27 October 2015

The House Of Lords Is Only ‘The Unelected Chamber’ When It Affects Them

Last night eleven millionaires turned up to the House of Lords in order to vote in favour of tax credit cuts. They included notable personalities Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Karren Brady. To many, this seemed like an incredible act of selfishness on their behalf and suggests that they simply have no compassion for the poor. Fortunately, the House of Lords voted in favour of rejecting the bill and allowed Britain’s poorest families to continue surviving. George Osborne will now have to rejig his economic plan in order to get it successfully through the House of Lords.

However, there is a bigger point that we must discuss. The House of Lords is an unelected chamber. The peers are chosen or, at times, they earn the titles through birth. For years, many Labour MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn, have fought for the House of Lords to be reformed and that it be made into an elected democratic senate. This would ultimately lead to a fairer society and a more powerful democracy. The Conservatives however, have always maintained the stance that the House of Lords doesn't need reform. Well, why would Tory MPs want to dismiss their unelected friends or even risk the chance of becoming a member of the other chamber. 

But, after the Lords voted to rejected the government’s tax credit bill, every Conservative politician jumped ship and started complaining about the lack of democracy in the House of Lords. Apparently, having an unelected chamber no longer holds credibility in a democracy with an elected government that over half of the country didn't vote for. It’s funny that when it doesn't work for them, they instantly attack it. But, when an honest MP wants to pass an honest bill to simply make society fairer, the Conservatives are more than happy to let an unelected house vote on the bill.

The Conservative government will do all it can do to look good on paper. As long as unemployment is low (with thousands in insecure employment), child poverty is low (with almost a million people using food banks) and the welfare bill is downsized (with thousands, if not millions losing £1,300 p/a), then it simply doesn't matter if the odd person loses their house or starves to death because they can no longer afford to live in Cameron’s Britain. All that matters to this government is making it look like they've done a good job on paper, in the history books and on their resumes.

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