Post-Match Analysis

lordlow

Last time I contributed to this blog I said I would bet money there would be a deal which enabled the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill to complete its passage in time for the referendum to take place on 5 May, and that the recent goings-on in the House would not cause the sky to fall in.  I bet Lord Fowler the same on Radio 4 at the beginning of February.  As the Bill passed its Report Stage in three days, I said to Lord Fowler that I thought I had won my bet.  “No! I’ve won,” he replied.  Ah well! My mistake was probably not to name my price.  I think a bottle of Krug champagne would have done quite nicely.  Another time perhaps …

In the end it went right down to the wire.  The Commons sent three of the Lords’ four amendments back, and the Lords insisted on one of them (specifying that the referendum is not binding if the turnout fails to reach 40 %) by a healthy margin of 68.  A proposal to insist on a second amendment – one which would give the Boundary Commission slightly greater flexibility – was lost by only one vote.  The threshold amendment came back from the Commons a second time, and Labour sought to take the Commons to a further round, but unsurprisingly their Lordships did not have the stomach for any more and the Bill received Royal Assent just before midnight on the eve of the recess.

What conclusions can be drawn from all of this as the dust begins to settle? The received wisdom amongst the commentariat is that Labour has behaved disgracefully in filibustering the Bill, but I take the view that they had little choice but to use the weapon of delay, bringing the prospect that the coalition would not get their bill in time to hold the referendum by their self-imposed deadline of 5 May.  This was really all that was left to them when the Government has a built-in majority which is being increased by the day as new peers are created, and was bent on bulldozing a bill of major constitutional importance through without any consultation or pre-legislative scrutiny.  The Lords’ Select Committee on the Constitution, much respected, was certainly very critical.  This might not be playing by the rules of the upper house as they are generally understood, but then the Government wasn’t really playing by the rules either in giving so little.  I also have to say that the filibuster was extraordinarily resourceful and entertaining most of the time.  I think we can all get too precious about this sort of thing.

As time has gone on the Government has increasingly been seen as being high-handed and inflexible and largely the author of its own difficulties.  Cameron and Clegg were particularly macho, saying that Labour were completely unamenable to reason, when in fact the minute they began to make even the most minimal concessions Labour began to take their foot off the brake.  It was very interesting to see senior tory peers lining up to send the threshold amendment back to the Commons saying that they were being phoned up by tories whipped to support the Government in the other place urging them to get them out of a hole they didn’t want to be in.

It’s hard to know who blinked first – the Government in face of Labour’s brinkmanship or Labour under the Government’s threat of a guillotine.  I should say the honours were probably about even.  The Government was clearly very reluctant to impose a guillotine and Labour will not want to make a habit of this.  People say that it will have adverse repercussions on the House of Lords, but I’m not so sure.  My guess is that it will be business as usual before very long, with filibusters firmly back in the cupboard for use only in the most exceptional of circumstances – though the Tories may want to have their turn just for the sake of it when they’re back in opposition – and guillotines still a step too far.

How might all of this impact on the future of the House of Lords? My sense is that understanding and appreciation of the value of the present House is gradually beginning to increase down the other end of the corridor.  Even if elections are not off the table, I certainly think there is growing acceptance of the value of a group of independent, non-elected “experts”.  If the majority are to be elected, I think we could well see support for a different method of election than the Commons, say from “constituencies of expertise” – law, medicine, business, the trade unions, sport, the arts, science, education, the universities, defence, the voluntary sector, women’s groups, the disabled, ethnic minorities, etc.  That is certainly a notion I shall be trying to promote if the prospect of election comes any nearer.  But my guess is this one will play long and might even get bogged down.  Indeed it might be beginning to get bogged down already.  We were promised a draft bill by the end of last year, then early this year, but nobody has seen hide nor hair of it yet.

30 comments for “Post-Match Analysis

  1. Carl.H
    21/02/2011 at 2:28 pm

    Good blog. Not a lot I can say to this piece, which makes a change.

    Plans for Lords reform maybe getting bogged down but something has to be done about the increasing numbers and soon. Has the noble Lord any proposals on how the House should be partitioned in the sense of parties ?

    From your post I would gather the noble Lord in favour of academic Lords who may not have party membership. I strongly favour this too but the House is complex and at present seemingly run by the major parties. To completely build a new system would be major upheaval especially considering there isn’t really a time when the House is not operating on one level or another.

  2. Matt
    21/02/2011 at 4:26 pm

    Lord Low, you are to be commended for your cool-headed analysis, and for your genuinely interesting suggestion of having constituencies of occupation.

    However, I don’t think the filiberusting episode will be forgotten for a long time yet. Remember that the most important function of the second chamber is to formulate and press for constructive amendments to legislation. The vast bulk of the amendments tabled to the voting bill were not serious, and were designed to be un-helpful, as were the many absurd digressions of the peers who talked around them.

    The crossbenchers are on firmer ground here, but even their interventions were patchy and rather late-in-the-day. Followers of business in the Lords must have been thinking to themselves, ‘If this is what comes of supposed experience and expertise, then we could do quite happily without it’. That’s certainly what I was thinking.

  3. 21/02/2011 at 4:30 pm

    A very different system is needed if the Lords are ever to be elected. Most supporters of elections seem to want a “PR” system, by which they mean elections along party lines. Such a system would actually be little different from the present system as the people at the top of each party list would be guaranteed a seat, with seats distributed according to votes at a separate election instead of the general slsection. This would give members a misplaced sense of additional democratic legitimacy.

    How often do the general public complain about the balance of parties in the Lords? I bet hardly ever. What they might complain about is the same sort of party political cronies being appointed again and again.

    How about a system where people elect individual candidates? Parties needn’t come into it. If you admire the work of Professor Smith in the field of medicine, you can vote him into the Lords. I do think your suggestion sounds very interesting. Unfortunately, though, the people in government who decide what to put on the table are themselves best served by a party political system.

    • Maude Elwes
      22/02/2011 at 2:26 pm

      In the most part, I agree with Jonathan. What we currently have is a pension for the old boys, or, friends of the party. Added to that, a growing portion for expediency.

      Most of the public are tired of having their taxes used to support those who have tried and failed in bygone governments. And it is utterly insulting to add those who simply paid money to buy a Peerage. What a crock that is.

      What we need are citizens who, in the main, are of the ‘big society.’ People who, throughout their lives, have earned the right to asses what would be proper for our future. And for those same people to keep an eye of the public purse in these matters. It should exclude law breakers and criminals regardless of who gave birth to them. Also, if they are found guilty of crime, any kind of crime, which includes causing accidents, they should be given the elbow instantly. They are not examples for society to follow or aspire to.

      Washed up old priapic’s are a waste of space.

      What we don’t need are those brought in to do the very reverse, as is our present predicament. The House of Lords is not there, or, should not be there, for a comfortable old age, at tax payers expense. In order for them all to have a cheap drink together. That said, in the main, experience is an asset you cannot achieve without years. As a rule honour grows with old age. That is if it’s not used as a way to scam our system.

      As the social fund is no longer seen as paid by the people for the safeguard to them it once was, but instead, as a fund to save bankers from their reckless demise, or, cheating politicians to fiddle their benefits without account, then the same lesson must be expected in Parliament. The disabled, elderly and sick have been robbed of their right to feel safe in life. That being the situation, it is time that those who bring about these horrendous changes to our system, should be unable to find the solace for their old age or disability they deny others of. And certainly the portion who are given the seat as a right of birth is a strange phenomena that beggars belief. Except, I do know that much was/is done with a certain noblesse oblige. However, that was bred out of our ruling classes long ago. Todays brood are only interested in what is going on at ‘The Box’ tonight.

      Peers must be elected for their achievements in society and to society. Not financial achievement, or, because their parents were friends of some loser and gave part of his last years bonus for his party’s re-election, in order to secure his pic would be taken in ermine. Instead it must be reward for their dedication to their fellow man or mankind as a whole. In other words, those who are worthy and honourable of such privilege.

  4. Gareth Howell
    21/02/2011 at 4:59 pm

    “constituencies of expertise” </i

    Would there not then be a plethora of elections to each seat? That would not matter if there were only 200 seats available, but 800?

    I’m still keen on city mayors, but this is also a cool idea. The electoral college of the “experience constituency” would have to be open to all in each profession? How come?

  5. Teithiwr
    22/02/2011 at 3:42 pm

    The Senead in Ireland is of course some sort of precedent in terms of an Upper House which is partially elected / selected from 5 areas of expertise – Public administration and social services, agriculture and the fisheries, culture and education, industry and commerce, and labour.

    However, since the electorate in this case is a mixture of national and local politicians (who elect 43 of the 60 Senators), the result is an Upper House largely still dominated and controlled by the political parties who push for their own ‘experts’ to be elected.

    The problem with any selection of ‘experts’ is who selects and on what criteria.

  6. Senex
    23/02/2011 at 11:24 am

    I suppose we must be thankful that we do not have democracy Athens style:

    One of the earliest recorded elections in Athens was a plurality vote (FPtP) that it was undesirable to “win”: in the process called ostracism, voters chose the citizen they most wanted to exile for ten years. I think this had a lot going for it?

    As for an elected house; the forces of appointment have retreated to the ‘Norton View’ whilst this blog promotes the coalition view and the merits of suffrage. We have a truce but as you mentioned the war, it is perhaps not the draft bill but the infrastructure of house elections that I suspect is causing the delay.

    For example: if we assume political peers are to be elected at conference what does Labour do with the union block vote? For the experts, what bodies will elect peers. Then there is the issue of financial independence. A lot of peers don’t like the title of ‘Lord’ as they feel it makes them objects of the establishment rather than people yet others rely upon it as consultants or in the board room.

    The house deserves a reasoned debate on elections but I fear it will be driven by passions as some peers will undoubtedly loose out financially. If these peers are lemmings about to jump off the cliff at least they will have a choice; not so for many public sector workers.

    Lets keep the upcoming debate reasoned if at all possible!

    Ref: History: Early Democracy, Athens
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_system

    • Carl.H
      23/02/2011 at 3:23 pm

      I don’t think the appointed club have split from the blog and I’m not sure that all over the other OTHER place are necessarily all in favour of appointments only.

      I think before election or appoitment can be discussed we need to get right what is the purpose of the House, it’s not something everyone at present agrees on or is written.

      I think the majority of us, the electorate, would like to see a House where our voices are heard in a more serious manner than is happening at present. There is obviously difficulty as what we may want may not be in the best interest of the Nation hence the autonomy of Government. It is a difficult thing to get right though few who post here don’t take account of the whole situation. The emphasis should be the whole situation, all the evidence, quite often a lot is ignored or deliberately misleading in what is put before Government.

      The people, us, can often see or fortell effects that Parliament has not thought of and it is this that needs representation. It doesn’t get represented in the Commons as partisan politics often swallows common sense and members are not fluent in normal life, most having been lifetime politicians.

      The Lords is the last hope for the public, it is possibly the only part of our politically system that MAY see sense from our point of view. I feel we need to open this up to a wider public and for the public to have a voice that is heard in Parliament.

      I personally donot want a House that is no more than a quality control centre, where they dot the “i”‘s and cross the “t”‘s. It has to have real influence and to do that it must have power including the power to reject under certain circumstances. That power must be balanced with the necessary autonomy Government needs therefore Lords need to be free thinking and not extremely partisan. It needs to balance the will of the people and the need of Government.

      Overall it should be necessary for the Government to PROVE it is necessary and beneficial for it to go against the people in legislation and not as it appears at present the other way around. The Lords should not automatically concede the Government is correct from the outset. It should be as a Court that Government needs to prove it’s case.

      Governments and Politicians in general have over time forgotten basic rights, basic principles that were written into our law long ago and these need reiterating before we become another middle east country in crisis.

      “That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void;

      This is one they have forgotten, written into the 1689 Bill of Rights, a few words that give Britain it’s fair and just system. Already there are systems that fine and convict people with recourse to the Courts. This Government with forthcoming Bills wants more power to be given to bureaucrats to take from the people without having to prove guilt in a Court of Law.

      The Lords upholds, or I hope it will,the just system that has always been British, the freedom of it’s people and in doing so it must be able to reject bills from the Commons that are not only in conflict with our legal system but also in conflict with British ideals.

      We must have a Lords that is filled with honour and integrity, the people know that sadly this is not often the case where life politicians are concerned. I cannot see we will get that with elected members not that it is entirely true at present either but it is something we should strive toward.

      • Senex
        24/02/2011 at 12:27 pm

        CH: Regardless of each blog I think we can both agree that we are all friends of the HoL and seek its best interests. If the HoL were a university we would be its metaphorical alumni.

        As for the ‘NortonView’, Lord Norton has acquired a group of loyal pen friends and I think this is quite wonderful and I am so pleased for him. But he is an officer in the cause of an appointed house, a lieutenant (UK pronunciation) and you have kindly supplied a photo of him shaking the hand of Mr Putin, another left tenant, also you have him standing behind the railings on the White House lawn. So you clearly have ambitions for him? Then there the other officers of his cause: Field Marshall Irvine, Major Pannick and Senior Service minders MAA Lucas and MAA Bates.

        What has escaped many in your cause is that in 1958 the house was wholly elected and life peers were a bolt on to assist the political process. This role has never changed and the house is reverting to historic form. At the moment the house is a four piston engine firing on only three because elected legitimacy is missing.

        The Commons will change with AV. Can you imagine the political parties being nice to each at general elections? Many of them are going to throw up at the prospect. We simply don’t know what form the draft bill is going to take so an ‘armistice’ is in place and we should all best remember this.

        • Carl.H
          24/02/2011 at 7:56 pm

          You are of course correct in that what we all desire is a House that befits it’s status in a more desirable form than at present, be that elected or simply culled, reform is a must.

          I could emphasise the fact that the House is elected, each and every member, it is merely a matter of mathematics to how. Of course quality is what we all desire and indeed should get but elections of a general nature have to most of the publics mind not proved fruitful in that respect.

          What we shall of course debate in future, at length I dare say, is the manner of elections and whom the electors should be. I shall leave you to ponder the argument of quantity versus quality which I shall obviously be pressing at a later date.

          You appear convinced AV is a foregone conclusion, the “bigger than average female person” is not singing yet, though it embarrassed me to read this morning how my corner had started the battle.

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12564879

          Presumably the thinking was to catch a pig one must act like one. I can only apologise for this opening salvo, even though I played no part, it was crass to say the least.

        • Carl.H
          24/02/2011 at 8:34 pm

          In light of this:

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12566965

          The Government funded Happiness Survey, the advertisements would seem…Now what is a word I can use that means hypocr???????

  7. Matt
    23/02/2011 at 1:25 pm

    A valuable point by Teithiwr, above.

    What percentage of the population are members of political parties? I’ve no idea, but even if it was as much as 5%, then this is the limited pool from which an elected second chamber would be drawn from.

    With any ideas for reform of the Lords, then, the first question I ask myself is, ‘Would this make for a more varied, interesting, colourful chamber?’.

    People like me are on a losing wicket, of course, because politicians will want to keep decision-making privileges within a fimiliar circle of faces as far as they possibly can.

  8. Anglo irishman
    24/02/2011 at 4:05 pm

    Full marks to Teithiwr for mentioning the Irish Senate.

    At first glance it is intended to be constituted on the basis of groups with various kinds of expertise. That intention is subverted as Teithiwr says, by the fact that the 43 Senators, chosen from lists of candidates formed on the basis of expertise, are voted on by an electorate comprised of local government representatives (County Councillors) and the members of the parliament (both houses). This means that they are politicians first and experts second and normally take a party whip.

    However the real problem with the Senate is that 11 out of the sixty members are appointed by the prime minister of the day. In practice that ensures that the Government has a majority there.

    There is a lesson here for proponents of Lords reform.

    It is not so much a case of the powers of the revising chamber but whether or not the there is a majority for the Government.

    Having said that there is another feature of the Irish Senate of interest. There are six university members. Three are elected by the graduates of the University of Dublin, Trinity College; and three by the graduates of the National University of Ireland. These Senators have made a hugely disproportionate impact, quite out of scale with their number. Traditionally they are elected and sit as independents – a bit like cross bench peers – and the voters making a choice between non party candidates appear to be influenced by their view of what special expertise and experience their favoured candidate can bring to a revising chamber. They have raised controversial, and at the time, unpopular topics in the Senate. They have also forced Government rethinks on legislation -not by voting power but by force of argument.

    In short the University seats function in a way closest to the original concept; which suggests that there could be room for exploring it further.

    I still have my university vote which I shall be using again soon.

  9. 24/02/2011 at 4:10 pm

    I meant in my post above that the success of university representation in Ireland suggested that the concept of “constituencies of expertise” should be explored further, rather than proposing university representation as such for a reformed Lords.

    • Senex
      24/02/2011 at 8:02 pm

      AI: Thank you for that.

      You might want to take a peek at how the Dutch Senate is indirectly voted into office? What I am very concerned about, you might call it a human rights issue, is that peers are people not objects and should be treated as people.

      Lord Low is ‘super sensed’; his cognitive and sensory abilities are enhanced. So for him to mention the elected house amounts to somebody shouting it from the rooftops.

      My preferred view is the changeover should take place over a time scale of 30 years or more by virtue of natural wastage. Any necessary new intake would be elected into place by the new procedure whatever that turns out to be. Generally, the house would downsize to the required level but the problem would be that from time the house would be in need of rebalancing on the basis that no more appointments were to be made.

      This would mean peers either abandoning the whip to become XB’s or accepting a new whip. But could you imagine Lord Norton accepting the Labour whip or Lord Soley the Conservative one? This is the compromise needed and a memorandum of understanding would have to be accepted by all.

      Life would mean Life and people could live out those lives with the dignity they deserve. Such a prospect would surely help a reasoned debate but it is all in the hands of the executive; if MPs are going to have to be nice to each other, why not peers too?

  10. 24/02/2011 at 4:30 pm

    RE- Maud Elwes: “Washed up old priapic’s [sic] are a waste of space.” Priapic? To be priapic is to have a permanent erection (OED) : obviously there’s more to the House of Lords than meets the eye.

  11. Matt
    24/02/2011 at 6:00 pm

    Some interesting additional points there, Anglo-irishman.

    Also curious that there used to be 12 university seats in the UK house of commons, which were abolished in 1950.

  12. baronessmurphy
    24/02/2011 at 6:19 pm

    I can’t really say I go for the ‘elections from professional constituencies’ idea. It would end up with the same problems we’ve got now, lots of vested professional interests from the old schools of the professional bodies and not enough people who belonged to the simply wise. Senex is right, a lovely blog response. Let’s just get on with putting in an elected house of people prepared to stand for elections in the usual way. I agree it may well be the form of elections which is holding up the Bill but getting that right is important so I’m happy for them to take their time negotiating.

  13. Carl.H
    25/02/2011 at 10:27 am

    The 1689 Bill of Rights states:

    That election of members of Parliament ought to be free

    Of course the only way to find if a law is still pertinent is to test it in Court. If still pertinent how much emphasis would it have on elections to the Lords ? Even at present anyone can apply to be a member but should professional constituencies be implemented this would not be the case.

    The noble Baroness states
    “Lots of vested professional interests from the old schools of the professional bodies and not enough people who belonged to the simply wise.

    So how does one choose the simply wise ? And the mix ? What’s more is WHO chooses ?

    • Matt
      25/02/2011 at 1:51 pm

      I don’t think a court would seek to stretch the meaning/application of the line you cite so far, Carl H. But thank you for bringing that important bill to my attention. I want to do more research on it now.

      On the latter half of your post, yes, of course you are right – no satisfactory answer to your question is ever offered.

      • Lord Blagger
        27/02/2011 at 7:45 pm

        And Parliament is the Commons and the Lords.

        Free elections for Lords where people aren’t free to take part.

        Strikes me as illegal.

  14. Matt
    25/02/2011 at 12:56 pm

    A slightly frivolous thought, but, if we want the ‘simply wise’, then we need to bring back the abbots.

  15. Senex
    25/02/2011 at 12:59 pm

    I remember a post by Lord Lucas some while back where he said the house is desperately short of researchers so anything coming their way by way of the blog is welcome. I think this underscores the essential problem.

    During the recent controversial debates the testimony of Prof Johnson in committee was pivotal to the executive’s decision process and was even referred to in debate. I was absolutely bowled over and impressed by his testimony and he follows house affairs with some enthusiasm. So why hasn’t he been ennobled? He is just one of many good people that have a valuable contribution to make but only at very specific times. Indeed, most of the house expertise is sat redundant at any one time.

    The alternative is to drastically downsize the house by electing expertise in the form of a representative of an expert constituency based in a ‘Parliamentary Research Service’? The service would serve both houses and modest people like Prof Johnson could provide that expertise then get on with their lives as normal. Such individuals could apply to be the elected representative of a constituency should they so choose.

    These ‘Senators’ could take their seats now being only small in number. The downsizing would proceed as described above.

    It really is a shame that large swathes of the house have given in to vainglory and forgotten the virtues of democracy. But they are trapped by their personal circumstances and pride and I don’t blame any of them for digging their heels in.

    Ref: Professor Ron Johnson; Electoral and Political Geography
    http://www.bris.ac.uk/geography/staff/?PersonKey=sHb2znkO1shdnxVa4EoX1if3A8nej8

  16. maude elwes
    25/02/2011 at 1:51 pm

    Thirty years is an eternity. How will you interest a nation in a process by telling them the ‘House of Lords’ is going to change, and, we expect to clear the place out and introduce a knew level of intelligence, but,don’t hold your breath as it will take us thirty years for you to notice it? Typical of the Lords is all I can think of.

    This is a stall because those already in there don’t like the idea of having to sing for their supper. And they feel it better to let them meet their maker before they have to account to us ‘serfs’ for what they do. Also there is the feeling the longer it stalls the better to back track and change the mind.

    Five years is long enough to sort out the machinations for working of. Yes, it means moving the hiney and getting something to function poste haste, but, we’re in a critical situation. We cannot take the chance that all will be well over the next thirty years. The planet and mankind is changing at a speed unknown and that will not stop for you to come up to date.

    I like the idea of a University contingent. However, the politically correct will be a drain on the thinking process, they generally have an agenda that becomes a fetish.

  17. Lord Blagger
    26/02/2011 at 11:53 am

    Fine Gael have just been elected the largest party on promise a referendum on abolishing the second chamber.

    It’s getting closer to home.

    If the Irish can manage without a second chamber, isn’t it time we had a referenda on the matter in the UK?

    • maude elwes
      08/03/2011 at 5:23 pm

      @Lord Balgger:

      Are the Irish manageing?

  18. MilesJSD
    milesjsd
    26/02/2011 at 10:07 pm

    I don’t yet know how to say this, so it will have to be ‘over-to-you’:

    The primary, most essential, and finally-decisive strength and well-informed governance (of a nation-state) should come from a dual-constituency-of-expertises’ i.e. first a library-bank of knowledge, and then a merit-willingness and ability –based constituency of ‘experts’ (like organists, to pull-out stops and couplers or to ‘reduce’ as necessary or appropriate).

    By ‘dual-constituency-of-expertises’ should be meant:
    1. First and foremost an up-to-the-minute sources, resources, researches, and ‘knowledge/theory evaluations-in-progress’ library; among which already standing high as one single instance should be “Wisdom of the Body Moving” (author Linda Hartley).
    2. Only after establishing and constituting that will the other essential branch of ‘Constituencies of Expertise’ become truly long-term sustain-worthy as well as sustain-able:
    qualified experts and public-advocates, such perhaps as Prof Ron Johnson …
    ——————–
    ((( and back in WW2 I would have recommended such BBC Brains-Trust figures as Dr Joad ‘It all depends what you mean by _ _’, Sir Mortimer Wheeler, Lord Bertrand Russell, perhaps JB Priestley;

    and more recently perhaps the Australian ‘statesperson’ Dorothy Green, the UK’s Germaine Greer, and most certainly Wales’s and the British Empire’s Elaine Morgan for her Descent of the Woman and of the Child and of the Aquatic Ape knowledge and pioneering clean-argumentation & advocacy )))…
    ———————
    Naturally the “greats” would already be in the established-reference library: Curie; Newton; Crick; Fleming; Einstein; … Nobel prizewinners, perhaps Mother Theresa … all continually being reviewed and where appropriate re-graded …
    =======================================,,

    Neither ‘internally-appointed or elected’ nor ‘publicly-elected or further-shortlisted’ should be allowed to precede or in any way intrude upon the primary establishment of the above two Lists.

    Over-to-You.
    2207St260211. JSDM.

  19. Twm O'r Nant
    27/02/2011 at 9:12 am

    I was absolutely bowled over and impressed by his testimony and he follows house affairs with some enthusiasm. So why hasn’t he been ennobled? He may not want to be; simple as that, but he may have been sufficiently interested in that subject to HAVE to discuss it with that committee!

    The whole theory of representation is that we elect people who are capable of taking up any brief whereas the corruption of the place is that they, as often as not, take up none!

  20. MilesJSD
    milesjsd
    05/03/2011 at 4:59 pm

    Captivating words:
    “the whole theory of representation is that we elect people who are capable of taking up any brief, whereas the corruption of the place is that they as often as not take up none !”
    ———–
    First then, we the skilfully-expert electors need to be given graded lists of such “people who are capable”;
    and I would suggest they be pre-selected on a multiple-basis of
    (i) ability to use and to to propagate working-knowledge of the three principles of good-communication and good-argumentation (a) Clarity (b) Charity (c) Self-Correctibility (or Corrigibility), for the purpose of comprehending and co-comprehending any need, how, question, suggestion, submission, or life-experience arising;
    (b) Disinterested-willingness to dispassionately criticise such submissions;
    (c) Similarly disinterested advocacy on behalf of these needs;
    (c) Workplace and Lifeplace efficiencies and compatibilities with (or ‘cost-efectiveness working-knowledge of’) all such submissions bu especially of new advances.

    I like to hold out “Wisdom of the Body Moving” as one such advance that few appear to have even reading-familiarity with, let alone transparently showing a competent working-knowledge of.

    Clearly also, there is more than one sort of “corruption”, not least corruptions of various mind-functions, through complacency and neglect to keep abreast of the times and of the advances both already made and ‘in the pipeline’.

    If I aged 80+, upon £200 per week, no assets, no expenses, no letters-after-my-name, and no help, can be up-to-date and have a working-knowledge of such advances, the People of Britain should surely expect, nay insist, that those in parliamentary places, especially in the House of Lords professing to be the Upper House of National Expertise perhaps even with some World Experts, be always actively alert and working-knowledge up-to-date with both already-published and ‘in-the-pipelne’ advances.
    ———-
    I don’t know much about “ennoblement”;

    but I do know that before any-body, whether of high-parliamentarian or mere underclass-voter standing, gets ’empowered’ they must first have been ‘enabled’ or ‘drilled’ if necessary, in the correct and constructive skills foer the use of that power, and be shown publicly to have passed all the tests, and to have a track-record of all the requisite abilities thereto.

    1659St05Mar2011.

  21. Matt
    06/03/2011 at 1:27 pm

    @ milesjsd

    “If I aged 80+, upon £200 per week, no assets, no expenses, no letters-after-my-name, and no help, can be up-to-date and have a working-knowledge of such advances…”

    In that case, let’s have you in there instead.

    We need some experts (and probably some political ‘dinosaurs’, too), but God save us from a house full of them. Whatever happened to the bumbling, but broad-minded amateur? You’ll find many of them round a table, about 10pm on a friday, in a traditional-type pub near you.

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