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Monday, 16 May 2011

Lord Hanningfield: the case for smaller government

There are,it seems, 800 members of the House of Lords, none of them elected. It's a good job they don't all turn up at once. It would make the Club terribly overcrowded.

It is a Club, no more than a Club, a home for has-beens and dodgy-dealers. (Don't give me that stuff about The Great and the Good: they are in a tiny minority).

One of our Peers of the Realm, Lord Hanningfield, is up before the beak right now. Fiddling his expenses. I feel sorry for him. There but for fortune (or, in the case of Baroness Uddin, the Director of Public Prosecutions) could go many of his lordly chums. How many do you suppose are honest? The majority? I doubt it.

It does rather prove the case that British voters are not ready for democracy that they have never insisted upon an elected Parliament, clearly being quite ready to settle for one House elected and one not.

In retrospect, Tony Blair appears to have been an awful Radical in kicking the hereditaries out of the House of Lords and that must be one of the reasons why William and Kate didn't invite him to their wedding. They aren't on the side of democracy either, which is why they are so wildly popular.

So it's another Lost Cause to suggest that the best thing to do with the House of Lords is abolish it altogether. The only way I can make this idea remotely attractive is to suggest that the Taxpayers' Alliance might favour it in pursuit of the ideal of smaller, balanced-books, government. Lord Hanningfield has cost us a lot of money already and will cost us even more if he goes to jail. Close down the House of Lords, remove temptation, save money, annoy Lord Prescott.

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