Monday, 21 May 2012

Wrong time for House of Lords reform

A while ago Alan W. Collins stated that only Liberal Democrats and those interested in Constitutional reform are still pushing for House of Lords reform.

At the time I tried to think of a witty and clever response but fell silent as I realised that I fall into both of those categories.

Then last week Clegg grimaced in the house as David Cameron said that All parties are divided when it comes to Lords reform. Surely Liberal Democrats wouldn't be opposed to Lords reform?


Well, I'm not opposed to Lords reform, in fact I think that it is important to sweep away this anachronistic undemocratic wing of Parliament. It's time has passed and greater democracy should always be welcomed.

Lords reform has been a Liberal aim for over a century with Asquith's parliament of 1908 and Lloyd George's People's budget aimed at trying to change the Conservative dominated upper house that just blocked all of the positive reforms being put through. No other party has been so dogged in it's attempts to reform this and it was one of the first things that came up in the Coalition agreement and on the lips of Liberals everywhere after the Rose garden. When can we finally do this?

Is now the time though?

The  nation as a whole has lost faith in the Political process and politicians in general. The accusation is that they do not live in the real world, nor understand the problems of the real people especially as the problems of the banking crisis continue to resonate and hit average working people. As the average personal debt in the Medway towns (as reported by the CAB) stands at £43,000 and rising train fares, utilities, cost of living and wages freezing can Lords reform still be a priority?

This distrust and suspicion of politics is visible in the falling numbers of people voting and unfortunately I can see that the turnout for the elections for the Lords will be ridiculously low. Of course this shouldn't be the reason not to bring in greater fairness and democracy but the first maybe.

The Coalition needs to prioritise and as much as it pains me to say this guys - I really don't think now is the time. Yeah I know this is the moment we've waited for and I know that given the bad press and the Tuition fees thing we're probably going to have to wait another century before we can effect it again but we need to give the people something.

In 2015 if I knock on someone's door and say Ever think about voting Liberal Democrat?  I'll get asked what we have done
and I'll say well we gave you a more democratic house of Lords. How many people are going to go for it? How many people will see it as a priority? How will it effect their lives?

The electorate, and I'm one of them, want our lives made better, our money to go further and unfortunately Lords reform doesn't appear on list.

Yeah I agree with Nick and with the need for Lords reform but I don't think this Coalition Government is the time with all of the other problems facing the nation.
People will be happier to vote for us  if we cut the deficit and dull the blades of Austerity rather than keep one of our major election pledges on a project that only we seem to care about.


  1. Hi Chris - I think that the disgruntlement most people feel with the political process and politicians is exactly the reason why this is the right time for reform of the HoL. 30% turnout in the local elections (compared to 80% on the French Presidential elections) shows we have a fundamental problem with getting people engaged in the political process - and a more democratic Lords would be a small step to changing things for the better.

    1. I really hope that it would make the difference and I hope I am wrong but I really feel that the average voter isn't going to want to get involved in another round of voting for more people to not represent them.

      We need to clean up politics and the image of politics to encourage more people to vote and feel they are making a difference unfortunately