Friday, June 29, 2012
Mad Rant: A British Senate?
I could do my best to stomach all the previous wounding of the upper house but the introduction of “life peers” as the expulsion of the hereditary peers was, to me, effectively the end of the House of Lords anyway. What is being proposed now is simply the final nail in the coffin but that is one nail that is still worth opposing. Compounded stupidity is still stupidity after all. As the British parliamentary system was originally established, the House of Peers served an important and practical function. It consisted of men who had a vested interest in the long-term success of Great Britain, men who had a stake in the country and who had a lifetime of diverse, “real world” experience from which to draw on in their deliberations on the bills passed by the Commons. They were non-political and beyond the influence of the passing trends of popular opinion. They were also guardians of the most time-honored traditions of England and later the United Kingdom. Their ancestry and the hereditary nature of the house meant that they could take a broad view, unconcerned with elections and political pandering, to do what was in the best interests of the country as a whole and the British legacy. What shall replace it?
This will do Great Britain no good whatsoever. All this will do is add another layer of the same sort of confused, incompetent leadership that has made the House of Commons the center of so much derision. Which is not to say that the House of Lords was not in need of some authentic reform. It was too loosely organized, too large and made the British Parliament rather top-heavy, though -I hasten to add- this was mostly a result of the way the House of Peers was tweaked and tortured into assuring the outcome desired by the Commons. If I had my way the House would have been reformed by restoring the hereditary peers, restoring the powers of the House but cutting down on the number of those given seats which could be done by granting seats to those peers who hold the senior most title in their general area. Just an idea. Instead, since the Blair government has thrown out the baby, the Cameron government is adding more bathwater. Again, it is possible to overstate the calamity of this because so much of the damage had already been done. Many factors have certainly been at play over the years but, I cannot help but note, that when the House of Peers operated in the traditional fashion the United Kingdom was one of the most successful and dynamic countries in the world and the center of the largest maritime empire in history. Since the U.K. started down the road of a unicameral legislature, just how has Great Britain fared? Is Britain greater or poorer now and what does the answer to that say about the direction the country is going in? A simple question, posed by the simple, and damaged, mind of … The Mad Monarchist.