Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Tories only have two options for exacting revenge on the Lords, and neither of them are great

I'll be genuinely fascinated to see what wheeze the Tory government are going to come up with to prevent any future defeats in the Lords of the sort they suffered last night.  Unless I'm missing something, there are only two options -

1) Amending the Parliament Acts to curtail the Lords' powers further.  Even if that was a relatively modest curtailment, the parliamentary process to achieve it would not be at all straightforward - if the Lords resisted it, the Parliament Acts themselves might need to be invoked for only the eighth time in history.  Which begs the obvious question : if you're going to go to all that time and trouble anyway, doesn't that strip away your excuse for not undertaking proper democratic reform of the Lords, namely that it would be a time-consuming "distraction"?

2) Flooding the Lords with new Tory peers to give the government a majority.  This would cost the taxpayer over £2 million, and would surely lead to billboard posters along the lines of the No2AV campaign's timeless "classics" -

"She needs a new maternity unit NOT one hundred more Tory peers.  Our country can't afford it."

"He needs a bulletproof vest NOT one hundred more Tory peers.  Our country can't afford it."

And if this is supposed to be some sort of constitutional "solution", doesn't it set an obvious precedent?  It would take membership of the Lords to a truly ridiculous 1000, but a future Labour government would be quite within its rights to flood the chamber with Labour peers to give itself a majority, which would increase the membership still further.  Then the Tory government after that would be able to do the same thing, and so on into infinity.

Mind you, maybe that is a solution, because eventually we'd get to the point where every single person in Britain is a member of the House of Lords, and then finally we'd have a democracy of sorts.  And we'd all be very wealthy people, so what's not to love?

25 comments:

  1. .... when everyone is somebody, then no-one's anybody!

    W. S. Gilbert getting in first as usual.

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  2. Flawed conclusion - what about the other parties?

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    1. That's a flawed question, in the sense that I have no idea what you mean.

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  3. Will you accept a peerage?

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    1. What would be your place name? Michelle Mone went for "Mayfair".

      Aldo

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    2. I've lived in both Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, so either of those would match Mone for alliterativeness (if not for pomposity).

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    3. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 27, 2015 at 7:54 PM

      I would accept a peerage. A minimum of 250 quid a day. Thats 25 pints a day in the Red Lion Whitehall. Fook James lets go for it. I would be Lord Graham of Mile End. Sounds democratic and representative of myself. You make up your title James.

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    4. Eat your cereal.

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  4. Just how dull and downright conservative is Westminster politics, they cannot even have a proper constitutional crisis? The privileged bunch of ermine clad clowns cannot even at least engineer a proper face off, or even attempt a real square go at this rancid Tory government. Absolutely pathetic. The British establishment are really an exceedingly grim, dour bunch of killjoys and wasters. No passion, no theatre, no fight, and no vision.

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    1. I would say there is certainly plenty of theatre. And I, for one, enjoy it. I think observance of all these ancient rituals gives parliament added gravitas. Where else could you find a man wearing tights and a black rod?

      Don't answer that!

      Aldo

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    2. What you Tories do in your own time is your own business...

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    3. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 27, 2015 at 9:08 PM

      Anon, why does a right wing lot of mobster Nat sis keep going on and on about the Tories. You are worse than them. At least the Tories are honest bastards.

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    4. Eat your cereal, splash.

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  5. The thing is, if Osborne had included it in the budget, it could not have been blocked.

    He must have known this would face opposition from peers. The Labour, Lib Dem and SNP parties are all desperately falling over themselves to prove their leftwing credentials. It was inevitable the Lords would block this.

    So did Osborne engineer the showdown? Is this to be the excuse for restructuring parliament in such a way that is ultimately favourable to the tories? Or did he just fail to properly judge the situation?

    As for the policy itself, I think it is a good thing it was blocked. State subsidy of the low waged has to stop - but only at the same time as other compensating policies come into play. A 4 year gap is unacceptable.

    Aldo

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    1. Not sure how the SNP are involved here. There are no SNP peers.

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    2. The problem with including it in the Finance Bill is that other parties could presumably have tabled amendments, some of which would likely have been successful given the disquiet on the Tory benches. I'd assume that Osborne opted for the SI route as they can't be amended, and he just presumed that the Lords would fall into line.

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    3. I was surprised to learn there are no SNP peers in the HoL. So the responsibility - and the credit - for blocking the tax credit cuts must go to Labour and Liberal Democrat peers.

      For a while I thought maybe the tories had deliberately gifted Labour and the Lib Dems an opportunity to increase their popularity in Scotland by voting down these changes. Maybe that's a tad far fetched though. I agree with anon - they just didn't want the commons to have a chance to alter it.

      Aldo

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  6. No2AV just proved how thick the electorate in this country is. Vote to make your vote count for less. I would have had four option for AV: 1. Yes 2. No 3. Never 4. Nay. Yes to AV would have won under FPTP, and lost under AV.

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    1. Dismissing the electorate as thick is never helpful.

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    2. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 27, 2015 at 8:05 PM

      Indeed telling the truth is no way to get elected.

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    3. Eat your cereal.

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    4. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 27, 2015 at 10:34 PM

      Anon, I suppose you find it incumbent on yourself to answer for others!

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    5. Eat your cereal.

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  7. So basically speaking the UK has the choice between the new Successor costing £167 billion and a continental shelf life up to 2060, or 10,000 Lords a Sleeping by 2060.

    I know which I think is the best MAD deterrent, and as always, the Houses of Parliament will be Continuously At Sea Democratically.

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