On Tuesday mornings at 9 am there is a Radio 4 programme called "The Brown Years." This week's was largely devoted to the inside story of whether or not to call an election in the autumn of 2007. Both private and published opinion polls were pored over and apparently the crucial factor in making the decision not to call an election was that not enough southern middle class voters were thought not to be likely to vote Labour. Now that the coalition is to introduce fixed term parliaments the gross unfairness, and time consuming burden, of allowing one contender to choose the date of the election at a time thought to be most favourable to his own party is now rightly consigned to the dustbins.
I am reading the second volume of Chris Mullin's diaries ( a fascinating read, as is the first.) On page 158 (15th march 2007) he records: "...I heard the other day from someone in the Lords, that David Cameron has privately told the Tory peers that Lords reform is a 'third term issue'. So the Tories new found love of democracy in The Other Place is, after all, entirely bogus." Gossip, I know, but given that Cameron's pragmatism rivals that of Harold Wilson, I have no reason to suspect Mullin's judgment.
That a wholly or largely elected second chamber is now firmly on the agenda of this parliament' is another "prize" for Liberal Democrats in coalition.
Those of us distressed by Liberal Democrat complicity in the Tories' obsession with cutting back the state through the bogus need for immediate "savage cuts" should not forget the the triumphs of achieving these long overdue constitutional reforms.