Saturday, April 01, 2006

'Tony's crony' says his friend is not finished

As I predicted, House of Lords "reform" will be accompanied by a diminution in the Upper House's powers. Falconer is an intelligent man. When he makes the simplistic statement that "you don't want an election on the same day with identical results", he does so because it is obviously ridiculous, the more easily to knock it down. He disposes of the idea of an elected Upper House or Senate by disposing of one ridiculous way of achieving it. Then he moves on.

It says a lot about his view of the electorate, that he assumes we know nothing about bicameral legislatures in other countries, where perfectly sensible approaches are adopted to avoid such a stupid situation.

He was turned down as a Labour candidate for Parliament because he refused to withdraw his children from private schools. He knows how pathetic is the State education system his Party designed and defends. I assume he is relying on that system to deliver him voters so stupid that they can't see through his transparent devices.

New Labour has exposed the weakness in our Constitution. For centuries, our only protection from tyranny has been the robust character of our members of parliament. Historically, they were often financially-independent, independent-minded individuals who were difficult to manage and manipulate. Today, they are usually career politicians with an eye for advancement. As their promotion depends entirely on their Party leader, and as the party whips act on the leader's orders, they have become cravenly submissive.

Rather than genuinely scrutinising, reviewing and debating new legislation, they vote as they are directed. That is how it is possible for a headline in "The Sun" to lead to a new, ill-thought-through and damaging law within days or weeks.

We need an Upper House to review legislation generated in such a shambolic way by a House of Commons which has been neutered and corrupted in this way. That is the reason why the unelected mess of an Upper House we have at present appears to be doing such a good job; it is by contrast to the pathetic performance of the House of Commons. Blair's and Falconer's proposed "reforms" are not designed to make Parliament function better. They are not designed to create a system for intelligent drafting, debate and review of new law. They are designed to neuter the Upper House as the Labour Party has already neutered the House of Commons.

We need a constitution which defends the people from fly-legislating; from laws made hastily for political effect - to buy a headline at the price of lost liberties and increased costs. I have no idea - under our present constitutional arrangements - how that can be achieved without violence.

Telegraph | News | 'Tony's crony' says his friend is not finished

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