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Hereditary Peers in the House of Lords Watch

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    I found a fabulous (and rare) old documentary from about ten years ago about the removal of the hereditary peers from the House of Lords through the House of Lords Act 1999, the behind-the-scenes machinations.

    It has extensive interviews with lords in the actual house, and the camera is allowed extensive access within parliament. This really is a must watch for anyone interested in British politics. It's fascinating just how diverse are some of the lords, their circumstances, the reasons their families were ennobled in the first place.

    I strongly encourage you to watch, not just comment, before it's taken down (off youtube). It's a superb insight into the British constitution (yes, I know, unwritten etc) and you will not regret it if you are a bit of a politico (skip the intro, starts at 1:05, and click the youtube button in the lower right hand corner if you want to watch in full screen)

    (And yes, pictured in the preview box is Lord Russell, 5th Earl Russell and the son of the famous philosopher Bertrand Russell, the 3rd Earl Russell of that dynasty of Liberal/Whig grandees)

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    Bump. You really won't regret it, it's a great documentary with many superb interviews and a marvellous behind-the-scenes look at the House of Lords and the old hereditaries
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    Looks good. Will watch when I can.
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    Very fascinating documentary. A lot of the hereditaries were of interesting walks of life.
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    (Original post by gladders)
    Very fascinating documentary. A lot of the hereditaries were of interesting walks of life.
    Indeed, Lord Gray runs a service station in Scotland! Glad you enjoyed it
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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    Indeed, Lord Gray runs a service station in Scotland! Glad you enjoyed it
    Not even runs it - he's a pump attendant
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    (Original post by gladders)
    Not even runs it - he's a pump attendant
    I did find it interesting because watching that documentary, and my experience with my now ex bf (whose dad is a baronet, his mum is the granddaughter of two earls and daughter of a baron) made me realise precisely why hereditary nobles really should not have seats in the Lords any more

    In the old days, the hereditary peers were the monarch's "natural counsellors", they owned all of the land in the kingdom and owning land made you an important and influential person. The means of production, if you like, was land it was controlled and owned by what I've seen referred to in an 18th century House of Lords case as a "senatorial caste". It made sense back then.

    But hereditary nobles aren't "natural counsellors" anymore, the preponderance of power and wealth is with industrialists, academics, senior civil servants, trade union bosses, bankers and former ministers and Prime Ministers.

    The whole basis of having a hereditary caste of "senators" was that their wealth and power was passed down from generation to generation, so if you were a duke and your first born son was a blithering idiot, he was still an incredibly important man. That's no longer the case, dynastic wealth doesn't count for as much these days. Each generation really makes its own important men and women. For that reason, life peerages make far more sense. I think we're now ready to let go of the remaining 92 hereditaries in the Lords
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    Thanks. Worth the time

    Kinda confirmed why they should be gone. I've no problem with an unelected second chamber, but the guy with the farm was away from reality.
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    (Original post by Quady)
    Thanks. Worth the time

    Kinda confirmed why they should be gone. I've no problem with an unelected second chamber, but the guy with the farm was away from reality.
    Yeah he was dotty, there's no reason he should be in the upper house.
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    They also seem a bit arrogant and the guy who said "i'm not a politician" answered everything we need to know, hereditary peers are not politicians and have no place in the parliament of the land.

    Edit: Oh heck I just got to the guy with the farm. :rofl: Thank goodness we kicked him out.
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    Posting so I may watch tomorrow.
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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    I did find it interesting because watching that documentary, and my experience with my now ex bf (whose dad is a baronet, his mum is the granddaughter of two earls and daughter of a baron) made me realise precisely why hereditary nobles really should not have seats in the Lords any more

    In the old days, the hereditary peers were the monarch's "natural counsellors", they owned all of the land in the kingdom and owning land made you an important and influential person. The means of production, if you like, was land it was controlled and owned by what I've seen referred to in an 18th century House of Lords case as a "senatorial caste". It made sense back then.

    But hereditary nobles aren't "natural counsellors" anymore, the preponderance of power and wealth is with industrialists, academics, senior civil servants, trade union bosses, bankers and former ministers and Prime Ministers.

    The whole basis of having a hereditary caste of "senators" was that their wealth and power was passed down from generation to generation, so if you were a duke and your first born son was a blithering idiot, he was still an incredibly important man. That's no longer the case, dynastic wealth doesn't count for as much these days. Each generation really makes its own important men and women. For that reason, life peerages make far more sense. I think we're now ready to let go of the remaining 92 hereditaries in the Lords
    What you say makes a lot of sense. I am in no hurry to remove the remaining hereditaries but if it happened I don't think there'd be much point in opposing it. I think many hereditaries accept they are on borrowed time anyhoo. As long as the House remains an appointed chamber of experts, I am content.
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    (Original post by 48:13)
    They also seem a bit arrogant and the guy who said "i'm not a politician" answered everything we need to know, hereditary peers are not politicians and have no place in the parliament of the land.

    Edit: Oh heck I just got to the guy with the farm. :rofl: Thank goodness we kicked him out.
    And why should the second chamber be politicians? We have the Commons for that.
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    Remove all the hereditary peers now, we cannot justify their presence in that chamber anymore.
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    Personally I have more of an issue with the Lords Spiritual.
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    (Original post by 48:13)
    They also seem a bit arrogant and the guy who said "i'm not a politician" answered everything we need to know, hereditary peers are not politicians and have no place in the parliament of the land.

    Edit: Oh heck I just got to the guy with the farm. :rofl: Thank goodness we kicked him out.
    I agree about the "I'm not a politician" excuse. Being a politician is not a bad thing in my eyes, though there are some of whom I don't think too highly.

    I agree regarding the gentleman on the farm, should a man that dotty really have a legislative vote in parliament for life?
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    (Original post by gladders)
    What you say makes a lot of sense. I am in no hurry to remove the remaining hereditaries but if it happened I don't think there'd be much point in opposing it. I think many hereditaries accept they are on borrowed time anyhoo. As long as the House remains an appointed chamber of experts, I am content.
    Was that last sentence a pun? (As in, the Contents and Not Contents rather than Ayes and Nos in the Lords). I do agree regarding a house of experts, an upper chamber of natural counsellors in the true sense, chosen on merit.

    Something I did find interesting (and did not entirely agree with, but nonetheless truly thought-provoking) was the peer who said England's political system was essentially a system designed for amateurs, for men who had done other things and had substance in ways other than politics. And how this would transition to professional politicians.

    Now I don't agree with that in the sense that not all MPs were men of substance in the past, many were installed because their uncle was a Duke who controlled six rotten boroughs and installed his 25 year old feckless nephew in te seat because he would vote the way he was told.

    Same again on professional politicians, has he not heard of Pitt the Younger? Or indeed Charles James Fox?
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    (Original post by Quady)
    Personally I have more of an issue with the Lords Spiritual.
    Agree entirely
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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    Was that last sentence a pun? (As in, the Contents and Not Contents rather than Ayes and Nos in the Lords). I do agree regarding a house of experts, an upper chamber of natural counsellors in the true sense, chosen on merit.

    Something I did find interesting (and did not entirely agree with, but nonetheless truly thought-provoking) was the peer who said England's political system was essentially a system designed for amateurs, for men who had done other things and had substance in ways other than politics. And how this would transition to professional politicians.

    Now I don't agree with that in the sense that not all MPs were men of substance in the past, many were installed because their uncle was a Duke who controlled six rotten boroughs and installed his 25 year old feckless nephew in te seat because he would vote the way he was told.

    Same again on professional politicians, has he not heard of Pitt the Younger? Or indeed Charles James Fox?
    Haha, a most unintentional pun but one I will happily take the credit for

    Well as for the 'inferior elected people' comment, these hereditaries were in a pretty emotional state at the time, having been not only deprived of their traditional seats but also sustaining a tirade of bitter and in most parts quite unfair criticism and hostility in the press. So it makes people make sweeping generalizations and overstate their case.
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    (Original post by 48:13)
    They also seem a bit arrogant and the guy who said "i'm not a politician" answered everything we need to know, hereditary peers are not politicians and have no place in the parliament of the land.

    Edit: Oh heck I just got to the guy with the farm. :rofl: Thank goodness we kicked him out.
    Some would say that people who aren't politicians are the people who are best suited to be involved in politics.
 
 
 
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