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.