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Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Democracy breaks out amongst the old fogeys

Actually, that heading is remarkably unfair, after all the Presiding Officer sits in the House of Lords and they do carry out an invaluable job in holding the Government to account. As his staff are bound to draw this posting to his attention I should make it clear that I do not class him as an old fogey. The Government's abandonment of their proposed democratisation and reform of the House of Lords has come back to haunt them The upper house voted last night to reject the proposals in the Queen's speech to get rid of the remaining hereditary peers. I have no love for the hereditary peers or the principle of inherited titles. The one exception is Conrad Russell, a Liberal Democrat peer and direct relation of Bertrand Russell. I make no exception for the Queen who should have announced her own abolition in the Queen's speech as far as I am concerned. Maybe now the Government will think again about their plans and actually try once more for an elected upper house. Perhaps they should also consider an elected Head of State.

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