A caller to LBC this afternoon thought it mighty clever of Call-me-Dave to stuff the Lords with cronies and donors, thus leading to a grass-roots socialist backlash and the near certainty of Labour ending up with 2020 General Election-losing Jeremy Corbyn for Glorious Leader. At first I thought, hey, cunning plan, but then I remembered who I was dealing with. While Labour hasn’t a coherent thought among the lot of them, the current crop of pseudo-Conservatives are hardly joined-up government personified. Apart from lucking out on the economy I struggle to recall a single bit of brilliant policy that has led to the desired outcomes.
But isn’t that what the Lords are there for? To volley back to the Commons policy on which the stitching has come undone. Or to toss into the trash that which should never have made it off the lower house’s cutting room floor. When the ermined were the real deal it was in an age when they took it as a sacred trust to look after the country for posterity. A good Squire knows it is in his own interests to keep the peasants fed and happy enough at least not to revolt. And while there were – with absolutely no doubt – devilish dealings and underhand pacts made for the enrichment of the landed class the peasantry wouldn’t have known what to do with wealth anyway.
I mean, look at them; richer than at any time in history, all they seem to do is demand more for less in an open show of ignorance that would embarrass anybody with the feeblest cerebral pulse. And it’s a positive feedback loop – this is rarely a good thing, you non-logicians out there – whereby the masses vote for the parties whose lies they prefer, who then in turn pack the red benches with peers who won’t oppose them. And still the leeching goes on (doesn’t it ‘Lord Moat’?) but that’s okay because now both ends are hammering the middle.
From the political left comes the cry “Reform the Lords!” by which they mean, “Make them agree with us!” But oh how quickly those principles slip away, Lord Prescott, when the call comes from above? There really is no sensible answer. Hereditary succession is rejected because of the class war which has been raging a century or more now. An appointed peerage is a clear no-go as the numbers approach a thousand ennobled stooges who proceed with partisan agendas while taking their £300-a-day to snooze on the plush leather. And an elected upper chamber is a ludicrous nonsense which will simply bring whichever electoral system is used for selection into disrepute.
Lord Filthy Rich
So, what’s it to be? I say we turn the House of Lords into a retirement club for those whose days of political ne’er-do-welling are over. Instead of us paying them to attend we maintain the building as a national treasure, but they cover the running costs and act as tour guides and tea room staff for bemused foreign visitors. But, you ask, what of the legislative safety valve? What of the control over runaway governments? What of the checks and balances? To which my response is, ask the unelected masters in Brussels; they’re in charge now.
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