Saturday, May 29, 2010

In which I disagree with Dan Hannan...

It's not that I disagree with his premise (I am undecided), but I do disagree with the way in which he argues it.
If there's anyone out there who still opposes reform of the House of Lords…

… I have two words for you: Ian Blair.

What? This is utterly wrong on two levels:
  1. Difficult cases make bad laws. Yes, The fact that Ian "shooty" Blair has gained a peerage makes me want to fucking vomit—but is every appointment in this round of honours utterly unsuitable? In fact, we don't even know that Ian Blair will not be a good, sensible and conscientious legislator (although I seriously doubt it).

  2. Ian Blair's peerage is not a symptom of the need to reform the House of Lords: it is an indication of how bankrupt is the elected House of Commons. Blair was not given his peerage by the Lords—he was nominated and approved by Members and servants of the elected House of Commons.

So, when Dan Hannan asks this question...
How can an elected Upper House be worse than what we have now?

... I would tell him to look at the self-serving corruption of the elected House, and cite the elevation of Ian Blair to the Lords as evidence of said turpitude.

So, yes, Dan: I can think of many, many ways in which an elected House of Lords could be worse than what we have now—how long have you got?

11 comments:

Witterings From Witney said...

Go along with you on this DK, especially on point 2. Personally, I would prefer reverting to hereditaries.....

By the way, posted by Devils Kitchen - is that an oops?

Trooper Thompson said...

The 'reform' of the Lords is part of the slo-mo coup d'etat against our constitution, as we move from the government of laws to the government of men.

All these politicians studied politics and they know what democracy means and what it's flaws are, and that this is not supposed to be a democracy, but a constitutional monarchy, but they love to play the demagogue, selling the ridiculous notion that this country's problems are exacerbated by the undemocratic Upper House, and they haven't even got the balls to follow their own argument to its logical conclusion and tear down the monarchy for all the same reasons.

Will said...

So, yes, Dan: I can think of many, many ways in which an elected House of Lords could be worse than what we have now—how long have you got?

Absolutely. It wasn't broke, and it didn't need fixing. The Commons chamber has been a disgrace recently, and the disgraceful Lords peers have been overwhelmingly... appointments from the Commons.

TheFatBigot said...

I disagree that every appointment in this round was wrong, I wouldn't know what to do with loo roll cores if it weren't for Floella Benjamin.

Trooper Thompson said...

Lord Blagger, or rather Citizen Blagger, as you soon will be called,

what you propose would be more democratic, certainly, but the point of the House of Lords is to provide a check on the House of Commons which is the democratic element of the legislature. In other words the Lords are supposed to restrain democracy. Democracy to a libertarian or liberal is a means to an end, not an end in itself, and unrestrained democracy is just as bad as any other unrestrained form of government, and even more likely to violate the individual's fundamental liberties.

Many of the problems you list above are due to the House of Lords losing its earlier power to hold down the Commons.

Lord Blagger said...


what you propose would be more democratic, certainly, but the point of the House of Lords is to provide a check on the House of Commons which is the democratic element of the legislature. In other words the Lords are supposed to restrain democracy. Democracy to a libertarian or liberal is a means to an end, not an end in itself, and unrestrained democracy is just as bad as any other unrestrained form of government, and even more likely to violate the individual's fundamental liberties.

what you propose would be more democratic, certainly, but the point of the House of Lords is to provide a check on the House of Commons which is the democratic element of the legislature. In other words the Lords are supposed to restrain democracy. Democracy to a libertarian or liberal is a means to an end, not an end in itself, and unrestrained democracy is just as bad as any other unrestrained form of government, and even more likely to violate the individual's fundamental liberties.


So what's more democratic?

1. Everyone getting the final say

2. A small number getting the final say?

What about all those things where the Lords get no say? Either because the parliament act gets imposed, or because they aren't allowed?

Look at their track record. They can't even police themselves and their expenses.

Hence one citizen, one vote, even on things like tax rises and borrowing is required. People will revolt and goverment will shrink to the point where people will tolerate taxation

Lord Blagger

Trooper Thompson said...

LB,

"So what's more democratic?

1. Everyone getting the final say

2. A small number getting the final say?"

Certainly the first choice - but more democratic isn't necessarily better.

"People will revolt and goverment will shrink to the point where people will tolerate taxation"

What, the state's going to wither away? Sounds like marxist historicism to me. Besides, I think it more likely that the majority of the people will vote for higher taxes on the minority, rather than lower taxes for all - this being the problem of democracy; the tyranny of the majority.

DK,

As is often the case, an argument about this issue involves jumping between what is, what was, what should be, and what will be (foisted upon us). I guess I'm mainly talking about what was and should be, if we are to live under the rule of law, rather than democracy.

John R said...

@Addanc

Definitely engineers (I are one) as well as folk from all sorts of other areas. Just as long there's a good mix of talents (ie not just lawyers like the HoC) to allow scrutinising of legisilation to be done from a position of some knowledge for a change.

Anonymous said...

I must say I tend to agree with JohnR, no way do we want another disgusting lot as the current HoC, good God, they're already milking the expenses as bad as before. 50% or more Hereditory the rest chosen by them. Sound like a sound idea, ergo, it will not happen. The HoC doesn't care one jot about this Country and it's people!

Daniel Hannan said...

Dude, I've responded in your more recent blog. DH

Young Mr. Brown said...

I'm not at all convinced by Dan Hannan, but I'm all for reform of the Lords.

1) Repeal of the House of Lords Act 1999 - one of New Labour's worst bits of legislation.

2)Repeal of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949.

Any chance of Nick Clegg including these in his Great Repeal Bill?

;-)