Voting with the party is what political peers were appointed for.

Baroness Murphy

As we wind down to the end of term, I just want to comment on Lord Tyler’s complaint about the increasingly politically partisan voting of peers. I wonder if the statistics bear out what Lord Tyler claims? I confess I do not know. I have not really noticed any difference in party allegiance over the last ten years or more partisan behaviours.  As a crossbencher it has always seemed to me that the LibDem peers are the best ‘whipped’ in that they seem to vote with one accord, followed closely by the vast majority of Conservative and Labour peers who do not listen to the debates but appear by magic from offices all over the Westminster estate as soon as a division is called. Ninety percent of peers will not know what they are voting on, we poor crossbenchers envy them of course, we don’t have the luxury of zooming through the division lobbies continuing our conversations without pausing over the matter before the House. Just as the bell sounds you will find an anxious gaggle of crossbenchers consulting each other on the amendment, often collaring a colleague who has sat through the whole debate so as to be sure we understand what’s going on. For me it’s simple; no understand the argument, no vote. But that of course leads to consistent and justifiable criticism of crossbenchers for low voting turn outs. Of course we adopt the revolutionary approach of asking peers to sign up to participate in bills before hand and then expect those peers to sit in and speak and vote as the bill progressed, and ensuring only those who had actually participated voted on an issue….but no political party would agree to that, nor many crossbenchers neither. But we have to face the fact that party political peers are appointed to vote with their party machine and loyalty to party is stronger than other loyalties when cultivated over many years in politics. We only have to look at the way those who have dared to change parties are treated, with a certain shameful disdain few would want to risk experiencing.

2 comments for “Voting with the party is what political peers were appointed for.

  1. MilesJSD
    26/07/2014 at 11:18 pm

    That neither the constituted, nor the elected and-or appointed, Determiners of our 63 million-odd peoples’ lives, works and deaths,

    qua both our
    ‘sustainworthily-sustainable workplace
    and our lifeplace
    immediate-&-longest-term-future Needs-&-Affordable-Hows’

    are required both by Constitution and by Legislation & Regulation
    to make & maintain their constitutional-legislational-regulational selves and colleagues
    fit to satisfy these peoples’ needs both affordably and sustainworthily

    is not only Cause enough for a bloody-revolution

    but is highly-probably a major historical Cause of mass-ignorance, incapacity and ill-health, shortages of essential lifesupports(*), disease-epidemics and pandemics, and the prolific military and civil strifes worldwide that eventually erupt and crash into bloody-and-even-worldwide Wars.

    Human-Life, maybe like the Greater Earth-Life, is both naturally and civilisationally complex, and every-one is de facto participant in It
    [so might as well start becoming both lifeplace-personally-efficient and collective-governance-competent];

    and therefore not only is it “stupid” to be so ‘constitutionally’ and ‘politically’ stuck in ‘simplify-it-down into ‘party-machinery’, ‘yes or no, black or white, need or do not need, all-or-nothing, ‘the majority is all that matters’,
    and “I’m voting the same as the ‘leader’, ‘boss’, or ‘majority’;
    {“so rubber-stamp me, and all who depend on me for life,
    for Life”}.

    Such a civilisation-pyramid is so clearly “corruptly and corruptingly deluded and Deluding”:-
    long-term, no better than a Tower-of-Babble.
    Yet, Baroness Murphy, you appears to be honestly ‘responsible’; but ironicly sadly yet, ‘trapped’ also;
    and in some lesser or greater measure so are we,
    all 63 million+, each-and-all …….

    so I need to ‘cut MY cackle’
    and submit my briefest democratic ‘voice’ here, much the same as I submitted to Lord Tyler’s “Partisan Peers” –

    but I dare not narrow it down to any less than three ‘self-and-society’ “saviours”, listed in priority order of “doing” :

    1) “Meet Your Body” by Noah Karrasch
    with a ‘human-rather-than-mechanistic’ foreword by Ralph Harvey M.D.

    2) “Mindfulness Meditation” by Mark Williams, especially for its audio-CD guidances.

    3) “Do They Think You’re Stupid” by Julian Baggini.

  2. maude elwes
    28/07/2014 at 10:48 am

    I feel, Baroness, this thread opening of yours hits on one of the reasons why Parliament is so very out of touch with the public mind and soul.

    You write that Peers are politically bound to vote with their party. Yet, in the same breath you admit many, if not all, don’t know what it is they are voting for, or, are fully cognisant of the outcome or raison d’etre of what it is they are passing into our law and into our lives.

    If you add this situation to a great deal of what is pushed by political parties, one way and another, for approval and support by the Lords, and indeed from their own MP’s in the Commons before it, as not being part of what they pledged to the general public before an election, you can follow the misunderstanding and confusion between us all.

    A political party tells the voter, in what is called a manifesto, where they are supposedly going with regards to future policies, doctrine and ethos. Yet, we find once elected, all of the parties veer crazily away from that promised. Even those we elected as ‘our voice’ and those who are supposed to keep the project on an even keel, consistently vote with their party regardless of it being so far off beam on all important matters. The truth being the entire voting group in both houses collude with government to dupe the citizen on every level and do it without even understanding what it is they are passing.

    Therefore, no wonder both Houses can be filled with any old Tom, Dick and Harry, the way they presently are, as it matters not who sits on the benches. Any and all will do as they are told, knowing it to be against the expectation and wishes of the electorate and not, in the main, in their best interests.

    This has to change. Lord Tyler was hitting it hard on the nail when he enlightened us in his last post. We do need a revolution and fast as well as exposure as to what and where those who lead are taking us.

    I watched Ed Miliband give an election talk yesterday on video. He told us he was not a good PR photo shot as he didn’t have the charisma of Cameron. And as Cameron has so little Miliband must believe he is a complete loser on that level. Yet, as he spoke, I looked at the set up he had posed himself in to appeal to the British general public. The voting class. And what do you think he was telling us all with the photo shoot he had arranged for himself? It came across loud and very clear, I’m not for you if you are not ethnic. Care if I can’t present myself as a refined leader of good British manners because I can’t eat a bacon sandwich without making a mess of myself, and, if you want to know what I plan for your future with my political appeal, you are not the voter for me and don’t bother to put your X next to my party on the ballot paper. We don’t want you. We are on a higher level.

    Whoever set this guy up in this way to represent himself as a leading man for the people, is genuinely working for his opponent. There are very cunning underhand tactics going on behind his back and he, apparently, hasn’t a clue to its impact.

    I wonder if it’s Blair in tight with the Conservatives to make sure no Labour party comes anywhere near the lead in May 2015.

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