The Sunday Times has managed to get hold of the government's latest ideas on reforming the House of Lords, here. Thanks too to Croydonian, who started my thought process on this off last week.
Overall there are many issues that it raises and few that is answers succintly. Partly this is becaue the reform is, as ever, ill-though; and partly because it is a difficult subject to address.
The overall recommendation is to have a semi-elected chamber, with a complex open list system to be used.
The document does not discuss many key points:
- An overall assesment of what our consitutional government should look like.
- Role of the Lords vs the EU.
- Appointment of professionals other than politicans to the house.
- Revision of the powers of the Upper House
- Cost to the public v. the benefit of the Upper House.
- Negative effects of abolishing life peers
- Powers of the House in Legal Affairs
- The West Lothian Question and other issues as they apply to the Lords.
Instead, there is a discussion getting regional balance, gender and racial balance correct. It seems very thin to say the least and unfailingly politically correct.
In the main the proposals are to elect some members and have term limits, with payment, which means that taxpayers will get it in the pocket. It will become another stop on the gravy train for politico's and their hangers' on.
How such a weak document, that avoids most of the main issues, can be issued as a government 'float' for reform is beyond me. It is far from lear what this reform would achieve beyond the current fudge that exists.
One point to make with my business head on is that the upper chamber desperately needs accountants and businessment rather than more lawyers to help take the government to task on its ill-thought out policies. Our country desperately needs an improvement in its financial goverance of the Government; I see nothing in this paper that recognises this as an issue at all.
I just hope that they take so long to argue over it that this government is swept from power before it can enact this 'paper' to destroy our country's historic system of goverment.