Sunday, 14 March 2010

A Future Free from Lords

So Jack Straw is wanting us to believe him when he says that Labour will replace the House of Lords with a full elected chamber. Let's look at what Labour promised as far as some of the reform pledged in 1997, bear in mind they have had a clear majority to do all of this since then (my notes in red).

A modern House of Lords

The House of Lords must be reformed. As an initial, self-contained reform, not dependent on further reform in the future, the right of hereditary peers to sit and vote in the House of Lords will be ended by statute. Well apart from the 92 that remain. This will be the first stage in a process of reform to make the House of Lords more democratic and representative. Well after 13 years failing to complete stage one what ever next. The legislative powers of the House of Lords will remain unaltered.

The system of appointment of life peers to the House of Lords will be reviewed. Our objective will be to ensure that over time party appointees as life peers more accurately reflect the proportion of votes cast at the previous general election. This has improved. We are committed to maintaining an independent cross-bench presence of life peers. No one political party should seek a majority in the House of Lords.

A committee of both Houses of Parliament will be appointed to undertake a wide-ranging review of possible further change and then to bring forward proposals for reform.

We have no plans to replace the monarchy.

An effective House of Commons

We believe the House of Commons is in need of modernisation and we will ask the House to establish a special Select Committee to review its procedures. Prime Minister's Questions will be made more effective. Surely a measure of effectiveness is the answers the PM gives, I say failure. Ministerial accountability will be reviewed so as to remove recent abuses. The process for scrutinising European legislation will be overhauled.

The Nolan recommendations will be fully implemented and extended to all public bodies. We will oblige parties to declare the source of all donations above a minimum figure: Done. Labour does this voluntarily and all parties should do so. Foreign funding will be banned. Not from Non-Doms it would appear. We will ask the Nolan Committee to consider how the funding of political parties should be regulated and reformed.

We are committed to a referendum on the voting system for the House of Commons. An independent commission on voting systems will be appointed early to recommend a proportional alternative to the first-past-the-post system. They took to 2010 to recommend anything to the house, apparently without consultation.

At this election, Labour is proud to be making major strides to rectify the under-representation of women in public life.

Open government

Unnecessary secrecy in government leads to arrogance in government and defective policy decisions. The Scott Report on arms to Iraq revealed Conservative abuses of power. So now we have Labour abuses of power with a second Iraq war. We are pledged to a Freedom of Information Act, But there will be delays in making MPs subject to such legislation on their expenses. leading to more open government, and an independent National Statistical Service. Unless drugs stats disagree with government policy for example.

So what now do we trust that they'll put this into place over the next 5 years?


  1. The Iraq War was not an 'abuse of power'. It was entirely constitutional. You may have disagreed with it, but that does not make it an abuse of power.

  2. Labour ignore advise from the attorney general's office.

    Blair has admitted publically that he was going to go in to get rid of Sadddam even if the dodgy dossier didn't exist.

    Labour lied when questioned in the house if they had been advised otherwise (contempt of the House).

    The went in without UN authorisation, which was then sought subsequently. Breaking Article Two of the UN Charter.