'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Monday 23 May 2011

Andrea Whittam Smith appears to be confusing the present with the future...

There were many things badly thought through, totally illogical and or just down right annoying in the piece on Lords Reform that Andreas Whittam-Smith wrote in The Independent last week. Unfortunately, I don't appear to have the 4 or 5 days spare I need to write exactly what I think about each and every ludicrous point. So I'll just plump for the last one. He quotes Anthony King, Professor of Government at Essex University, in saying that

"an elected House of Lords 'would inevitably almost entirely consist of a miscellaneous assemblage of party hacks, political careerists, clapped out, retired or defeated MPs, has-beens, never were's and never-could-possibly-be's.'"

No it won't. Not if we don't let it.

To be honest, that paragraph seems to describe many people's views of the current House of Lords, rather than any sort of vision I have for an elected Upper Chamber.

I believe any sort of elected Upper House should be filled with people outside the norms of political life, bringing a fresh perspective to politics - and hopefully doing it in a very different way. And that's what will happen so long as we accept that we're campaigning not just for a new way to form the Uppper House, but a new way of reviewing The House of Commons.

If all we talk about is constitutional reform and technical detail then the wider public won't be interested - the AV referendum demonstrated the public want more than that. We have to show that the Lords will be different, will act differently, will truly be new politics.

And then there's a chance that the electorate won't just support it.

They'll demand to be a part of it.

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