Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Lords Reform

Well, no surprises as the the Lords reject the reform Bill. Here is Lord Pearson of Rannoch, raising a very pertinent point.
My Lords, many of your Lordships have rightly pointed out that it is pretty silly to reform your Lordships' House before sorting out the House of Commons. After all, some 40 per cent of the electorate do not see the point in voting even in general elections any more, and modern Governments are formed by only some 40 per cent of the 60 per cent who bother to vote, or 24 per cent of the electorate. That 24 per cent has to vote for the whole of the Government's manifesto, which typically contains around 150 commitments. So it is hard to understand how modern Governments have the nerve to believe that their administrative programmes have the support of the British people. That does not stop them, of course.

I am sure your Lordships would be disappointed if I did not point out that democracy in this country is now quite a bit sicker than that, thanks to the folly of our membership of the European Union. The former German president, Roman Herzog, has recently announced that 84 per cent of all national laws in Germany between 1999 and 2004 were imposed under the EU system of government. There is not much reason to suppose that the percentage is very different here, but so far the Government have only admitted that a majority of all law affecting our commerce and industry "originates in Brussels"—which is bad enough. The British Chambers of Commerce are somewhat less coy, and calculate that 72 per cent of the cost of regulation affecting business is imposed by Brussels.

Whichever way you look at it, it is probably safe to say that a majority of our national law is now imposed by our membership of the European Union under its unique system of making laws, which is the very antithesis of our democracy. Let us not forget that EU law is proposed in secret by the unelected Commission, negotiated in secret by the unelected Committee of Permanent Representatives, or COREPER, and decided in secret by the Council of Ministers, where the UK Government are now reduced to some 8 per cent of the vote. That law is agreed by the EU Parliament, after which it has to be rubber-stamped by the House of Commons and your Lordships' House. It is then executed by the Commission. If necessary, the Luxembourg Court of so-called Justice can be relied upon to confirm the process of integration, and there is no appeal against its judgments.

I say this system is the antithesis of our democracy because, as I have reminded your Lordships more than once, the central principle of our democracy is that the British people should elect and dismiss those who make their laws. They no longer do, not by miles. Twenty-four per cent of them elect a Government who boast 8 per cent of the votes in the Council of Ministers that imposes most of their law. No wonder so many of them cannot see the point of voting in general elections, or that they hold politicians and our political system in such low esteem. How right they are.

This is absolutely spot on, of course.

And so, given the appalling state—and illusory nature—of our democracy, the ridiculously low democratic mandate of the Commons, the iniquities of the party system and the terrible shits who we seem to manage to elect as MPs, what kind of lunatic would argue for more democracy in the House of Lords; especially when it is this second Chamber which has done so much to protect the people of this country—especially in matters of civil liberty—from the worst predations of NuLabour?

2 comments:

james higham said...

My views on this are well known and the save the Lords banner testifies to that. It doesn't even matter for which reasons it was rejected - it just had to be rejected as iniquitous.

Akaky said...

If things are as bad as his Lordship says they are, then why doesnt the Conservative Party make a campaign issue out of it and tell Brussells to go pound salt?