Seasoned Westminster observers have long advised that when it comes to reforming the House of Lords the least bad option is to ‘leave well alone.’ But if ever the case for root and branch reform needed publicity, then the headlines about the proposed packing of the upper chamber with hundreds of new appointees perfectly illustrates how the existing system can be abused by government.As I've noted previously, this is a truly audacious move. Sean Gabb would be proud, except that we have reason to doubt that Cameron's endgame is noble.
The Times reports that the Con-Lib coalition is preparing to create over a hundred new peerages in order to steamroller legislation through the House of Lords. The excuse for this blatant form of vote-rigging is that there are now too many Labour peers in the revising chamber and that, therefore, a mass-ennoblement programme will ensure the upper house more closely replicates the balance of forces in the lower house.
I don’t remember the Conservatives finding it offensive that democratically elected Labour administrations had to contend with what used to be the massive inbuilt Tory majority in the house of peers. Yet, somehow, and often with much tribulation, Labour managed to govern. What is so special about the Con-Lib administration that the hurdles in the way of its legislative programme must be swept away in this cavalier fashion?
New Labour showed us how quickly a determined government can take this country down the road to ruin. George Osborne's capitulation to the EU on the issue of Alternative Investment Funds suggests one treacherous path our bold New Government may take us hurtling down.