Over the years you’ve probably voted for UK parties that promised House of Lords reform. All that ever seems to happen is some tinkering around the edges, but the old (even decrepit) unelected chamber carries on as before.
When you see the kind of quotes below, it isn’t difficult to see why people vote for a real reform, even if they aren’t getting one.
Members of the House of Lords have lodged a series of extravagant complaints about their taxpayer-subsidised restaurants, expressing their anger about the size of menus, “chaotic” table layouts and “inferior cappuccinos”.
Peers can enjoy seared scallops, foie gras and champagne risotto at the Barry Room private restaurant, part of a group of facilities catering to them and their guests which are subsidised by the taxpayer at a cost of £1.3m a year. A full roast dinner costs £9.50. Peers also receive a £300-a-day expenses allowance for attending the House of Lords.
One impassioned Lord complained of a 15-minute wait to be seated, which they said lost “some of the finesse of the afternoon” and left their guests unable to “eat the beautiful cake selection” in time. Another member decried the “chaotic litter of small tables” in the Lords’ tea room after its rearrangement over Easter.
One peer even appealed for the return of “menus printed on light card” for guests to take home as souvenirs, while another said he had been left “scarred” after his dinner booking was cancelled suddenly. He complained that his wife was “unable to lunch elsewhere” because she was wearing a tiara. The Lord recalled: “We were only saved by the kindness of [a fellow peer] who offered us the use of his nearby home to change in and took us out to lunch.”
The problem however, is that the House of Lords does much more than that.
Recently for example, this happened…
…the Scottish Parliament was stripped of a key energy power after a House of Lords amendment was backed by Unionist MPs.
SNP Energy spokesman Mike Weir MP slammed the vote, which saw powers over renewable obligation brought back under the control of Westminster.
And you didn’t vote for that, did you?
That brings us to what does it represent? For me, it represents still the fact that some people are better than you by birth, just as the monarchy does. It represents a political system so outdated, absurd and pompous it beggars belief. Finally it represents the stalling of that system and its inability to change itself.
That said, there is one simple reform that could fix this problem. And it could fix it cleanly, cheaply and quickly.