Thursday, 20 July 2017

Unelected body holds election???

Those who refer to the House of Lords as an Unelected  Body are complexly wrong. In fact it is a democratic legislature that sees Peers elected.

Well some are elected and on a very small franchise, but that's OK isn't it?

Indeed it is even more weird  that  the only Peers that are elected are Hereditary ones.

The so called  by-election was called following the retirement of Lord Walpole, with his replacement selected by hereditary peers of the Crossbench group.
As Left Foot Foward explains
Some background – the 1999 House of Lords Act removed all but 90 of the hereditary peers (and kept holders of the offices of Earl Marshall and Lord Great Chamberlain) – meaning 92 guaranteed aristocrats in Parliament in total.
Ever since, when one dies, there’s a ‘by-election’ to replace that peer. The only people eligible to vote are existing hereditary peers who sit in that group.
And today, the results of this latest democratic wonder/travesty came in. We know very little about the winner.
Nonetheless, welcome to the 12th Baron Vaux of Harrowden (you can read all about the title here). He won a landslide with 16 out of the 27 votes. Unfortunately, there’s very little information about him online.
What we do know is that his aristocratic name was created was 1523 – and at the age of 52, he’s spritely compared to most peers.
Educated at Ampleforth College (annual boarding fees in 2017 – £32,392), Richard Hubert Gordon Gilbey is married and has two children. Baron Vaux is a businessman, a chartered accountant and was a runner up in the last crossbench by-election. And according to Companies House, he’s had a senior role in 13 companies.

His application for the Lords read:

“For 15 years held senior positions in the technology sector, covering public sector, education and financial services, latterly as global head of corporate development for a $5bn US group. Interests in renewable energy, farming and Scotland. I am able to and would intend to contribute fully.”
We hope to learn more about this person who will get a vote on our laws for the rest of his life.

 New research by ERS found that its highest, the electorate for hereditary by-elections has been 803 – at its lowest just three people. Four by-elections have had more candidates than electors, including the only by-election within the Labour group of hereditary peers for which there were 11 candidates and only three voters. There is only one female hereditary peer listed on the register of future candidates. No female hereditary peer has been admitted to the House of Lords by by-election.

Tommy Sheppard, SNP spokesman on the House of Lords, said: 

“The ludicrous farce of hereditary peer ‘by-elections’, where a select few aristocrats are given the right by birth to decide who should make our laws, is a democratic outrage. 
 “This antiquated bastion of privilege highlights exactly why the House of Lords must be scrapped, and replaced with a fully elected second chamber, at the earliest opportunity. “With over 800 members the House of Lords is second only to the People’s Congress of China in size - wasting huge sums of public money without any democratic accountability to the people. It is well past its sell by date and the UK government must now take long-overdue action.”

Of course the  hereditary peers are only a stark  example of the most undemocratic legislature  in any "Democratic" country,

The idea that you can select people and give them a Life Peerage is also as bad.

They not only never face an election but as their title says they are there for life and will never have to face those of us who are recipients of their voting in the Lords for approval,

Last June many voters would have been told that if they voted for "minor " parties it was a wasted vote.

But at least they could make a statement .

If we are to have a Progressive Alliance then the replacement of the Lords with an elected body should be at the top of the list.

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