Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Their Lordships House

I've not traditionally been a big fan of the House of Lords. Unelected hereditary hoorahs and political has-beens hindering the democratic doings of the House of Commons, birthright over lawful mandate etc.

Except democracy - our version of it - really doesn't have much to recommend it at the moment, does it? The elected leader of the free world is a peach-faced loon with a candy-floss bouffant and a less-than-secure hold on reality. And our lot aren't much better.

And then there's Brexit. (Don't get me started!)

So it's been something of a revelation to be watching Meet the Lords (BBC Four) on a Monday evening without shouting at the television.

At times (such as when the Lords insisted on the Dubs amendment) I've even found myself gasping ever-so-quietly in admiration. And wondering how much better off we'd be if we could somehow orchestrate a rule by meritocracy, something akin to the 'Wise Men' or Witan that had a say in Anglo-Saxon England? (Just don't get me started on that awful 1066: A Year to Conquer England nonsense with Dan Snow!)

Would we be worse off? 

Perhaps. Democracy is undoubtedly a 'Good Thing'. But you can have too much of a good thing, after all. And just as Parliament has repeatedly refused all calls for a referendum on re-introducing hanging in the last fifty years (because it knows all too well what would be the outcome), perhaps the people should never have been trusted to 'decide' on whether we stayed in the EU.

But if not the people, then... who? MPs? Our 'elected' representatives? Those fine, upstanding members of the community who seem to find ways of adding all sorts of things to their already long expenses lists and talking for inordinate amounts of time in order to - get this! - prevent laws that might otherwise be passed. Here's one of the main culprits.

Well, maybe... just maybe... perhaps the House of Lords has survived this long for a very good reason?

If it didn't exist we might have to invent it. 

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