There is a well-researched piece in The Sunday Times today revealing the bizarre absurdity of Britain still having hereditary peers in our Upper House of Government. But in truth this anachronism is wholly consistent with the void of democracy inculcated in our benighted state. The reality is that patronage has placed some very odd people in the House of Lords , it’s not just hereditary.
Passing over the indefensible anachronism of a hereditary Head of State (some otherwise sane countries do the same) the real iniquity is that one of our houses of government is unelected and the other is chosen by an indefensibly undemocratic electoral system .
The home of Democracy (sic) is riddled with unfairness, privilege and corruption. It’s like a Savoy Opera though with an establishment cast of characters even WS Gilbert would have rejected as too far-fetched.
If we need an upper chamber then it would hardly be a revolutionary act to decide to elect it. And to ensure that there was a better correlation between the votes a political party receives and the number of seats in the Commons it gets is not exactly a treasonous idea either.
If there is such a thing as “British Values” then “Silliness” is one of them. Look at a photograph of the unelected Lords in their pantomime robes and it beats Monty Python in its silliness. The farcical costume drama just makes us look like idiots. But the iniquitous electoral system runs the risk of a descent into dictatorship and at the moment we are some way down that slippery slope.
We lack checks and balances and one that we do have, the power of revision of the upper house, is sullied by the fact that those exercising that power are in place wholly undemocratically. And the House of Commons, by virtue of First Past The Post, bars the fair representation of political ideas that deviate from established norms. A Conservative vote in Islington, a Labour vote in Surrey and a Green vote almost anywhere is a wasted vote.
Constitutional reform is long overdue but wiil it happen when there are so many vested interests in the way ? Don’t hold your breath.