Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Lords reform

Well, the White Paper is out. A new upper house 50% elected, 30% political appointees, 20% non-political appointees (clever, all the changes in proportion come out of the political appointees section.

Point to note is the determination that no one party should be able to dominate the house.

Some lame arguments are wheeled out against unjicameralism - hat big countries are too complex to go unicameral. This is backed up by showing how single chamber parliaments tend to occur in small countries. What they, I suspect, miss, is that those Parliaments tend to be quite small themselves, and that a suitable sized single chamber could well handle the complexities of British legislation.

Essentially, then, the new upper house as designed will be a useful sinecure for hacks and remain a nice piece of choice patronage for party leaders.

The tone of the White paper is technocratic - how can a legislature be managed - the point of high principle, that no-one should have a right to pass a law over me without me being able to do something to rid myself of them, is missing. Slipped into technocratic speak about legitimacy and acceptance of the institutions.

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