Saturday, 11 February 2012

Reform of SecondChamber (2)

According to a report in the Guardian (Labour peer:PM will rue Lords reform -9th February, 2012) Lady Royall, Labours Leader in the House of Lords, believes that the coalition has the wrong priorities if we insist on going ahead with second chamber reform when "we are in the biggest economic crisis since the 1920s' depression."

Short-termism has been the curse of the British economy for decades, and is one of the reasons that our manufacturing sector, and therefore the economy as a whole, is at present in so weak a position. Alas, short-termism in politics is equally endemic. The promise of a democratic second chamber have now been on the statute book for 101 years. Opponents will always have the excuse that "the time is not ripe." But Lady Royall claims to be an advocate of Lords reform. So does the Labour party, and so they jolly-well should be. It is a disgrace that the job was not properly completed while they had an overwhelming majority in the Commons for 13 years.

Traditional opponents of Lords reform have always been the Tories. For once they are, at least in theory, on side. All progressive politicians should seize the moment and get on with it.

It is an error to see constitutional reform as something of concern only to political anoraks, and to be considered only when there is nothing better to do. Getting the constitution right is a pre-requisite for putting so much else right that is at present wrong in our society. Nick Clegg is therefore to be applauded for pushing ahead with second chamber reform, and he deserves the support, rather than the carping criticism, of politicians who claim to be progressive.

(Please see earlier post for ideas about second chamber reform at

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