Thursday, 28 June 2012

Another crap attempt to reform House of Lords.

The Bill to reform the House of Lords has been introduced, but it seems likely that it is domed to failure. With about 100 Tories threatening to oppose the blil its possible that it wil not even make it past the first reading.and Labour unlikely to back it.

The old saying that a camel is a horse designed by a committee seems to be appropriate here.

I have copied this information from Wikepedia (in Blue)

Membership of the House of Lords

Part I of the bill provides for the composition of the reformed House. The House will comprise elected members, appointed members, bishops ([[Lords Spiritual), and up to eight additional "ministerial members" appointed to serve as Ministers of the Crown. The provisions will be phased in over 10 years. After the 2015 election, but before the 2020 election, the membership will be as follows:
  • 120 elected members
  • 30 appointed members
  • up to 21 bishops
  • up to eight ministerial members
  • a number of transitional members equal to two-thirds the membership of the House on 27 June 2012.
Following the 2020 election, the number of elected and appointed members will increase to 240 and 60, respectively; the number of bishops will fall to 16; and the number of transitional members will be reduced by half. At the 2025 election, the House will comprise 360 elected members, 90 appointed members, up to 12 bishops, and up to eight additional "ministerial members" appointed to serve as Ministers of the Crown; the last of the transitional members will depart

Only 240 elected members directly? This seems to pitifully small and why will we Bishops still sitting the Chambers . How many practising Anglicans are there still in the U?. I suspect that there are more  Muslims attending  a religious service on a regular basis than Anglicans in the UK. Why are they still be given preferential treatment and even only English Bishops at that.

Elected Members

Elected members will serve three "electoral periods", effectively 15-year terms. Elections to the reformed House will be called for the same day as the Next United Kingdom general election unless that election earlier than 7 May 2015, in which case they would coincide with the first election after 7 May 2015. At each Commons election (unless it is called early), one-third (120) seats will be up for election.

The voting system is set out in Part 2 and Schedule 3 of the bill. It provides for an open list system, allowing voters to choose a party or an individual, in Scotland, Wales, and England (which will be divided into regions as is done in European Parliament elections). Northern Ireland will use the Single Transferable Vote.

In the case of a casual vacancy, an interim replacement will generally fill the seat until the next House of Lords election. In Northern Ireland, the party the member belong to at his or her election will nominate an interim member. If the member did not belong to a registered party, the seat would remain vacant. In the rest of the UK, the next person available to be selected on the party list the vacating member was elected from will become the interim replacement. If there is no one left on the list or the person did not belong to a registered party, the next person who would have been elected and still wants to join the House of Lords will be the replacement member.

So again a different electoral system for Northern Ireland with a a list system on the same basis as that of election for the European Parliament. There are 12 UK constituencies in the EU Parliament ( Including Northern Ireland ) for 72 seats. 

From a Welsh Point of view this would see Wales eventually  having about 12/13 seats in the reformed chamber.

The plan is to pay the members £40000 a year plus expenses and it seems likely that most members will either see this as part time, be retired or both..I have nothing against, even encourage people over 65 to take part but do we want a second camber consisting mainly of retired people?

Given that the UK  parliament has only to look at Australia which has a lower House based on our own and a Senate which has 76 members elected by STV compared with the House of representatives which has 150 members elected by First Past the Post . 

It would be a simple measure to look at the Australian bill which established this and simply adapt it to a UK parliament.

Of course you cant expect our UK legislators to admit that a former colony has it right or to keep reform simple and democratic.

Just like the AV bill this seems designed to fail and unless Labour suddenly realise that an entirely elected chamber is the only option and do it immediately they are back in government.We will be  probably be faced with this affront to democracy for the next decades. 

But given that they had every opportunity for them to do so between 1997 and 2010 don't expect much change.

1 comment:

Cibwr said...

The main objections from most of the Commons is that a reformed chamber will be a threat to the power of the Commons. Personally I want out of the UK so I would like zero representation there.
As we are a member of the UK we have to make the best of it - for now.
Like you I see no logic in having representation as of right for the Church of England. The representation of Wales is roughly proportional to that of its population. There is a good argument to say that the non English nations should have a higher proportion of representatives, as we are constituent nations, not regions of England. That would be politically unacceptable to most in England who have been led to believe that we are disproportionately advantaged compared to England.

The thrust of a 15 year non renewable term is that once elected the representatives will be freed from pressure from the whips and thus can be truly independent. I think this is naive and there are more subtle ways of controlling your members other than threat of deselection.

I have to say overall I don't like it, it is an improvement on the current House of Lords but only just.