Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Archive for the tag “House of Lords”

Jo Cox: Others can speak of her far better

I did not know Jo Cox, the MP murdered whilst doing constituency duties. I am not a fan of party politicians but I have to lift my cynicism when talking of the constituency work which the vast majority of MPs do diligently even if they find it difficult dealing with someone who is not a supporter.

I listened to the House of Commons tributes and without exception found them moving, relevant and appropriate without political grandstanding. I was fortunate that after the Commons tributes, the BBC played recorded coverage of the Lords tributes.

One contribution seemed to stand out and because Parliamentary Copyright encourages us to make use of parliamentary material, I can republish the tribute so that a few more people can stumble across it, appreciate it and ponder its message.

It was said that Jo Cox “would want us to be talking about the policies as much as the personality.” This tribute did just that.
Read more…

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Finagling

verb (used with object), finagled, finagling.
1.
to trick, swindle, or cheat (a person) (often followed by out of):
He finagled the backers out of a fortune.
2.
to get or achieve (something) by guile, trickery, or manipulation:
to finagle an assignment to the Membership Committee.
dictionary.com | fenagling

So who is finagling and who is being finagled? Read more…

Tax Credits

The Government seemed to be hell-bent on two objectives:

  1. Imposing severe income cuts on those least able to accommodate such cuts
  2. A truly ghastly political car-crash

Then they seek to create a “constitutional crisis” that can only be resolved by flooding the House of Lords with Conservative Peers to push through “Gideon’s grab”.

And yet it could have been so different. Read more…

What does a Lord do when they disagree with their party’s membership?

Today (20 October 2015) we have seen a Labour Peer “resign the Labour whip” – but not apparently resign from the party. This strikes me as strange because from the noise that Lord Warner is making this morning his gripe is not with his fellow Labour Peers, but with the Labour membership and their choice of leader.

He quotes Dennis Healey:

“There are are far too many people who want to luxuriate complacently in the moral righteousness of opposition – we are not just a debating society.

“We are not just a Sunday socialist school. We are a great movement that wants to help real people living on this earth at the present time. We shall never be able to help them unless we get power.”
Guardian website, 20 October 2015 : Lord Warner resigns Labour whip, saying party is ‘no longer credible’

This may be true in the old two-party politics of “turn and turn about”, but Read more…

A Programme for the Majority?

Just imagine the following programme for government:

  • Reform
    • A shake up of Westminster
    • Abolition of the House of Lords
    • A fair voting system
  • Public Services
    • No tuition fees
    • Educational Maintenance Allowance including part-time college students
    • The NHS in public hands, halting the tide of NHS privatisation
    • Abolition of prescription charges
    • Explicit protection for the NHS on the face of the TTIP agreement
  • Fairness
    • Pensions that protect our older people.
    • A decent welfare system that helps people into work
    • Eradication of working practices that have no place in a decent, modern economy
    • a Living Wage nation
    • Strengthening of the law against domestic abuse – speed up the court process, give more support to victims, and expand schemes to help offenders change their behaviour
    • Gender Equality: Removal of Systemic and institutional barriers – the pay gap, occupational segregation, a lack of affordable childcare and, sometimes, just outdated attitudes
  • Other
    • No new generation of Trident nuclear weapons
    • Deficit reduction but not slash and burn austerity
    • Stay in Europe

If we could break the internal coalitions in the old elitist parties, could we envisage a parliamentary coalition to support this programme? Read more…

Anachronisms – windmills for political bigots

something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological time, especially a thing or person that belongs to an earlier time
Dictionary.com : Anachronism

If you hear a politician saying “it’s anachronism – it should be abolished”, beware the political zealot. Read more…

Buying your Lords Seat

The appointment of new Lords today has provoked significant criticism (see for instance, Electoral Reform Society, BBC Have Your Say). Much of the criticism has focused on the appointment of superannuated party hacks and party donors.

Whilst totally agreeing that we should not see party hacks (as in failed or frustrated politicians or party apparatchiks) being appointed to the House of Lords, I think we need to be a bit more nuanced about donors.

Read more…

Bishops and Establishment

The established church has reserved seats in our legislature and the Church of England currently reserves these places for men.

Some churches claim that episcopal authority can only come through men (because the apostles were men).  Such churches also take a literal even fundamental view of the Bible – but they are not a part of our legislature.

The Church of England seems to be spending all its time trying to maintain internal unity – an unfitting way for the established church to behave.  Yet the “unity”  seems to be increasingly fake.

Read more…

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