Taking the Pulse of the Nation (cab drivers)

Baroness D'Souza

Yesterday a colleague asked a black cab to take her to the House of Lords and he refused – saying “not after what I’ve just heard on the radio.” Mystified she asked the next cabbie, who reluctantly agreed to take her to Parliament, what it was all about. He too had heard the broadcast which was about providing peers with salaries!

So the draft bill and White Paper on reform of the House of Lords does not find favour with at least two cabbies BECAUSE of the proposal that there be a ‘reformed’ House of Lords crammed with politicians all receiving a salary. Two issues are worth highlighting:

 An elected House means more full time politician who will want more money to provide  secretaries, researchers, constituency offices and the like. At  present Peers receive an allowance only for those days on which they attend.

 With so many small but practical reforms on the table which could be implemented immediately to make the Lords a more effective Chamber, is it  wise to become bogged down in electing members? Exactly who is clamouring for elections?

The cabbies views are an important indication of the public mood.

5 comments for “Taking the Pulse of the Nation (cab drivers)

  1. 19/05/2011 at 11:00 am

    “The overall cost of the reformed House of Lords will depend to a significant degree on the pay and pensions of members, and their allowances (including staffing allowances). However, the number of members will be reduced to only 300 members, less than half its current size.”

    I think that’s vague and deliberately misleading. Earlier in the paper it tells us that the average daily attendance is 388, and that’s for only about half the days in the year. Having to pay almost the same number of people full-time salaries on top of allowances and expenses, and also office and staff costs, will obviously cost a lot more than at present.

    If the cabbies are so well-informed, though, surely they will understand that your colleague (assuming she’s a peer) doesn’t receive a salary, and would eventually be out of a job if the reforms go through?

  2. MilesJSD
    milesjsd
    19/05/2011 at 1:33 pm

    “The _____ views are an important indication of the public mood”

    Yet the so-called British “full-democracy” has no constituted, legislated, media, nor ‘de- facto’, proper and adequate channels for Every-Level-And-Need of the People’s Upwards contributions, submissions and questions.

    One rain-drop does not make a Water-Adequate Lifesupportive-Planet.

    1333F19.JSDM.

  3. David Smith
    22/05/2011 at 11:04 am

    I (as a committed voting reformer) agree with Baroness D’Souza on the need for urgent simple reforms to the composition of the House. Although there are arguments for an elected element, there are stronger arguments for a substantial non partisan element.

    However I hope I will be forgiven for using this comment to introduce another topic entirely, that is the matter of the Health and Social Care Bill. I believe that this Bill will test the reputation of the House as no other. I urge Cross Benchers to participate as fully as possible in the debate. The Bill does not enjoy the support of the bulk of healthcare professionals. The logic of the government’s position is surely that its proposals would provide more value for money. Members of the House need to examine the evidence for this.

  4. Baroness D'Souza
    Baroness D'Souza
    24/05/2011 at 1:23 pm

    Jonathan, I have to say that I agree that an elected HoL will inevitably cost the tax payer a great deal more.

    David Smith, everyone including several crossbenchers are gearing themselves up for the Health and Social Care bill, although I suspect it will come back to us in a radically revised form.

  5. Lord Blagger
    24/05/2011 at 3:17 pm

    No house of lords saves a huge amount of money.

    In addition, unless we’ve been lied to, the highly skilled members of the house of lords can go out and create wealth for the UK, pay lots of taxes, …

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