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The House of Lords: The biggest quango of them all Watch

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    (Original post by lesbionic)
    ..

    And another point - you mentioned our executive possessing too much power? How so? Isn't that the point of the executive? What alternative would you have? Admittedly, I would like to see the Speaker of the Commons as the Head of State, replacing the Monarch. This would guarantee an elected and rotating Head of State.
    I agree with you on the speaker but the executive is too powerful. It is capable of passing bill far too rapidly and with very little scrutnany and forethought and this makes for bad legislation. The commons standing committee system is no check on the government due to their composition and the chamber itself tends to have very little effect. A good example of this would be a few of the bills going through now such as the 'education bill' and the 'electoral reform' bill. The only effective opposition to either of these bills was the Lords.
    What exactly is your problem with the executive, and the Commons being supreme? As I wrote in my first entry in this thread, the Lords have no realistic check on power anymore. That power got watered down a very long time ago, so that by 1949 the time in which a rejected bill could be automatically handed for Royal Assent without the Lord's approval was only two sessions. If the Commons want a bill to be passed that they know will attract the suspicion of the unrepresentative and conservative Upper Chamber, with sufficient rejection, that bill can progress for Royal Assent, which by convention will be approved by the Monarch.
    They have a very realistic ability to check the government through the power of delay-which is far more powerful than you'd credit considering a session lasts a year-and the ability to offer amendment to a bill which can frequently alter its nature. These are significant checks on the excutive and, indeed, I would stengthen them.
    The only real admiration the Lords garners today is that its style of writing legislation is very good; it has been noted the legislation the Commons sometimes drafts is a bit 'dotty' and 'messy' compared to that of the Lords; let's keep them in a capacity of reviewing legislation and continue their Lords Select Committee work. But let their power end there. I believe we need a new House of Lords Act - an abolition Act that will let us start from scratch with this problematic, expensive, messy and swollen Chamber.
    Or the praise it gets from scholars like, just as a quick thought, King, Mezey, Cowley, Stuart, Norton and Crewe (Before he passed away...)
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    (Original post by Teaddict)
    In respect to the quoted extract of your comments above, I think you are absolutely right about the Prime Minister. I believe his powers should be removed in regards to the appointment of peers. I believe that we should have a Royal Appointments Commission; headed by Her Majesty The Queen, to appoint individuals to the upper house who have shown incredible skill and knowledge in their field. So we would have a chamber filled with expertise from doctors, surgeons, barristers, judges, lecturers, researchers, bankers, businessmen etc
    Can't agree with you here (Though I agree about the Appointments Commission and removing the PM from the process). The appointments commission already exists and we could simply expands its role from appointing those party leaders nominate and refilling the cross-bench ranks to appointing all life peers.

    The Queen has no place whatsoever in the process. Why should she be on the commission or have any role? She has no expertise in the process and there is no reason to put her on the committee above any other lay man or lay woman (Unless, of course, birth is some magical qualification which gives you special powers of chosing good peers).
    Like you, I have absolutely no opposition to the hereditary peers and I have no opposition for the Church to have representation. I would go one step further and would want to give the Judges of the Supreme Court full legislative rights in the Upper House. Obviously renaming the Supreme Court as well...
    I'd give the judges a role in the Lords (as non-voting peers) and keep the Lords Spiritual but even up there numbers with senior members of other relgions on the basis of how many in the population follow their church.

    The heridtaries have no place whatsoever-they have no specific ability or expertise (again, other than their birth) and thus have no place whatsoever.
    Seriously? Who thought that calling it the Supreme Court was a good name -_- I quite liked the name [B]Appellate Committee [of the House of Lords]...
    Rubbish name that and I'd keep the court itself seperate-seperation of powers and all that.

    The Lords need a hell of a lot of reform to make it an even more effective chamber but it does do a decent job ATM...
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    (Original post by gladders)
    In response to the remark that the Lords is pointless as it can't halt legislation but only delay - duh. That is how most second chambers are supposed to operate.
    I didn't say that. I said something completely different. The Lords has the power to reject, but because of the 1911 and 1949 Parliament Acts, with enough rejections in the space of a certain amount of Parliamentary sessions, the bill can automatically go up for assent to the Monarch, without the Lords; assent.

    That puts the Lords in quite a weak position; that power is not a 'delaying' power.
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    (Original post by lesbionic)
    I didn't say that. I said something completely different. The Lords has the power to reject, but because of the 1911 and 1949 Parliament Acts, with enough rejections in the space of a certain amount of Parliamentary sessions, the bill can automatically go up for assent to the Monarch, without the Lords; assent.

    That puts the Lords in quite a weak position; that power is not a 'delaying' power.
    It sure is; the Lords can only be bypassed if the Commons passes the same law, without substantive amendment, in two consecutive sessions.

    Such a move is sufficient to warrant a rethink by the government, as among the public at large, to resort to the Parliament Act normally draws heightened public and press attention to the legislation in question, and the government has to try a lot harder to justify it - as the Lords is very often in the right.

    There's a reason why the Parliament Act has only been used about fourteen times in a hundred years - it's an option, but a nuclear option, and very much a double-edged sword for the government.
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    (Original post by gladders)
    No need to elect the Lords, otherwise it becomes an elected echo chamber - far more of a quango than the present House.

    Simply create a statutory appointments commission which has sole control over appointments, and is made accountable to both Houses.

    In response to the remark that the Lords is pointless as it can't halt legislation but only delay - duh. That is how most second chambers are supposed to operate.
    Not really. The powers of second chambers differ from country to country. I think the major issue is how the second chamber is appointed. Having a check on legislation makes perfect sense IMO.

    Besides, not all laws are introduced in the Commons. Even under the current rules/procedures, a bill introduced in the Lords is not subject to the Parliament Acts. As things stand now, Cameron/Clegg and co. can use this to their advantage should needs be.
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    (Original post by rajandkwameali)
    Not really. The powers of second chambers differ from country to country. I think the major issue is how the second chamber is appointed. Having a check on legislation makes perfect sense IMO.

    Besides, not all laws are introduced in the Commons. Even under the current rules/procedures, a bill introduced in the Lords is not subject to the Parliament Acts. As things stand now, Cameron/Clegg and co. can use this to their advantage should needs be.
    The major issue is first of all to agree on what we want the second chamber to do. Method of appointment depends on how best to achieve that end. Otherwise it might not do what you want it to do.

    And yes, the powers differ from country to country, but on the whole, with some exceptions, they do not have much more than delaying powers.

    I know that Bills introduced in the Lords can be vetoed by the lords - I'm not sure how the government can use this to their advantage. The previous government, indeed all previous governments, have done this from time to time when they consider the lords' input first to be most beneficial, for example with complex and legally intricate legislation. The government run the risk in this case of having the law vetoed from the start.
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    (Original post by WharfedaleTiger)
    The appointments commission already exists and we could simply expands its role from appointing those party leaders nominate and refilling the cross-bench ranks to appointing all life peers.
    I know one exists, but it will require reform to cater for the new powers it will be given. Plus I enjoy putting the word "Royal" in names. Rather than appointments commission, you have Royal Appointments Commission <- So much better.

    The Queen has no place whatsoever in the process. Why should she be on the commission or have any role?
    She won't be. It's merely in keeping with other parliamentary traditions - i.e. wording rather than actually happening.

    I'd give the judges a role in the Lords (as non-voting peers) and keep the Lords Spiritual but even up there numbers with senior members of other relgions on the basis of how many in the population follow their church.
    I believe the Law Lords should have full voting rights especially over criminal legislation. Why deny them a vote when they are quite clearly an excellent source of expertise when it comes to criminal matters?

    And a big no to your religion comment.

    The heridtaries have no place whatsoever-they have no specific ability or expertise (again, other than their birth) and thus have no place whatsoever.
    One could say it is the case that when one is going to inherit a position of power by birth right they are prepared for it more so than others.

    Rubbish name that
    What's rubbish? The old name or the new one? I think the new one sucks.

    The Lords need a hell of a lot of reform to make it an even more effective chamber but it does do a decent job ATM
    Yes - partial restoration of it's powers should go along way into helping it.
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    I actually think expanding the Lords' powers would in fact hinder it.

    Consider. It has the power of delay without necessarily killing legislation. This means that its powers are more constructive. A delaying veto by the laws is more of a red alert signal for the rest of the political nation that something is Not Quite Right. It is up to the Commons, as the chamber of the people, to have the final say, but hopefully they will be a bit more wise to shortfalls in policy, given the lords' expert input.

    Giving it, for example, full veto powers will, I think, make it less effective. It will mean it can only reject law outright, and kills it stone dead. While the government can try again, there's no guarantee it will be able to succeed a second time, and I think it will be much more in the government's interest to frame the policy question in terms of an elected chamber against an unelected one, rather than trying to defend the legislation on its merits. The relationship will be fundamentally non-constructive.

    Electing it however would be even worse - the chances of the upper house making any positive contribution would be almost nil.
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    (Original post by gladders)
    I actually think expanding the Lords' powers would in fact hinder it.

    Consider. It has the power of delay without necessarily killing legislation. This means that its powers are more constructive. A delaying veto by the laws is more of a red alert signal for the rest of the political nation that something is Not Quite Right. It is up to the Commons, as the chamber of the people, to have the final say, but hopefully they will be a bit more wise to shortfalls in policy, given the lords' expert input.

    Giving it, for example, full veto powers will, I think, make it less effective. It will mean it can only reject law outright, and kills it stone dead. While the government can try again, there's no guarantee it will be able to succeed a second time, and I think it will be much more in the government's interest to frame the policy question in terms of an elected chamber against an unelected one, rather than trying to defend the legislation on its merits. The relationship will be fundamentally non-constructive.

    Electing it however would be even worse - the chances of the upper house making any positive contribution would be almost nil.
    It need not be complete veto powers but extending the time at which the Lord's can delay bills including financial bills.
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    Extending the delay might be worth considering...although I'm less sure of financial bills.

    I must say so far I'm impressed by the number of people willing to jump to the Lords' defence...most people tend not to look beyond whether it's elected or not
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    (Original post by Teaddict)
    I know one exists, but it will require reform to cater for the new powers it will be given. Plus I enjoy putting the word "Royal" in names. Rather than appointments commission, you have Royal Appointments Commission <- So much better.
    Personally I don't feel having a set of outmoded traditions included in a name makes them superior-but then again I've always quite liked the title 'Lord' so who knows...

    She won't be. It's merely in keeping with other parliamentary traditions - i.e. wording rather than actually happening.
    So why bother? To make it sound better?

    I believe the Law Lords should have full voting rights especially over criminal legislation. Why deny them a vote when they are quite clearly an excellent source of expertise when it comes to criminal matters?
    The issue is with judges making the law which they come to enact and interprate-I'm sure you can see the conflict of interest. I'd allow them to comment but not to vote on the laws themselves-it erodes seperation of powers far too much.
    And a big no to your religion comment.
    Why not? We're a nation of many religions so they should all be represented-including the humanists etc.

    One could say it is the case that when one is going to inherit a position of power by birth right they are prepared for it more so than others.
    But it is still due to an accident of birth rather than any talent or particular acculim. One could say that this privilaged position detaches them from the people at large and means that they are totally unable to relate to real life.


    What's rubbish? The old name or the new one? I think the new one sucks.
    I like the new one... Its very regal (I know that sounds add) as compared to the old unweildy handle.

    Yes - partial restoration of it's powers should go along way into helping it.
    as I say I'd revert to the terms of the pre-1949 act but only if its legitimacy is increased by having an elected element.
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    (Original post by WharfedaleTiger)
    So why bother? To make it sound better?
    To keep with tradition. The Queen does everything!
    But in practicality, she doesn't.

    The issue is with judges making the law which they come to enact and interprate-I'm sure you can see the conflict of interest. I'd allow them to comment but not to vote on the laws themselves-it erodes seperation of powers far too much.
    How so? A great amount of our criminal legislation was created by the Judiciary. Even if they were given the powers to "create law" during a case, I personally don't have an issue with the Judiciary making law.

    Why not? We're a nation of many religions so they should all be represented-including the humanists etc.
    No

    But it is still due to an accident of birth rather than any talent or particular acculim. One could say that this privilaged position detaches them from the people at large and means that they are totally unable to relate to real life.
    Again, unlike you, I have no issue with the hereditary principle.

    as I say I'd revert to the terms of the pre-1949 act but only if its legitimacy is increased by having an elected element
    Revert to pre-1949 but no elections!
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    There's more than one type of legitimacy. Election would be a form of input legitimacy. But its output legitimacy depends on a lot of other factors.

    But output legitimacy is what we should be concerned with primarily. And the Lords has a heck of a lot of output legitimacy.

    I doubt very much an input-legitimate second chamber would be very output-legitimate.
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    (Original post by Teaddict)
    To keep with tradition. The Queen does everything!
    But in practicality, she doesn't.
    Indeed, but if a tradition has no value then why keep it up?
    How so? A great amount of our criminal legislation was created by the Judiciary. Even if they were given the powers to "create law" during a case, I personally don't have an issue with the Judiciary making law.
    Thats the difference between common and statutory law-one is 'made' by judges and precident and another by the legislature. IMO they should remain seperate...

    No
    I know you can do better than that-why not?

    Again, unlike you, I have no issue with the hereditary principle.
    Do you really believe that somebodies birth makes them naturally better at a role? If not then why support the principle?
    Revert to pre-1949 but no elections!
    And thus very little legitimacy...
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    Plenty of legitimacy if it continues to do its present job well!
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    (Original post by WharfedaleTiger)
    Indeed, but if a tradition has no value then why keep it up?
    Tradition has value in itself.

    Thats the difference between common and statutory law-one is 'made' by judges and precident and another by the legislature. IMO they should remain seperate...
    I don't see why the most senior judges in the land shouldn't have influence over criminal legislation.

    I know you can do better than that-why not?
    I want the preservation of the senior bishops for reasons of tradition and because the Church of England is the established Church of this country. It is on that basis that I believe the senior bishops should remain. As it is the established Church, it has representation.

    Do you really believe that somebodies birth makes them naturally better at a role? If not then why support the principle?
    Let's look at it this way - if one is to inherit a role through birthright, one if prepared for such a role. That preparation makes them suitable for said role. But as I say, as a matter of principle, I have no opposition to the hereditary principle.

    And thus very little legitimacy...
    One need not be elected to hold legitimacy.
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    (Original post by Lemons)
    It's also not true that having an elected second house would lead to identical results. The second house could be elected at a different time to the first. Meaning that together the two houses would better reflect how the public wish to be represented, and could act as an important check on the government stopping them from doing whatever they please (as is currently, or at least was before the coalition, the case).
    Our members of the House of Representatives are elected every two years and Senators every six. I think it helps in some ways, because the Congressmen/women have to constantly consider what their constituents want, but it may also lead them to not focus enough on policy making.
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    (Original post by baseballfan2010)
    Our members of the House of Representatives are elected every two years and Senators every six. I think it helps in some ways, because the Congressmen/women have to constantly consider what their constituents want, but it may also lead them to not focus enough on policy making.
    I thought that happened in the US, but I wasn't sure so didn't want to say it. I think that's the best way really - the Senators can (in theory) make sure that nothing with crazy consequences in the long run gets turned into law, and the Congressmen can stop bad laws which the Senators don't mind because no one will remember about them when it comes to election time. I guess it means that nothing can get done when the House of representatives is full of Republicans and the Senate is full of Democrats though (or vice versa), but I think that would be less of an issue in the UK purely because our major parties are all fairly central anyway, whereas in the US there's a massive difference between them.
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    (Original post by Teaddict)
    Tradition has value in itself.
    True, useful tradition does but the monarchy (and it being used in this way) doesn't and if tradition merely causes waste or is inconsistant with basic principle then it should be got rid of. For example, as a sports fan I hark back to the days when shirts had no sponsors and cricketers didn't wear parjarmas for one day games. However neither of these traditions, which I love, had any utility and thus they where got rid of. In contrast the tradition of the barbarians wears their club socks in games doesn't harm anyone and possibly has some utility and thus its maintained-quite rightly.

    In this case putting the Queen on the committee not only has no utility but also harms the validity of the committee.


    I don't see why the most senior judges in the land shouldn't have influence over criminal legislation.
    Because of the possibility of the conflict of interests. Judges are suppose to be netural and fair in the judgements they hand out and accurate to the law-this is impinged upon if they've voted for or against a particular law. As I say i'd let them speak on the law but not vote.
    I want the preservation of the senior bishops for reasons of tradition and because the Church of England is the established Church of this country. It is on that basis that I believe the senior bishops should remain. As it is the established Church, it has representation.
    I can understand that arguement (though I disagree with having an established church) but I also think that we shouldn't be privilaging one religion above all the others which have a strong following in the house. The role of the bishops is to represent their flock, which is fair enough, however other relgions also deserve representation.

    Let's look at it this way - if one is to inherit a role through birthright, one if prepared for such a role. That preparation makes them suitable for said role. But as I say, as a matter of principle, I have no opposition to the hereditary principle.
    For me that arguement doesn't hold water. Not only does it assume that oen can only do a role if educated for it but also it says that an accident of fate intrinsically palces one person above others. Thats not a perspective I can accept or agree with. Personal ability should count above a 'preparation' that cloisters one away from the real world. To me an education like the one which, for example, Michael Martin had is just as good a prepartion as the one Prince Charles has.
    One need not be elected to hold legitimacy.
    If one agrees with the notion of popular sovreignty one does. At times the utility of a peer might outweigh this (Which is why I support maintain life peers and cross-benchers) but hereditaries have no such utility.
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    (Original post by WharfedaleTiger)
    In this case putting the Queen on the committee not only has no utility but also harms the validity of the committee.
    I think you misunderstand. The Queen won't practically be on the committee. Practically, she won't have a say. Just like the Royal Assent is usually done by someone on behalf of the Queen.

    Because of the possibility of the conflict of interests. Judges are suppose to be neutral and fair in the judgements they hand out and accurate to the law-this is impinged upon if they've voted for or against a particular law. As I say i'd let them speak on the law but not vote.
    Surely debating against a law is just as bad? Shows that they have impinged upon their neutrality and fairness in handing out the law.
    I can understand that arguement (though I disagree with having an established church) but I also think that we shouldn't be privilaging one religion above all the others which have a strong following in the house. The role of the bishops is to represent their flock, which is fair enough, however other relgions also deserve representation.
    I don't see why. So long as we have an established Church, and so long as our Monarch is the head of that Church, I think it is clear that the state faith is that of the Church of England and thus receives some degree of extra representation than other religions via the House of Lords.

    For me that arguement doesn't hold water. Not only does it assume that oen can only do a role if educated for it but also it says that an accident of fate intrinsically palces one person above others.
    Not at all. It says that said individual has been prepared for said role for many years of their life. That they have been educated in how to deal with said role, it's responsibilities and requirements. It merely means that someone is better placed to take on said role.

    Why do you keep calling it an accident -_- You do realise a lot of people actually plan to have children :rolleyes:

    Thats not a perspective I can accept or agree with. Personal ability should count above a 'preparation' that cloisters one away from the real world. To me an education like the one which, for example, Michael Martin had is just as good a prepartion as the one Prince Charles has.
    It is all about personal ability - the one born into a role will have been educated in that role. I.e. their education would be done on the basis of them assuming that role, whereas others would have a more general education not based around that role.


    If one agrees with the notion of popular sovreignty one does. At times the utility of a peer might outweigh this (Which is why I support maintain life peers and cross-benchers) but hereditaries have no such utility
    As I said before, one can have the consent of the people without being elected.
 
 
 
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