Friday, March 20, 2009

Brown Set to Create Twenty New Labour Peers?

I har whispers that Gordon Brown is intending to create another 20 Labour Peers in the not too distant future. Apparently it is the subject of much discussion among existing Labour Peers who feel they are being put upon. I haven't got any names of likely candidates for peerages - how does Lord Goodwin of Scotland sound?

If Brown does indeed create 20 new Peers there will be uproar among Conservative and LibDem ranks who feel that they both urgently need some new blood. The Tories, in particular, suffer from having an "ageing workforce", whose voting records are somewhat weaker than their younger counterparts in other parts of the House. There are only 197 Tory Peers compared to 216 Labour, 205 Crossbenchers, 72 LibDems and 41 others.

All this highlights the fact that the current House of Lords is not sustainable. Its membership is increasingly subject to the behest of the Prime Minister of the day. It was always thus, in many ways, but can anyone really defend this system of appointment and patronage in this day and age? I recognise that it isn't going to change in the short to medium term, and that it functions very well as a revising chamber. But that doesn't stop me from believing it to be fundamentally undemocratic.

21 comments:

Oldrightie said...

Everyone will be a Scot and it will be his resignation list prior to the June election.

Anoneumouse said...

Oh dear, I can see him now.

The Lord Prescott of Titanic

or

Lord Prescott of the OK Corral

or .....Dorneywood ...or..

martin day said...

It means Labour are short of electoral funds! They also want to sabotege a change of government not just financially but in the second chamber.

It would be an appaling use of Brown's partonege to create more Labour peers at this time and will just spped up the need to appoint an intirim house that would then sit until a replacement. How about this - the intirim house keeps its Independents, Bishops etc but the political factions are done on proportion of vote scored at the next GE? If it was in the tory manefesto and even better if the LD's supplemented their manifesto with it the solution may work.

Unity said...

Iain:

Isn't Blair still owed his resignation list?

How many would that cover?

Nick Thornsby said...

How can it be described as anything other than fundamentally undemocratic?

It is indefensible.

Anonymong said...

The whole point of the lords is that it is undemocratic, if you sit in it for life then you dont feel quite so bound by party politics!

What it needs is a completely impartial system of putting people in the house.

Maybe Her Majesty could find the time to look through applicants/candidates? Or failing that a citizens jury that simply has the details of what the person has done in their life and nothing on their voting record.

Raedwald said...

Brown is well into dirty tricks and scorched earth tactics as Labour faces at least a generation in the wilderness and possibly extinction.

Be in no doubt that he will use every weapon in his armoury, including shameless patronage, for party political ends.

John said...

There isn't a single argument left against a wholly elected second chamber. None. Nada.

Guthrum said...

Thats nearly £20m !!

Erskine May said...

The House of Lords is actually working well. It makes more of a difference to legislation than the Commons and without it the statute book would be in a far worse state than it is. It displays a degree of detachment from the Government and is able to exert influence in a productive manner.

There is little obvious point in replacing it with a duplicate of the Commons and to say that it is profoundly undemocratic displays an ignorance of what has been written recently about democracy and second chambers. Election of a chamber is necessary in a democracy and indeed can be argued to be necessary and sufficient. That way, what has been termed core accountability is maintained, with one body - the party in government - answerable directly to the electorate. Once you elect more than one chamber, you start to divide democratic accountability. The Lords accepts the ultimate supremacy of the Commons and serves to complement it rather than duplicate or conflict with it. We thus maintain that core accountabilty with the benefits of a second chamber. It is a combination that we should retain, not jettison.

http://www.cctvstar.blogspot.com said...

Labour will do absolutely anything to keep hold of power.

I would not be unsympathetic to an assassination attempt.


FOLLOW THE PAPER TRAIL: LABOUR DAMNED BY THEIR OWN BUREAUCRACY

James D said...

Bring back the hereditaries... Or failing that, do the magnanimous thing of appointing a load of Crossbench, Plaid, SNP, and Northern Irish peers to screw Gorgon Brown's attempt to party politicize appointments.

The Lakelander said...

So what's the going rate for a peerage these days?

My guess would be the Labour Party overdraft divided by 20.

Or am I just being cynical?

Old Holborn said...

Lady McCarthy of Mogadishu East

You HAVE to see her post on education.

Are rich people more intelligent?

Certifiable Moonbat

The Grim Reaper said...

No room for Sir Dale of Saffron Walden? Looks like you'll have to wait til Call Me Dave takes over, Iain.

Oliver Drew said...

Hmmmm...won't change in the short to medium term Iain? A pledge to reform the House of Lords - make it fully elected by proportional representation, should be in the Conservatives manifesto.

Unfortunately I fear you are right and it won't be - there are other "more important" things happening.

Simon Gardner said...

“But that doesn't stop me from believing it to be fundamentally undemocratic.”

Oh indeed. And the House of Commons - because of the bogus manner it is chosen - is fundamentally undemocratic.

Andrew said...

Iain: "how does Lord Goodwin of Scotland sound?"

What a surprise, not, that you should stick in a characteristic sly dig at the Scots in passing. Still, not as bad as the prejudice Oldshightie displays in the first comment on this thread.

You guys need to remember:

1) Brown is in power because all but six Labour MPs nominated (i.e. as good as voted) him in;

2) The great majority of those Labour MPs represent English constituencies;

3) The Labour Party has a large majority of MPs in England alone (i.e. Scots don't hold the balance of power, or anywhere near it - much though you like to pretend otherwise to maintain your pretence that England is put upon for any reason other than the stupidity of so many English people voting Labour three times in a row).

I doubt you'd be making snide remarks like that if Goodwin was a gayer rather than a Scot.

Iain Dale said...

FFS get that chip of your shoulder. It wasn't a dig at Scotland, it was a dig at RBS. I am a quarter Scottish myself. The clue is in the spelling of Iain.

davidc said...

andrew says @ - 'The great majority of those Labour MPs represent English constituencies'

but how many of them are scots by birth ?

come to think of it, how many scottish constituencies have english born m.p.'s ?

Man in a Shed said...

@Andrew - and yet Labour is dominated by Scots.

Many of Labour's 'English MPs' are really Irish or Scots.

The question is why the English MPs are so subservient. I know Labour has a real problem with the low quality of its MPs, but they are amazingly docile - as the coronation of Brown, and the spectacular benefits every one else in the Union enjoys at England's expense shows.