Wednesday, February 28, 2007

House of Lords Reform 2

Good article by Jonathan Freedland in today's Guardian.

Freedland highlights the absurdity of the British political establishment's claim of promoting democracy around the world, when it doesn't have the will to make its own legislature completely democratically elected.

It is in itself quite telling that the Commons can even debate whether the Lords should be elected by universal suffrage or appointed by the Prime Ministers. The House of Lords is a real political chamber with real political power, although subservient to the Commons by convention and the Parliament Act 1911 (which gives the Commons the power to enact into law any bill rejected by the Lords, provided a year has passed between the second and third reading of the bill in the Commons).

The House of Lords has the power to intiate and enact legislation, scrutinises bills, have members on important comittees and supplies members to the executive.

As Freedland points out, arguments against an elected upper house is in reality "an argument against democracy itself."


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