Corruption in the House of Lords Awards 2009
Of course, if we knew that every single member of the House of Lords was spending all their time doing their duty to Parliament and the United Kingdom by working extremely hard, some of this might seem quite reasonable. Sadly this is not the case, particularly for the 59 Lords, Baronesses, Earls, Dukes and Marquesses who didn’t turn up once, not once in the entire Parliamentary year (although this minor technical glitch didn’t stop either Baroness Nicol or Lord Kilpatrick from claiming over £2,500 each in office expenses). Even Lord Beaumont turned up 104 times and he died in May last year. On that note, 29 members of the House of Lords died during the last Parliamentary year, which represented 4% of all members. Strange, but true.
So, there you have it. The House of Lords might not get the same degree of publicity or fame as the House of Commons, but that doesn’t stop the moral, decent and entirely ethical members of the House of Lords from making their lives as comfortable as possible at the taxpayers’ expense.
Do read the whole shocking litany of corruption: it will make your jaw drop.
What I would like to see, of course, is a separation of life peers and hereditories: are the life peers more inclined to feather their nests, as Ross Clarke implies?
I now realise, though, that they were staunch upholders of civility and decency compared with the mercenary toadies that have replaced them. Somehow I can't imagine the late Duke of Devonshire trying to squeeze £120,000 out of a lobbyist to help to gain an exception on business rates - not even if the roof at Chatsworth had fallen in and he had worn through the leather patches on his elbows.
As the Englishman points out, Clarke's article is not without one massive fault.
Ross Clark then spoils his argument by suggesting driectly elected Lords, as though adding more bad apples to the barrel will make it better.
The advantage of hereditary peers was that they didn't have to seek short term approval or reward. They could afford to take a long term view informed by a sense of history, and by their position of influence being inheritable they were incented to ensure stability continued so they could pass it on to their heirs.
No other system is as good, though the old Greek habit of choosing some legislators by lot comes close. What we don't want is a House of Commons 2.0.
No, we certainly do not. And Longrider—though once a believer in an elected second chamber—concurs.
I just hate them all. As I have said before, is it really so much to ask that those who would seek to rule us not be totally corrupt?