I seem to have a huge and growing blogging back log building up. This includes various things that need writing up from the Social Liberal Forum conference which was exactly a fortnight ago. Hopefully it won’t take me another fortnight to get through them.
One of them was to write about the “grassroots Liberal Democrat campaign, backing Nick Clegg’s plans for elections to the House of Lords”.
But it is mainly because the campaign is one that should be supported by anyone who wants to call themselves a liberal and a democrat with any credibility.
A survey carried out by The Times reported that 80% of current peers oppose moving to an elected second chamber. It is frustrating, but not that surprising, that the conservative establishment in the Tory and Labour parties want to keep things as they are. Turkeys and Christmas and all that.
But the truly shocking thing was that the survey found that 46% of Liberal Democrat members of the House of Lords opposed an elected second chamber. That’s not just irritating – it makes me bloody furious.
OK I could live with a few mavericks on our benches. Indeed you’d expect that amongst a group of Liberal Democrat Lords and Baronesses! But a figure of just under half is appalling. Let us remember that these are people who sit in the legislature of the United Kingdom purely out of the patronage of the political party to which they and I belong. A political party whose leader is they key figure behind the current reform proposals. A political party whose manifestos have included a commitment to reform of the second chamber since it was founded. A political party that…well you get the point. If they act to frustrate reform they will be acting in defiance of the party through which they got to sit in the House of Lords in the first place. I hope that most of them will come to their senses when the voting on the legislation starts.
But because of the level of resistance to this long overdue reform (although ‘long overdue’ seems to be something of an understatement) it is really important that the party as a whole demonstrates that it is 100% behind the plans proposed by Nick Clegg. Which is why you too should sign up to the Liberal Democrats for Lords Reform campaign.
This content was originally posted on my old Strange Thoughts blog.