a democratic way?

Particularly when we have the highly questionable first past the post system for the first chamber electing a second using a different system, eg some form of proportional representation would give some checks and balances.

Having it appointed either in part or in full does not hold up.

Posted by Chris Gerhard on March 08, 2007 at 02:37 AM GMT #

\*Is\* there any indication that the elections will use PR? Personally I thought that the hereditary peers were probably the most sane and even-minded 'politicians' we had, with no particular axe to grind and answerable primarily to their own consciences. I'd agree that the current appointment system is very far from ideal, cash or no cash, but I am concerned that we need a way to have a second house with a different agenda to the career politicians' vote chasing. Even PR \*can\* be problematic. Do you want the National Front to be represented?

Posted by James Mansion on March 08, 2007 at 03:02 AM GMT #

It's interesting that you have such a low opinion of your elected politicians and yet at the same time are so keen to have all elected politicians :-)

Posted by Luke on March 08, 2007 at 03:43 AM GMT #

The white paper discusses alternatives for a direct election.

Direct elections to the Lords could either be (a) first past the post, or (b) by one of the more proportional methods of election. There are two basic forms of the latter – list systems, or transferable or alternative vote systems.

It then goes on at some length to discuss the merits of each both generally and in particular with reference to the Lords.

If the same electoral system were used for both the Commons and the Lords then that would appear to be pointless. However having one elected using one system and the other another would offer certain checks and balances to the system. I hope we can now move to that debate.

As to whether I want the Nation Front to be represented? I think the NF is now defunct but I take your point. I don't want them represented but if a proportion of the population do then that is what should happen. It is not for the electoral system to choose what views are or are not acceptable. That is the job of voters and politicians to shine a light on the those parties that are unacceptable and explain and persuade people not to support them.

Posted by Chris Gerhard on March 08, 2007 at 06:00 AM GMT #

The BNP is making a lot of gains at the moment. And it's not what the majority want - the majority don't vote, that's the trouble.

Posted by Dick Davies on March 09, 2007 at 12:09 AM GMT #

That the majority don't vote is not an excuse for having a voting system that does not reflect the wishes of those who do vote or for having an appointed second chamber either fully or in part.

Having both systems of election in use one for the upper and one for the lower house provides a defense against the weaknesses of each system.

Posted by Chris Gerhard on March 09, 2007 at 03:21 AM GMT #

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