Wednesday, January 28, 2009

In our next story, pigs airlift snowballs from hell

Amazing. The Independent has published something I agree with - this is as rare as hens teeth, though not quite as infrequent as discovering fact-based economics in a Polly Toynbee piece.
It concerns the House of Lords, and the statement in question is this:

...yet some wider perspective is important in considering the future of the second chamber. It is important to remember that many peers do much good work painstakingly picking through the legislation that is sent up by their professional colleagues in the Commons. When they come across something wrong-headed or dangerous, they send it back. And most of them perform this service for no salary. The lords have certainly proved their worth as a revising chamber in recent years. Last year, the House rejected the Government's legislative plans to detain domestic terrorist suspects for 42 days without charge. In 2005, the law lords ruled that the Government's internment of foreign terror suspects was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The argument for completing the reforms set in train a decade ago is strong. At least a proportion of peers should be made democratically accountable to the electorate, but a wholly elected chamber would be a mistake. The last thing we want is another chamber of professional politicians. It is worth asking whether the House of Lords would have proved such a stubborn check on the Commons over the years if it had been full of individuals keen to secure party funds for re-election? It is unfashionable to speak of non-partisan public service in the present cynical era, but there is still a place for it.
See - amazingly level headed for a paper that pays the wages of such pond life as Johann Hari and the Ghastly Ghastly Robert Fisk.
I also (shame! shame!) agree with Craig Brown, er I mean Simon Heffer, when he says that the instruments exist to resolve this issue - the attainder laws (unless the Reptile dips into his considerable store of legalknowledge and corrects me) would be perfect for the task of removing their lordships styles and privileges.
They lack a little what-not though - personally I believe that we ought to mug up on how Lord Cochrane was stripped of the styles of the garter including the snapping of spurs and the casting down of his coat of arms and I think he was chucked down the stairs of St Georges Chapel in Windsor (or maybe his personal standard was or something).
And whilst we are about it, why stop with the chaps in trouble now? 10 gets you 1 that in any labour appointment since, ohhh, ever, the peer will be grasping, have achieved little or nothing of note, fail to appreciate the position of the house and especially if appointed since about 1996 will have their position having either bought it, been bought off by it or given it for services to the worst administration since, well, Wilson. Let's have 'em all out.

Better policies for a Greater Britain and I offer 'em up free an' gratis as part of my campaign to go Back to the Future.

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