Ed Miliband must read my blog

Really, he must. That’s the only conclusion I can arrive at, seeing as he’s also proposing reform of the House of Lords and the creation of a UK Senate, outside of London, to better represent the whole country.

Back in September, I noted the same, suggesting:

“Why not question the structure of Westminster while we’re at it? Replace the outdated and frankly useless House of Lords with a modern Senate, representing all of the UK’s constituent parts. Remove hereditary peers, only there because of their bloodline.

“Remove bishops from the Church of England, whose very presence is an affront to a modern state.While we’re being bold, why assume an English parliament needs to be in London? It can just as easily be created and housed in any other major English city. Why not Manchester? Leeds? Birmingham?

“For too long, the focus of successive UK governments has been on London and the South-East – and I say this as someone who has lived in London for the past 15 years. Investment in infrastructure and government focus are overwhelmingly London-centric. And there’s no doubt that this frustrates and upsets taxpayers who live elsewhere in the UK.”

Here’s the thing. If someone as uninformed as me can arrive at this kind of conclusion, is it innovative? Is it fresh? Or is it simply common sense. Am I trailblazing a new vision for how government should work?

Or am I simply pointing out what most observers have noticed by now?

The House of Lords is not representative of the UK as a whole (not even representative of England) and is an anachronism.

Come on, Labour. If you can emphasise constitutional reform, tidy up the House of Lords (i.e. replace it with a representative chamber you can’t stuff with failed politicians and criminals), commit to addressing the widening inequality in this country and stand up for what you know is right, you may get my vote next time round.

But you’d better get your act together and make a coherent case for this soon.

  1. Definitely agree that the House of Lords needs replacing and the modern Senate idea certainly carries some merit.

    My concern would always be with the people who end up sitting in it and how they are chosen. If we limit ourselves to filling it with career politicians from the major parties then we’ll be wasting an opportunity.

    I would like it to be filled with scientists, economists, doctors, teachers, historians, artists etc who have no political affiliation. That way we might have a proper safeguard against the MPs in the House of Commons continuing to do stupid, short-term populist things.

    Not sure how we would make that work but it is worth thinking about.

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    1. Yep, yep and yep. Definitely no point in creating either a ‘waiting room’ or ‘retirement home’ for aspiring/failed politicians.

      Representation from professions, regions and so on is something to aspire to. How to select members and how to ensure overall representativeness is the challenge aright.

      The Irish upper house (the Seanad) has panels, such as Universities, Industry, Agriculture and so on. Plus some nominations from the Taoiseach, which often leads to political hangers on.

      But the idea of expertise in Parliament is one I’m keen on. Not political expertise, but skills and experience in the real world.

      Let’s see what proposals actually make it out of focus groups and party workshops.

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    1. I’ve been called worse. 😉

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      1. I’m drunk, so there’s that. If sober, I could do better. Sorry, lapin.

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        1. No apology sought or required. Have one for me!

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          1. Or 3, you know, ever since I started these anti-seizure meds, I’m a lightweight. Mwh, better for saving money, suppose.

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            1. From personal experience, not a great mix. But I’m not a doctor so what do i know?!. Well, not that kind of doctor anyway. Take care.

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              1. Nah, I’m lovely. It just means for me, that I drink far less and go to bed more quickly. All in all, a better deal.

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