Thursday, 3 June 2010
Well, what a month! For political enthusiasts (ok, geeks) like me, the past few weeks have been tense and intense. Now that the dust is beginning to settle, we have time to think about some of the changes the new government wishes to make. Some of them good, some of them bad. Some will look more far reaching than they actually are. And some will completely transform our democracy. One such change is reform of the House of Lords. As a passionate democrat, you would think that I would be in favour of a wholly-elected Upper Chamber. And I am pretty sure I should be. But I am not. I believe that there is a role for appointed peers. I don't mean peers who get to wear ermine as a leaving present from the House of Commons but peers who are are appointed because of their experience and contribution to civic society. Peers like Joel Joffe, Robert Winston, Helen Hayman, David Ramsbotham, Mary Warnock and dozens like them. They bring real expertise and offer a completely different perspective which I fear would disappear in a wholly elected Chamber. So if asked, I will be saying yes let's review and reform the system but let's not throw any babies out with the bathwater.