It is June 2015. There are 786 Lords and Baronesses, appointed by government or there by birthright, who play a major role in government in the UK.
Some of them I know personally, they are Labour, hard working and I am sure would vote for the abolition of the Lords if they ever had the chance. No matter how good they are (and they are) at doing the job, this is not the way we (they) should be running the country in the 21st century. Is it?
In 1999, the Labour government reduced the number of hereditary peers entitled to sit in the Lords to 92. This was supposed to be the first stage of reform that would make the Lords democratic and accountable. It all went pear shaped after that. (And peer shaped).
Whatever the reason, whatever the difficulty, it feels like someone is taking the p*ss.
Labour had never had a majority in the House of Lords, for obvious reasons. The hundreds of hereditary peers who used to come racing up to the House of Lords from the country piles to block Labour legislations were a throwback and it was astonishing that this country tolerated it until 1999. At least that is gone.
But instead of sweeping away the whole thing, governments since those first reforms have just tried to dominate it by appointing more of their own. Labour has 212 peers, the Tories have 228, Lib Dems 101.
So now the Lib Dems have only 7.9% of the vote, they still have 12.8% of the peers. Ukip on the other hand, gained 12.6% of the popular vote but have 3 peers or 0.38%.
Most peers (surprise) are men. All the 26 bishops, of course. Disappointingly, Labour is slightly behind the Lib Dem on gender equality, giving up our hard earned place as the campaigners on this (just below one third), the Tories hardly bother with a fifth.
Before anyone starts wittering that it’s the best person for the job, just remember these people are appointed not elected. You’re saying that women are not as good if they don’t get the appointments. Go home and do some hard thinking.
Peers are appointed for life. So they cannot get kicked out. To reflect the now Tory majority, Cameron’s government will no doubt appoint another raft of Conservative blokes to increase their influence. It’s the only way to do it.
It’s not representative of the population, election results or anything except the desire of government to increase its own power.
At what point are we, the people who pay for this multi million pound house of privilege and unaccountable power, going to say ‘Enough’?