Unchartered Territory in the Lords (continued)

Lord Soley

This Blog is not designed for party political battles although that inevitably influences some of the comments. Lord Tyler indicates in his post below that he feels very strongly that Labour was just being difficult for the sake of it. He was a very effective and vocal member in opposition both in the Commons and in the Lords. He is now in government and it shows!

I would ask bloggers to read my two speeches below in order to understand why I feel very strongly that the governments strategy and tactics on the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies  Bill are wrong and politically highly undesirable.  The second speech is where I move my amendment calling for an independent report on the size of Parliament and explains the dangers of governments deciding the number of people in a Parliament without all party agreement or an independent review.

Please read them and form your own conclusions.



18 comments for “Unchartered Territory in the Lords (continued)

  1. Carl.H
    18/01/2011 at 11:13 pm

    As my noble Lord knows probably too well we tend to disagree on a lot of subjects, this however is not one of them.

    Anyone of independent mind can see this has not has the necessary research and scrutiny. Had it been applied to the Lords there would be uproar from both sides, the hypocrisy is stunning and does the House no favours when later it comes to reforms.

    I am no lover of partisan politics in the House and it is now showing that the Tories who have tried to hide their partisan views are merely hypocritical sheep.

    The whole episode just reinforces the view that there is no choice in British politics infact apathy is probably to be desired just below revolution.

    I can only hope Labour go out fully to stop this bill and do not do, as the press seem to insuate, a backroom deal.

    This rush for changes without correct math, without proper research and scrutiny will lead this Country to decline further. The actions of this Government are fuel for total discontent as will be seen. You may try to esconce yourself in Office David but the power is the people and already a majority, a large one, are disatisfied with the way you Govern.

  2. Twm O'r Nant
    19/01/2011 at 10:09 am

    Doesn’t the Privy Council do all the “chartering” miLord, and the Institute for
    Geo-something do the charting?

    It is rather an interesting mistake because it may well not be one!

  3. Senex
    19/01/2011 at 1:11 pm

    One of my concerns is political mobility within the political process. The Commons now is a barrier to ordinary people taking seats as the House is dominated entirely by ‘wealthy’ university graduates. Another concern is the role played by MPs within their constituencies.

    Although the present Speaker wants to give more say to back benchers the reality, if we exclude committee work, is that executives only need their back benchers on the premises for voting. This is a weakness that can be turned into strength.

    Entry to the Commons should be free of artificial barriers. Taking the new arrivals salary from an existing employment, a supplement would be paid to bring it to median level for the constituency. This would allow local councillors to enter the political process, be present for voting but at most other times to be immersed in what they do best, council work.

    Entry to the next level and a more intimate involvement with the business of governance would depend on the MP receiving an accredited qualification set by Parliament and related to the business of Parliament. MPs reaching such attainment would receive a further supplement bringing their pay to the existing level.

    Such MPs would be allowed to vote on constitutional matters with others excluded from doing so. If the present constitutional arrangement of a one vote majority is to remain the electorate should expect that an MP would have demonstrable competencies to exercise the power of that vote.

    Such arrangements would allow people to share a regular employment with the duties of Parliament in a way similar to the Lords and without being caught in a honey trap.

    Meanwhile, back in the here and now…

  4. Frederick James
    19/01/2011 at 3:52 pm

    It’s “uncharted”, as in unmapped. Makes sense then.

  5. ladytizzy
    19/01/2011 at 3:59 pm

    Twm, seeing ‘milord’ reminded me of the eponymous song by Piaf; perfect for the latest Labour leader.

  6. Carl.H
    19/01/2011 at 4:27 pm

    One of the concerns of Lord Soley is that MP’s spend a lot of time doing work that he believes councillors should. I have had quite a bit of experience from this side of the fence and will try to explain why MP’s are involved.

    Councillors are often too close to their counterparts in the Council meaning they are not always taken seriously. The impact they have is often very little in comparison with an MP. Councillors are often unsure of legislation and regulations and do not have the access an MP does to the necessary information or department.Councillors are much slower in communication in all ways and always appear unsure. An MP appears keen to flex muscle in relation to Councils where necessary.

    Councillor is not seen as a position of any real authority by the public.

    Councillors will deflect any problem to the department concerned and will be totally satisfied by any decision given by said.

    Councillors are often more partisan than MP’s and are possibly seen as more corrupt than MP’s especially in major decision making relating to major local businesses over constituent’s concerns.

  7. Rich
    20/01/2011 at 12:28 am

    Frankly, you are being unfair to Lord Tyler. Sure, you feel strongly. But, it is clear that the slowness on the part of at least most Labour peers who’ve participated is a deliberate attempt to use the 16 February deadline as a lever against the government. The six hours for two amendments on Day 8 in Committee and 19.40 hours on 10 amendments on Day 9 are clear evidence that the delay is deliberate and not part of serious scrutiny. What makes that even more clear are the hours upon hours of repetition and irrelevance on the part of Labour peers during the debate. To be fair, not all Labour peers, not even all Labour peers who have participated, have been filibustering. And, certain MPs (*cough* the MP for Rhonnda *cough*) did as much as they could to filibuster as well.

  8. Gareth Howell
    20/01/2011 at 9:43 am

    “California has 53 US Representatives and 2 US Senators plus 40 State Senators and an 80 member State Assembly”.

    That is for a population of about 35million.

    Add a third for the 60million in the UK, and what stares you in the face? CRASS Bumbling bureaucratic INCOMPETENCE OF TINY ISLANDS IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC!

    • Senex
      20/01/2011 at 12:49 pm

      That’s no way to talk about the Irish?

  9. Dan Filson
    20/01/2011 at 11:04 am

    Carl does a disservice to councillors in much he says, for example “Councillors will deflect any problem to the department concerned and will be totally satisfied by any decision given by said” In my experience they do not do the former, and are not as acquiescent as the latter suggests. They may however feel powerless, which is another matter, and is to do with the fact that the role at local level of the executive and legislature, if I can call it that, is blurred and confused by the relatively detailed involvement of councillors in decisions. All this is a side track from the main issues Lord Soley raises.

    To my mind members of the House of Commons have done themselves no favours by the growth of activity on issues and in areas that have no obvious national implications. Lord Martin commends the introduction of Westminster Hall. But very few of the issues raised there have a national implication, and sometimes only tangentially. Likewise adjournment debates are often highly focussed on an issue pertinent to only a single constituency; likewise PQs.

    So for these and other reasons, I have no particular problem with 600 however randomly this figure was chosen. But it is essential members understand that this reduction carries implications for what work MPs take on, how they organise themselves and their offices, and how they control the Executive. Even if it is not stated on the face on the legislation, by some means the size of the payroll vote has to be reduced, especially when it is borne in mind that in addition to those enjoying power and payroll, there are those queueing to enjoy these or hoping against hope to return to them.

    Incidentally, I hope the trend to annexing to an opening post a hyperlink to a debate is not to become an institution. It induced me to read right through the debate in fairness and could become a pain. Sorry Clive!

  10. Twm O'r Nant
    20/01/2011 at 2:25 pm

    barrier to ordinary people taking seats as the House is dominated entirely by ‘wealthy’ university graduates.

    This is certainly true of the Labour party in which intellectual capital/property is the only one to get any respect and yet may well be worth far more than any legacy that comes your/my way.

    Even the union convenors get their honours degrees, before getting prefered seats

    • Maude Elwes
      21/01/2011 at 8:26 am

      More important than the so called wealthy university graduate is, the graduate is filled with a politically correct agenda propagated by universities, colleges and schools throughout the nation.

      As a result, no lateral thinking finds its way into the political parties who have a monopoly over the electorate.

      What I mean by that is, we have three parties seen as the mainstream in politics. This mainstream is now so far mutually immersed in one mindset, because of the way they all ended up in universities that indoctrinated them with that mindset. If you listen carefully you will find only senior members of a party have a different doctrinal view or have the confidence to express it. Therefore, this practice of only having university educated MP’s stultifies an organization or a government in every respect. They all appear to have lost the idea of freedom of thought. As if they fear to think outside the box or to dispute the one line agenda.

      In the main, the general public have not absorbed this blanket indoctrination or viewpoint and have found that living the doctrine, through the policies of either government, has not only made life intolerable for them, but has leaned so far from their views, it is now, without doubt, oppressive and shows no way to rid them of this adhered to, state of the nation.

      What is needed in both houses is a much broader proportion of people who are not steeped in this politically correct doctrine. If you listen to the parties voices you will find they all sing from the one ‘perceived’ acceptable hymn sheet. Even when their own mind or heart feels this hymn sheet is off key.

      We now have professional politician clones. Politician first and party philosophy second. A brand or a version of each other. And the party leaders are to blame for selecting such a group.

  11. Dan Filson
    20/01/2011 at 6:38 pm

    I laugh whenever I read of someone being “no lover of partisan politics in the House” – it reminds me of the old joke of an army officer saying “No politics in the officers’ mess – none of that damn socialism here!”

    Senex suggests relating MP pay to the median in their constituency – surely bizarre, as why should the MP for Mole Valley or the City of London and Westminster get more pay by a mile than the MP for Salford or Hartlepool? I haven’t checked the median pay rates for these examples but suspect the pay rates and income levels oop north are not so cheery as in SW1, SW3 or EC1-4. Equal pay for work of equal value might suggest paying inner city MPs more than the others.

    Gsreth Howells seems to have had a long night without enough sleep judging by his 9.43 a.m. post. Yes, there are layers within California, but there are delegated assemblies here too, and county and city councils have quite substantially more powers and responsibilities than in the USA.

    Going back to Lord Soley’s original posting, I cannot see why the Government does not separate out the referendum on AV from the rest. It is quite a separate issue and does not, I think, impinge on the issue of seat reduction in the House of Commons, nor, I think, have much effect on anything if enacted (of which I am doubtful, as the case for AV is not as strong by a long way as for AV+ for all the loss of direct constituency relationship the latter involves). It must be that the coalition deal is to keep it in there to prevent either side voting out the part of the Bill they don’t like. Which leaves it in your lordships’ hands to do just that – pick and mix.

  12. Lord Soley
    Clive Soley
    21/01/2011 at 2:48 pm

    Thanks for the interesting comments. Sorry I can’t reply in detail – I’m still resting!!!
    Dan – the current system doesn’t allow you to link to a more specific page of Hansard – or if it does I can’t find it but then I am zonked out of my mind!

  13. Lord Blagger
    21/01/2011 at 3:33 pm

    Some interesting bits coming out of the Lord Taylor trial.

    1. Lords wrote to all Peers ordering them not to comment on expenses. Why? Might explain some of the censorship.

    2. 1 Peer hasn’t been seen for 20 years. Is he still sleeping on one of the benches and no one has noticed. Who is he? Saturday quiz question perhaps.

    3. Lots of accusation that they were all at it, but no naming of names. Sighs of relief all round.


  14. Twm O'r Nant
    22/01/2011 at 10:07 am

    House is dominated entirely by ‘wealthy’ university graduates.

    Another good reason for not getting involved in Student fees fights/arguments. An honours degree may be worth by today’s standards £2.5m,in the jobs market over a career of 35 years.

    Yet those who are objecting to the cost of college fees are precisely those who would object most strongly to, say, a reduction in capital transfer tax on death.

    DF’s post about California does not seem consistent to me. I have not seen a comparison of the two States 1)UK 2) California or even 3) NY, but I suspect that
    the two latter are far more economically democratic.

    The three are not so very different in economic dimensions..

  15. Dan Filson
    23/01/2011 at 10:53 pm

    TheyWorkforyou seems to manage it. Goodness knows how.

    Trust milords are unzonked by the weekend.

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