LORDS REFORM: The ageing polecat shows how much more House-trained he is than Nick Clegg

Lord Tebbit has become a lot more likeable, and wise, with age

It is a very odd (and completely unpatriotic) mentality that makes Nick Clegg and his Doo-Dah Band respond to electoral defeat by messing up the stuff left that they can still control. But on the NHS and Lords Reform, this is precisely what they have done. Not only that, in the case of the NHS they explicitly called it ‘an exercise in showing our supporters that we have real power’.

In today’s Telegraph blogs, one-time barely house-trained polecat and scourge of Labour Lord Tebbit has written a concise (and for Nick Clegg, devastating) critique of the undirectional drivel that is the House of Lords Reform Bill. Tebbit’s blog reads like an ageing headmaster politely explaining to a bright but destructive boy in the Lower IVth why he shouldn’t burn the school down just because he was put in detention.

Lord T lists four questions for any legislator to ask before putting pen to paper. They are are so page one for any legislator – and yet so absent from anything attempted by the Coalition – we must regrettably conclude yet again that people in senior political circles are so clever, they skip page one as being beneath them. I think Tebbit misses a fifth consideration: ‘what do we think the ramifications and negative side-effects of this legislative idea might be?’ – but in the current Peers’ context, Lord T is on the money with his opinion: I have yet to hear anyone elucidate at all what the point of Lords Reform might be. (I don’t mean I disagree with reform of the Upper Chamber – merely that I would like to know the point of this particular attempt at it).

Because we are no longer a nation wherein people think for themselves (thanks to pc education) I suspect that the Progressive Tendency – of whom Mr Clegg is an archeypal member – look at the Lords and say “It’s traditional and outdated and full of fogeys – let’s meddle with it, it’ll sound good….and earn us some younger voters”.

And that seems to be about the full extent of thought that went into it. (This, by the way, is the oldest constituted Chamber of the People in Europe or the Americas, in that technically it dates back to the Barons giving King John a slap at Runnymede in 1215.)

As a reform target, my view remains that changes to the Upper Chamber should only be attempted in the context of a package of much needed other constitutional reform: a package limiting the power of the Executive, expanding the role of MPs, offering greater power to local communities, abolishing the Whips system, and (dare I suggest) coming up with a better voting system – not simply, ‘this is the one on offer, whaddya fink?’

For me, the point of these changes would be to restrain the control freaks at the top, filter personal responsibility further down the system, and make it easier to break Party discipline. (The near impossibility of doing this last, as veteran Sloggers know all too well, I believe to be at the root of our creative sclerosis in politics.)

Under such a reform package, one would therefore want the Upper House to be a more relevant ‘check and balance’ on the Commons Executive. It doesn’t follow that they should all be elected – but it DOES in my view follow that absolutely none of them should be placed there by the vipers in the Lower House.

Nick Clegg has approached this not as a potentially enriching reform, but rather as a way to revive his deservedly flagging fortunes. He is a heartless, brainless eurocrat suit, and the sooner he inhabits only the smaller-font footnotes of history, the better we shall all be.

Another nice thing  about the Tebbit blogs, by the way, is their refreshing lack of consultancy-speak and other crypto-technical gibberish. One wonders how the polecat image ever got going, and stuck to one who can so quickly spot a dog’s dinner. The answer, I suspect, is that in the 1970s he challenged the Union Barons – which was asking for trouble. But whatever one might think of his history, I’d much rather see Nick Clegg disappear into the sunset on his bike than this gently mellowing peer.

6 thoughts on “LORDS REFORM: The ageing polecat shows how much more House-trained he is than Nick Clegg

  1. Norman Tebbit has always been a beacon of common sense. The Polecat epithet was no more than a good soundbite (and the Spitting Image caricature was no more than a good and amusing puppet representation-but very funny).

    Would that there were some of his ilk in politics today.

    The House of Lords should be left well alone (and no more appointed as reward for past favours) until there can be a full consideration of the constitution. Your proposals would make an excellent basis for a start-naturally there is little chance of any of that happening. After all, can’t have real democracy can we? the sheeple are just there to be sheered by whichever collectivist or corporatist robbers are able to do so.


  2. The Upper House should be there as a safety net to make sure the executive are not out of control. I personally did not see much wrong with the hereditary peers, not fair but not much is. It was certainly better than what we have now. However what about giving the right to appoint Lords fully to The Crown, at the end of the day I see The Lords as being The Crown’s representatives and The Commons as being the populous’. As I have said before I believe that The Commons i.e. MP’s should not be party based, these should be individuals chosen to represent a community, paid for by that community and do as instructed by that community when voting and confronting The Executive, they can be replaced at any time the community decides. The only National Election we then need is for The Executive i.e. The Cabinet Office, which should be no bigger than 20 individuals enough to run the necessary departments. This way we might have a bit more say as to what is done in our name.


  3. I think the other place should have peers who renounce party loyalties on becoming peers and act as independents with no whipping. They should swear an oath to act only in the interests of the nation as a whole. I do not object to appointments as long as they are not the remit of existing politicians. I’m sure some representative system could be put in place, but I would be more than happy for more intelligent people than me to work that out.


  4. Does the Lords need reform, certainly. Does it need abolishing, no. It should be there to act in a scrutiny capacity and force the Lower House to reconsider bad legislation. In some ways that means it has to be even more representative of the ‘people’.
    It is hardly surprising badly thought up legislation gets through though as most of our legislators probably cannot read a White Paper from start to finish.
    Having had some dealings with my local authority, that being the first rung on the Governmental ladder, I was asked to take part in a ‘Green Paper’ on economic development. I read and passed back a critique on the 150 odd page document and then had the opportunity to discuss and debate it with all elected members and lead officers of the authority. My first question was how many of the elected members had read the document and understood the ramifications of some of the proposals? Not one of them had read it and yet they were going to be asked to vote the strategy through, with an appropriate budget to the tune of millions of pounds! I was offered the explanation that they got so many documents through they tended to skim over a few pages in each. Unbelievable, but if this is representative of the way elected members deal with even important policy documents its hardly surprising we have so many daft laws and minorities are able to impose their will over the majority.


  5. A given being that 95% of politicians are congenital liars, the taking of an oath means nothing at all. I recall that on one occasion a certain politician claimed that it was all right as he had his fingers crossed behind his back.


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