House of Lords Reform has become a statue in the parliament, in fact it’s older then the statues that stand outside of the House of Commons. It is, arguably, central to our nation. A radical rethinking of the way that the country is run, removing both hereditary peers and those appointed by politicians. It would, undoubtedly, make the nation more democratic. Yet, at almost every stage, the attempts at reforming the second chamber have come under pressure and have simply failed to get past anything noteworthy. Why?
The part Labour played in blocking the recent attempts to pass, to put it simply, a time schedule on the reform is easily explained. They were seeking an opportunity to bring down the coalition. Lords Reform is dear to the Liberal party and, with more than 70 Tories rebelling, Ed Miliband refused to support the bill. He claimed that this was because the schedule didn’t offer enough time. You don’t have to understand Machiavelli to understand Ed’s actions. He was taking advantage of the situation, trying to pressurise the coalition into collapse, whilst appearing to still support the reform in principle. It’s a bit of a joke.
The part played by the Conservative rebels is perhaps more important, considering they are meant to follow what their leader says. David Cameron supported the timeframe but over 70 rebels went against him. They gave a variety of reasons for this, many MPs arguing that the Reform would mean that the ancient supremacy of the House of Commons would come under threat. Some even went as far to suggest that the entire idea of an elected second house was just wrong.
This seems a bizarre opinion to hold. After all, who can agree that it is fair for there still to be hereditary peers making decisions about the nation? Then you have a wealth of problems that come with the system. Many accuse some MPs of arrogantly believing that, after serving a lifetime in the House of Commons, they will simply be granted a seat in the Lords. Some claim to want a referendum, arguing that the country should decide. Is there really any need for another costly and drawn out vote?
It’s this type of attack that has led some observers to say that the rebellion was some type of self-defence. They didn’t want their retirement attacked, what would they possibly do if forced to leave the bubble of Westminster? However, it may also have been an attack on the premiership of David Cameron, who seems to becoming under more and more pressure to become more right-wing and appeal to old style conservatives.
So, when it comes to Lords Reform both main parties have decided to play politics, while the Lib Dems just want to get on with it. It’s a shame. I mean who really wants a load of unelected people deciding the future of our country? I thought that we lived in a democracy but no. Democracy will have to wait; Labour and the Tories are playing politics.