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Posts Tagged ‘Constitutional Reform’

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The “People’s Platform” will be a collaborative effort between numerous politically interested individuals. It will include essays on areas of policy that Labour could improve on to be more in tune with its members and supporters, but is independent of the Labour Party, and does not necessarily represent the Party’s views. It will also include input from supporters of other political Parties, with ideas on how Labour could appeal to a broader base. These will also examine Labours past achievements, like the NHS, and attempt to present a vision for the future. The finished collection of work by Labour supporters will be submitted to the “Refounding Labour” initiative.

If you are interested in writing for this project, as a number of people have suggested they are, please email me a suggested title or theme to: Harry.Langford [at] btinternet.com.

Ideally, the proposals will be somewhere between 500-1500 words long, although both longer and shorter pieces will be warmly welcomed. They could be on Labours history, particularly the legacy of the last Labour Government, and how these achievements could be built on.

The idea of this collaboration is not to push one ideological view. It will incorporate many different ideological perspectives, from across the Labour family.

Some topics that have already been suggested include:

Constitutional Reform

The Economy

Business

Defence

The Link with the Unions.

Clause 4

The Middle East.

The NHS

Any and all other topics will be included in this work.

If you have a more specific idea of what you would like to write, please leave a comment below so that others can see it!

The deadline date for submissions is Wednesday the 29th of June, with publication set for the 1st of July.

If you are interested in this idea, I would appreciate if you would tweet the link to spread the word about our project!

Many Thanks,

Harry.

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The House of Lords should remain unelected for one reason – To preserve the balance of power in the Houses of Parliament.

The elected Commons is the primary chamber in our bicameral system for carrying out the business of Government, as chose directly by the electors of the United Kingdom. The House of Lords stands as a revising chamber, with limited powers to reject or rewrite legislation which has been voted through the Commons. The Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949 place the primacy of the Commons on a statutory footing. These allow the Commons to force legislation onto the statute books. Controversial legislation, such as the Hunting Act 2004 which banned fox hunting, and the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 which equalised the age of consent were both passed using the Parliament Acts.   Electing the House of Lords would give that House its own mandate to amend and promote legislation. Assuming that the House was elected on a system of Proportional Representation, it could lead to legislative deadlock with neither House being able to successfully pass Legislation. Indeed, such a House could become dangerously assertive.

If replaced with an elected Senate, the upper house would be filled with people with very different qualities. As things stand, the Lords contains experts on a great many subjects, which lead to measured debate. The story that some Lords do not vote even when on the Parliamentary Estate, becuase they have not heard the facts of the debate springs to mind. Replacing these members, with career politicians, would cause the House to be controlled by the Whips office. Former Chiefs of the Defence Staff, Cabinet Secretaries,  academics and politicians sit in the Lords. This talent would be lost to history.

Measures have been taken in the past to successfully reform the House of Lords. The Life Peerages Act 1958 created Peers who were appointed on merit, rather than birthright. The Lords should return to this system, and choose members based truly on merit, instead of installing failed politicians.

The House of Lords has now grown to a record size of 789 members. Parties of all sides, when in Government, have been filling the Lords with members to help them in passing legislation through Parliament. This should be prevented. A fixed number of members, of around 400 should be set, with a new member only being allowed entry upon the retirement of another. Indeed, a process of retirement should be made possible.

After the House of Lords Act 1999, the House still contains 92 hereditary peers. These Peers  should have their membership of the House of Lords removed forthwith.  The fact that people who, by virtue of birth, can have a significant and substantial role in the constitution is an abomination. In addition, the very notion of retaining religious members of the House is completely alien to the notion of separation between Religion and the State.

The current House of Lords is not one that you would choose if you were starting from scratch. Personally, I would support a system almost identical to that found in the United States of America if that were an available option. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Update: The draft bill is available here

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