Constitutional change

With the ‘Harrogate Meet’ just two days away, it is perhaps co-incidental that George Howarth, Labour, has proposed the abolition of the House of Lords thus moving this country to a unicameral system of government; a suggestion not unsurprising from a Socialist viewpoint as they tend to regard the HoL as representing the interests of the ‘upper class’. Needless to say, the main weakness of a unicameral system can be seen as the lack of restraint on the majority, particularly noticeable in parliamentary systems where the leaders of the parliamentary majority also dominate the executive – a situation which exists in the HoC. In keeping with the current political belief that they and only they can decide what is best for the people, it will not have escaped the attention of readers that the one section omitted from any consultation process is the people.

 While for sure it would cut the cost of government, in my view a move to unicameralism strengthens the dictatorial power that representative democracy already provides to those meant to serve us. Oddly for those proposing reform of representative democracy this suggestion does not appear to have made an appearance in their proposals – perhaps because it does strengthen the power of the executive?

Remembering that whatever system of democracy is agreed it has to be one where the people retain control of their political servants. Something else to consider for the Harrogate attendees, especially bearing in mind that as Richard North pointed out if we sort out our present political malaise we simultaneously sort out matters EU.



4 Responses

  1. Antisthenes says:

    My two pence worth for Harrogate is turn the commons into the English parliament and the Lords into the UK parliament.

    • david says:

      With respect, that only scratches at the surface of the whole democratic problem we have.

  2. john in cheshire says:

    I still think there is a need for 3 parties in government, as in the US; the executive, the lower house and the upper house; all with essentially equal power, drawn from different areas of our national life and all competing against each other in order to restrain the excesses of the other two. Nothing should be passed into law unless it has the consent of two of them (maybe all three, but I’m not sure about that). The challenge is to find the right people to fill the slots in each of these powerbases. Are there sufficient honourable men (and women) in our country these days who are up to the job? Election method for each body needs some thought; I think we should also vote for the executive, including the Prime Minister, as well as for individual MPs (it would also mean that a constituency where there is a member of the executive, would also have an MP in the HoC; would this give them an unfair advantage? If so, then the executive cannot be composed of simply MPs, but must be from a national pool of ‘talent’. HoL – I’m not in favour of the PM having the power to appoint people to that chamber – you just get more Blair’s cronies types. But I’m not sold on the elected route either. If the socialist cretins had left the system alone, we’d have had a good working system. so is it possible to recreate something on those lines?
    Just my thoughts.

    • david says:

      A number of interesting questions there……

      If we are to continue with some form of representative democracy, then how about we elect the PM but his cabinet come from outside politics – businessmen/women who have practical experience of the world?

      Further question, in rebuttal of representative democracy – if we believe the people are the longstop, ie they have the final decision, then the more one considers that and the general concept of people power then the more one is drawn to some form of direct democracy.

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