Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Greens Lord It

The fact that the second half of Parliament, the Lords, is entirely unelected but is a house of patronage and cronies embedded within the political class is a complete travesty of democracy. There was a time in the last twenty years that it looked like the people might get some say over who sits in the second house but Labour botched it.

The Lords has tended to act as a legislative brake in favour of the status quo. This meant that during the Blair years the Lords gained a bit of reputation for being rather useful as they held back some of the more authoritarian pieces of Labour's legislation.

Sadly the same compulsion that meant proper scrutiny was given to some moves it also acted as a brake on banning fox hunting, equalising the age of consent and other progressive measures.

Historically the Lords have regularly prevented moves to democratise the country and you'd have to really use your imagination hard to see them voting to abolish themselves in favour of a democratically elected second chamber.

It's not beyond the bounds of possibility though that the Greens are offered a seat(s) in the Lords and, in a break with tradition, we allow members to nominate candidates and then ballot to select who we'd send if given the opportunity. Just as with accepting honours there are good arguments for refusing a place but personally I want as many Lords as possible voting for a democratically elected second chamber.

So it's interesting to see the people who have put themselves forwards for selection to the house to do just that, vote it out of existence. They are, in alphabetically order, David Aherne, Sharar Ali, Nic Best, Hazel Dawe, Emma Dixon, Alan Francis, Jessica Goldfinch, James Humphries, Stuart Jeffrey, Rebecca Johnson, Jenny Jones, Jim Kitchen, Steven Plowden, Rupert Read, Larry Sanders, Tony Slade, John Whitelegg.

There are some names there I don't know but I'm sure Jenny Jones will poll well as will Emma Dixon and John Whitelegg. I've yet to peruse the statements properly but I know that I'll be giving Stuart Jeffrey one of my top slots and people keep saying nice things about Rebecca Johnson and Jessica Goldfinch so they'll probably get a boost on my paper through those recommendations.

I do need to make sure though that anyone I select is completely committed to abolishing the Lords as it would be embarrassing to vote for someone and then find out they have a fetish for ermine.

nb in typical fashion a candidate's statement was left out of the booklet! If you're interested check out Jessica Goldfinch's website.


Matt Sellwood said...

I also recommend that people take a good look at Larry Sanders' candidacy - I can attest to his ability, determination and long experience.

Also, though this certainly wouldn't be the main reason for supporting him, his brother is US Senator Bernie Sanders and that would pique some media interest! :)

Jim Jepps said...

Bernie Sanders brother? Oh my God! He must be elected immediately

Rupert said...

Yeah, I both Bernie and Larry are great blokes and great politicians!

I for one am completely committed to the abolition of the House of Lords. I think I might be the only person apart from Stuart J. who explicitly highlighted it on their statement?:

Jessica Goldfinch said...

Thanks Jim,
was going to ask permission to be linked to today, so double thanks.

Re: Larry Sanders, we met in the cafe prior to interview and he asked for directions. When we saw each other in the interview 'holding' room it was funny and we joked that I could have sent him the wrong way!

He caught my attention immediately and that shows something about 'people skills'; crucial in my mind.

A gentleman and a scholar.

The other person I didn't know and met that day was Stuart Jeffrey. Again, for someone I'd not heard of or met before he struck me as calm, measured and knowledgeable in non-overbearing way.

Amongst them, Rupert R and Alan F; I felt in good company that day and I won't forget it.

Rupert said...

Thanks Jess.
Yes, it was great seeing you and Larry at HQ that day.

Douglas Coker said...

Jim, Jessica's statement is in my copy of the booklet!


Jim Jepps said...

Good to know douglas - thank you! Hopefully the problem is not well spread