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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Unelected and rejected

Personally, I have no problem with people who have something to offer and who have been rejected by the electorate being put in the House of Lords. After all that is the system.

What I do have a problem with is the system itself. A revising chamber which is appointed on the basis of Prime Ministerial and party patronage is both anti-democratic and constitutionally dangerous. It is not a situation which can be allowed to prevail for much longer. There must be reform so that the vast majority of the second chamber is elected by some form of proportional representation for a fixed term.

I also have a problem with hypocrisy. Welsh Labour wrongly condemn the Assembly list system as allowing politicians, who have been rejected at a constituency basis, to become AMs by the back door. At least regional Assembly Members have been voted in through a second election process.

With Maggie Jones we have the case of a rejected politician entering the House of Lords on a party list without having to submit herself to the electorate again. It is one rule for the Labour Party and another rule for everybody else. These people are a threat to democracy because they believe that its principle objective is to maintain Labour in power. It is not.
Ah, interesting. What's your take on reform and how would it fit?

An elected second chamber with revising powers? No second chamber? Are there any models you think we could copy? And would we have a written constitution too?
My take on this is very much in line with Liberal Democrat policy David - a written constitution, a predominantly elected second chamber acting with revising powers similiar to the present House of Lords. No details as yet but I would consider electing members of the second chamber for a fixed six year term by STV in multi-member constituencies would be best. Possibly have a third elected every two years as with the US Senate.
No mention of AMs' 2.1% pay rise though...
What is there to say? The annual rises are linked to senior civil servants. 2.1% is a fairly modest rise.
What do you make of the suggestion that Maggie Jones was ennobled for her work on equal pay, housing and tackling poverty as Head of Policy for UNISON?

Do you accept that there is a material difference between being defeated in an election but still becoming the same class of representative as the victor in the same chamber, and losing an election for one legislative chamber and being appointed to another?
Well that is the Labour spin. Nobody believes it.
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