Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Morning After...

There were many glum faces among Labour Peers this morning as they trooped into the Lords to eat their CoCo Pops. Many of them had given up their Commons seats with the promise of a Peerage for life and all the acoutrements that accompany it. But more importantly they had given up enhanced pension rights by leaving the Commons a little earlier than they had planned. So they now plan to fight a rearguard action and ally themselves with the Tory diehards who want no reform whatsoever. Some strange alliances are about to be formed.

Last night's vote was ostensibly a free vote, so Labour MPs were alarmed to see the giant whip Tommy McAvoy standing at the entrance to the Aye Lobby, urging them to 'vote for democracy'. Could it be that the Labour whips were encouraging their flock to vote for the 100% option to bugger up the entire process. Judging the look of Jack Straw's face at the end of it, he looked as if he was sucking a lemon. He descibed it as an 'historic step forward'. Perhaps so, but not for his career. He then had to meekly explain that he wouldn't be able to attend Business Questions this morning due to a 'prior engagement'. Best not to go any further.


Anonymous said...

Unless you are particularly diminutive, Iain, Tommy Mac is hardly a giant.

Anonymous said...

Iain, I think Theresa May has got the best of the encounter..reflected when Jack Straw inadvertently referred to her as the 'Leader of the House'...

Still, he had the grace to make a good gag about 'talking to himself'..

Many a true word, spoken in jest.

Who needs EastEnders, when you've got Iain Dale ?

macles said...

If the Lords mount opposition to reform out of pure self-interest, they deserve nothing less than the fate met by the French aristos in the 1790'S.

Anyhow, what an opportunity to rescue the democratic process in Britain.

Someone in an earlier thread commented on the need to elect 1/3 of the chamber at a time, to lmit its democratic legitimacy relative to the commons. I'd agree, but maybe 50%?

What this also should mean is the introduction of fixed terms to Parliament - no more government deciding on the date of the election. We are heading towards something like the American model, which is actually quite exciting.

But more elections will make party finance an absolutely key issue - not that it isn't already.

Neil Harding said...

Only 28% of Tory MPs voted for an all elected chamber compared to 63% of Labour MPs and 90% of Lib Dems. It seems a majority of Tory MPs are 'Tory diehards' as you put it.

Anonymous said...

I still see absolutely no reason why the House of Lords need be touched. It is superb as a revising Chamber, it has people of experience, talent and ability and who are no longer beholden to any political party. We will instead get another elected House of callow idiots. Why not create a Middle Chamber if it is so important to have a replicated House of Commons?

Big Andy said...

If the Lords is such a good revising chamber and is such a bastion of liberty; how has the nightmare of the last 9 years (legislatorially - if that is a word - speaking) been allowed to take place?

I like the lords. I like the people in it. I have an aversion to changing it.

But...I can not convince myself that it is working.

There has been FAR too much absolutely lazy, duplicitous and down right needless legislation passed onto the statute books for one to believe that they are doing a good job.