House of Lords Reform

Lord Haskel

On the afternoon of 10th December 243 sixth formers from various schools debated the future of the House of Lords, in the Chamber of the House of Lords.  The case was put for four alternatives – abolition, election, appointment and combination.  Most students wanted to speak and the level of interest and debate was extremely good.

After two hours the House voted and there was a clear majority for an appointed, or largely appointed House.

This exactly reflects the views of students at two schools I recently visited as part of the Outreach Programme.  Students at Colchester Sixth Form College and the Greensward Academy in Essex felt that we didn’t need a second chamber which mimicked the Commons and a carefully appointed chamber would be more effective in keeping an eye on the government and the elected politicians.

The coalition agreement speaks of a largely elected House and we are promised proposals in the spring.  I wonder if the pretty consistent views of these young people will have an impact on the government’s proposals?

Incidentally at all of these meetings, anger over the increase in university fees simmered.  Could constitutional reform be their next concern?

11 comments for “House of Lords Reform

  1. Lord Blagger
    13/12/2010 at 11:02 am

    Did they get their iPods and other goodies like the last lot in Parliament?

    • Lord Haskel
      Lord Haskel
      14/12/2010 at 12:13 pm

      No, they just got to sit on the red benches.

  2. Carl.H
    13/12/2010 at 12:26 pm

    Had I known you were at Greensward I would have invited you around for tea, I`m only 10 minutes away and incidently know a few of the pupils.

    I am confused though, you state the schools reflected exactly the House of Lords debate by school children, for which the result was appointed chamber. You then go on to say they felt we didn`t need a second chamber but a carefully appointed one would be more effective.

    It may just be the way you explained yourself but appears pretty confusing.
    :-/

    • Lord Haskel
      Lord Haskel
      14/12/2010 at 12:14 pm

      You are lucky to be near such a good school. My blog seems pretty clear that two school visits and one debate in the House of Lords pointed to a reformed House, so that it would be largely or mainly appointed.

  3. Senex
    13/12/2010 at 1:27 pm

    I look back at my childhood and schools with great affection. Everybody around me it seemed was old and only too eager to offer me their pearls of their wisdom on the meaning of life the universe and everything.

    Some nuggets I could relate to, others were entirely beyond me. In the fullness of time I did come to understand and often wish that I had kept a diary of those early years just to see how my views have indeed changed.

    These early years define us especially at school where playground politics abound. Politics are at work all around us; the way you relate to your teachers, your parents, the hired help, your peers or those ever present bullies (sports masters in my case). To say that childhood is devoid of politics is to forget that one was ever a child.

    I know for a fact that the views of these youngsters will change as they experience life but for now they have a precious ‘diary’ moment in a place called Parliament and can proudly say, I once met him or her.

    • Lord Haskel
      Lord Haskel
      14/12/2010 at 12:15 pm

      I think that children are now more politically aware than I was.

  4. 13/12/2010 at 1:28 pm

    I can’t really see young people out smashing up the Tory HQ or Parliament Square to air their concerns over the future of the House of Lords!

    • Lord Haskel
      Lord Haskel
      14/12/2010 at 12:15 pm

      No – but I think that they could be concerned about constitutional change and its impact on them.

  5. nicholas
    13/12/2010 at 7:38 pm

    Well we don’t want that – The House of Lords is unique and has played an important restraining role in the past. I well recall in the 1980’s occasions when the Government was made to think again – quite rightly. I hope for a peaceful day on Tuesday and irrespective a good and robust decision by the Lords. If they are convinced that all is in order, nothing is rushed, and there is no need for proposals to be placed in a wider (white paper) context then so be it. Many however feel that this is unfair, an effective privatisation without mandate and a travesty in inter-generational equity. I very much hope that as a minimum there can be an opportunity to ask Government to look again.

    • Lord Haskel
      Lord Haskel
      14/12/2010 at 12:16 pm

      I agree with you.

  6. ZAROVE
    14/12/2010 at 6:40 am

    I dont see why we as a Culture think being elected gives you greater moral legitimacy than being appointed or beign hereditary. Shouldn’t the job beign done right matter more than such an ideological dream?

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