Lords Reform – Part Four

Lord Soley

This completes my current entry following the other three posts below.

So where do we go from here. Saying ‘no’ to the present Bill is common sense but what is the alternative. Both Houses need reform but if we are not to re write our constitution then it needs to be gradualist. Tony Blair took a key step in restricting the number of hereditary Peers and although many of them do a good job, membership of the House should now be by appointment and no longer based on the hereditary principle. We should also reduce the number of Peers. Over 800 is far too many. There is also a strong case for revisiting the appointments system even though it has improved over the last 15 years.

The present Bill hasn’t asked the most basic question of all. What do we want the second chamber to do? Answer that question first – then ask how the chamber should be constituted. If we want it to carry on doing the scrutiny that is not currently done in the Commons then appointment works – as long as the elected Commons can always have the last word. Democracy requires the elected chamber to have the upper hand and in Britain it does.

A last thought. Devolution is rightly in fashion but please not the independence asked for by the Scottish Nationalists. Why would we want to break up the most successful political and economic union the world has ever seen? But a federal House reflecting all parts of the UK? – now there is a totally new agenda – but not for this post!

13 comments for “Lords Reform – Part Four

  1. Fred Bloggs
    30/04/2012 at 7:46 am

    Over 800 is far too many.

    The big difference between when there were 1200 hereds and others in the HofL and now is that most of the current crop are status seekers of mainly upper middle class background, still on the make.

    There will soon be a 1000 peers, and probably back to the old 1200 or more in the fulness of time, all grabbing their fees and entertaining on the proceeds.

    What does it matter? The Mint prints money.

    • maude elwes
      02/05/2012 at 3:05 am

      Yes, and they try to tell us we are strapped for money and cannot continue to pay our pensions, welfare, health, education systems any longer.

      However, then we read that Prince Charles has a staff of 160 minions. And HM 800. Now that is two people with almost a thousand minions between them. And guess what, the tax payer foots the bill for it. Does any one person need that many servants? And if so, why? And if they do, how can we afford them in these times of dire straits?

      Then, when we look at Baroness Ashton and her EU colleagues flying around thus:


      We have to ask, how this woman manages it? I don’t know. After all she isn’t a hereditary is she? But I have no doubt her friend Tony is getting what he wants there, so a cushion is apt, and as the tax payer is footing the bill, why worry. We are all in it together doesn’t appear to be working there does it?
      What exactly does this woman do to be found worthy of this front office job?


      Then we have to remember this IT waste. So, why is this happening? Look at who made money out of this. Who sold the computer equipment? And who invested in the companies that did? How much did they make out of the public purse?


      Are we really in the financial mess they tell us we are? It certainly doesn’t look like it, does it? And I have only scratched the surface of this idiocy.

      • Gareth Howell
        02/05/2012 at 5:27 pm

        Baroness Ashton is a competent woman, whaever other remarks you have to make about her. Peter Kellner will have your guts for garters if you persist in making personal remarks like that.

        CONTENT is king, and what she does is excellent.

        The Kinnock entourage was the same, like ’em or not; they did the job they
        wanted to do, and that nobody else was prepared for.

        I fear that the forthcoming general election in Greece, may show the way forward for the Balkans yet again. This time EU troops will forge the way and keep them in order. Then you will find the real value of the commissioners.

        • maude elwes
          03/05/2012 at 7:01 pm

          @Gareth Howell:

          What you may think and feel about Ashton and her husband Kellner is your perogative. However, I am not in line for some kind of back scratch, or whatevee it is you feel you have to rise to sycophant for. If this Kellner character is going to ‘get my guts for garters,’ as you put it, then why do you feel you have to make the threat for him? Big tough guys are usually well able to do that for themselves. Are you him and have decided to hide your real self and make threats to me incognito?

          Do you feel threats of that kind will change my thinking on this woman and her inability to arouse joy in the citizens of this country. You sound the equivalent of a union official or mobster. ‘Don’t lke what you see, eh, well you will when I’ve finished with you.’

          This woman in all her years of going from one step up to another, has never faced election. She remains an unelected, therefore appointed by interests who see her as a stooge for their cause. Cannot be other. Yet you claim to dislike hereditary’s or those who find privilege without first having been sanctioned by the public. Yet this one is different. Now why is that I wonder?

          Well lets get own to some serious thinking on this Baroness and her sudden rise to fame.

          In the years of her ascendance from days as Chairman of the County Health Authority, 1998 to 2001, she has never once put up for or asked for, the backing of the electorate. She is unelected and barely heard of outside of her small circle of friends. That is until she was suddenly popped into the House of Lords as a life peer. How intersting that is, who could have spotted her for that privilage. We are told she was appointed by the fleeing Gordon Brown. As he was virtually walking out of number ten.

          She then spent, according to her, 76 hours working on the passing of The Lisbon Treaty, through that same House of Lords and was greatly feted for her ‘hard’ work. Oh, yes! What a feat that was. It being already fixed to walk through regardless, made it so difficult a two year old could have managed that with the minions help in there.

          Suddenly, voila, she was propelled from there, within eighteen months, to the EU positions she holds now as High Representative for Foreign Affairs. Interesting you raise the Kinnocks, I assume this must mean they had a hand in it? So, with no experience whatsoever, and again, no mandate from the public, she lands a job she worked to create for herself. But as you will see, if you do just a little research, she has very little to show for her time in that post. On top of which, if you read our papers, all of them, she is greatly disliked.

          What a spectacular leap for such a lacklustre female. Something more than a little odd there?

          Then we have to look at the Kellner man you suggest is going to dissect me for not lauding his choice of cutie. I wonder if he is worried about a drop in income should she be spotted? This appalls me on many levels. First, this amazing rise to unearned fame is an enigma of worrying proportions. How many others are in those offices we have no knowledge of?

          Peter Kellner is, we learn, a Political Commentator and President of the British polling company, YouGov. So he is well in then, no doubt knows a few people in high places.

          Although she is deeply disliked and resented in Europe, she still has a very high paid position on the world stage. Speaking for and on behalf of the British people, who have not had a chance, in any capacity, to approve her in this role. Not surprising as she has little liklihood of cutting it, her performance being down beat and uninspiring. Not likely to be a winning ticket in election that.

          Yet, we learn her earnings are staggering. So much so even the highly paid EU officials are shocked, though they are not noted for thrift in that department. In fact, her performance is so questionable that all sections of the Federalistas are whispering in askance at this womans credentials. More than a disappointment she is considered a disaster.

          As an Englishwoman and voter I question this unsatisfactory woman’s right to speak on my countries behalf. And because of that, you make threats regarding my effrontery to do so. How dare you!


          Perhaps you should change the word commissioner to commissar. And troops directed at the Greek people? You sound more like Bush than ordinary Mr Gareth Howell. Could it be you’re suggesting connection to Blair. The one who tells us in The Mail he is returning to take over the leadership of Labour once again, with a warm nod from Ed Milliband.


          Rumour has always been that Blair remains the real mover and shaker of that party. And how worried he is at the propect of a real Labour return and take over from inside.

          The known return of Blair will indeed push the Tories back in the lead, and he knows it. So one has to ask why would he do that? Couldn’t be connected to his business investments, could it?

  2. 30/04/2012 at 7:50 am

    The number of Peers in the House is a matter that vexes Peers greatly, but is possibly an issue which we the general public don’t fully appreciate, or concerns itself with.

    I also think it is unlikely that Prime Ministers will be that keen on limiting their power of patronage by accepting limits on the size of the House as that means any outgoing PM would always use up his/her full allocation if only to prevent their successor appointing any new Peers until a vacancy arose.

    Either a Life Peerage becomes “Life” in the same way it has meaning in the judicial system – aka, more like 15-20 years and then you’re out.

    Or maybe the House of Lords is split along the lines of the legal system with only a select number of Peers able to speak in the Chamber, but they then represent the views of other Peers.

    Something similar to the relationship between barristers and solicitors?

    Although that does nothing to sort out congestion in the offices and committee rooms it does help with capacity issues in the Chamber. At least more side-offices can be built elsewhere, its less easy to enlarge the main debating forum.

  3. Lord Blagger
    30/04/2012 at 8:09 am

    Both Houses need reform


    The loaded question. Pose solutions A and B in the hope that people won’t consider C.

    What about abolishing the Lords?

    Ah yes, turkeys and Christmas

  4. Gareth Howell
    30/04/2012 at 1:07 pm

    The loaded question. Pose solutions A and B in the hope that people won’t consider C.

    The usual trickery by the nitpicking constitutionalists. 1911! I hear them cry!
    Cromwell!! Shouts another!!

  5. Joseph Frank
    30/04/2012 at 11:07 pm

    I think that either the Lord Grenfell, the Lord Trefgarne or the Lord Forsyth of Drumlean in an October debate made the best suggestion: to just reduce the number of new creations so that sooner or later the number will have been reduced.

  6. MilesJSD
    01/05/2012 at 10:47 am

    Just make every member of Parliament
    both up–to-date and,
    lifestylely Sustainworthy
    and governancially Fit-for-Purpose.

  7. Rob G
    01/05/2012 at 2:51 pm

    People keep saying something along the lines of Lord Soley’s “The present Bill hasn’t asked the most basic question of all. What do we want the second chamber to do?”

    Has nobody thought “Why do we make the assumption that they should be doing something different?”? There seems to be an assumption – particularly on the part of Peers – that if there is dissatisfaction with the House, it must be down to something other than its membership. Personally, I think the Lords has a job to do, and that many of its members do a reasonable job. I just happen to think they’re not the right people to be doing it.

  8. Gareth Howell
    01/05/2012 at 5:34 pm

    to just reduce the number of new creations so that sooner or later the number will have been reduced.

    Since political peers have the habit of entering in their own good time, that would mean not having any non political peers, ie none appointed from without.

    In the words of the olde song (Who wrote it?)
    “The only way is up”

    An increase in numbers to 1200-1400 peers, unless action is taken now, which seems unlikely.

    If HofC members are prepared to submit themselves to election by public mandate
    against people who would otherwise go to the appointments board, then interesting elections at the polling booth might be the outcome; very different kinds/categories of people.

    The number of constituency seats should be down at about 100-200 Senators/Peers, at most.

    The nonsense about a 15 year time span for membership, should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

  9. Lord Blagger
    01/05/2012 at 6:41 pm

    Also amazing that cost isn’t mentioned. Wonder why.

  10. Gareth Howell
    09/05/2012 at 8:42 am

    The nonsense about a 15 year time span for membership, should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

    Own quote. I know! Let’s have a hereditary president like Syria eh! or Texas.

    Some of the mind bending idiocy that this coalition government is pewking up.

    Let’s have elected peers who only have to be elected once in their lives. 15 years is not enough Oh! and fathers who were also in the house of lords before them.

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