Saturday, March 1, 2008

"Immunity to the Fads of Society"

. Saturday, March 1, 2008

10 Downing Street, 28 February 2008.
Office of the Prime Minister: "We received a petition asking...

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to reinstate a House of Lords composed of hereditary peers."

"We believe that the purpose of the House of Lords is not only to keep a check on the elected House of Commons, but also to keep a check on the passing fads of the electorate. The only way this can be accomplished is for the House of Lords to be largely, if not entirely, made up of hereditary peers. The system of hereditary peerage allied with an elected House of Commons maintains a legitimate balance between representation of the electorate and immunity to the fads of society. A House of Lords made up of hereditary peers maintains the hope that a depraved society will not always be reflected in depraved government."

Read the Government's response here

"The Government's view is that in a modern democracy it is unacceptable that individuals should qualify for a seat in Parliament on the basis of their ancestry. The Government is committed to removing the remaining hereditary places in the House of Lords.

In July 2007, after the free votes in Parliament on the composition of the House of Lords, the Prime Minister confirmed the Government's commitment to bringing forward a comprehensive package to complete House of Lords reform. The Government will develop proposals for a substantially or wholly elected House of Lords. As part of this package, the Government is committed to removing the anomaly of the remaining hereditary peers."


Yadda, yadda, yadda. Well, Mr. Brown, it is the people's view that in a modern democracy it is unacceptable that individuals should qualify for a seat in the House of Lords on the basis of how much they donate to the Labour Party. The people are committed to removing the Government's corrupt system of cash for peerages, and one way of doing that is to completely remove any influence your cronies have over appointments to the Lords.


Sir Walter Scott said...

The trouble is they don't actually advance a reason. They deploy no logic or argument at all. The only thing behind their decision is the fact that we are in a democracy, and it is modern - as if those two facts inevitably and infallibly mean the old House of Lords is impossible. Why? They don't say. Is the reason just too obvious to state? I think if the Government actually had to, they would gain by the exercise, for it would force them to engage their brains and actually think things through. Instead it is all premise - and Marxist historical-inevitability premise at that.

I despise most particularly this twaddle about modernity. For crying out loud - anything is modern, so long as it exists in a present age. If I went outside and stapled a squirrel to a milkshake carton it would be modern. But that wouldn't make it anything else. It means almost nothing.

Lord Best said...

Well said Scott.
Too many people seem to think 'democracy' is some kind of mystical panacea that makes anything it is applied to better. Has anyone here read what happened during the French Revolution when they 'democratised' the army and let soldiers vote for officers? Not at all pretty.

David Byers said...

In Australia our Upper House, the equivalent of Britain’s House of Lords, has every state, regardless of population, send the same number of members. The idea is that the larger populated states do not dominate and forget the smaller states. I have often wondered if Britain should try having the same number of Lords from Northern Island, Scotland, Wales and England? However it is up to them and is not my realm and does not affect my realm anyway. Beaverbrook, how does it affect Canada?

J.K. Baltzersen said...

"Lord Best," indeed well said!

I would add that modern democracy has served us the most pervasive government known to our civilization – with the possible exception of certain hard totalitarian regimes that saw the light of day in the 20th century.

On a related note, OECD Secretary-General, Mr. Angel Gurria, has told us:

Excessive bank secrecy rules and a failure to exchange information on foreign tax evaders are relics of a different time and have no role to play in the relations between democratic societies.

First, Mr. Gurria reveals that he fails to recognize the difference between state and society.

Other than that, his argument seems to be that what his organization stands for is "democratic," and so that is the only argument he needs.

What does it actually mean? Well, perhaps that democratic states have the right to do whatever they please with their citizens and residents? And that other states are to show solidarity?

An important lesson of history is that democracy needs to be checked, and severely so!

The argument that "it is democratic" with no further explanation is almost like the argument that "monarchy does not belong in the 21st century" without further argument.

I challenge anyone who believes that the popular majority – or its representatives – should rule with no check to speak of to a live debate face to face! And I assure you that the argument that "democracy is democratic" will not do.

Marquis Black said...

Ah, the joys of democracy!

"Everyone is free to say what they think and vote how they wish, but that doesn't mean we're going to listen."

Democracy, as Churchill has attested to, is a deeply flawed system that, while necessary, does need to be checked from running wild.

Unfortunately, idiots like Brown and other Republicans hide themselves behind the "it's modern!" façade so much that I truly don't believe that they even known why they believe that.

After all, Republics have existed since Ancient Greece; why the hell aren't Monarchic government capable of being modern as well, then?

Krys said...

My response to the government... "Why?"

By making the Lords just a carbon copy of the Commons we are creating an inherently unbalanced system, subject to the short term knee jerk reactions of the electorate. The strength of the British system of government has always been in our balances of forces between Monarch, Lords and Commons, and this will undermine it.

This makes me deeply sad, for my heart no longer trusts that this destruction can be stopped. And worse, I believe that the people will cheer as the destruction unfolds.

The cry of modernity and democracy will drown out all those who speak of what is good for our nation and what is right.

As Marquis Black says... Democracy has been around since hte time of Ancient Greece... They found absolute democracy to be problematic too.

David Byers said...

If they feel they must elect the House of Lords, why not have only half the house go to the polls every election with the other half going the next time. In effect the Lords would sit two times longer than the Commons. Plus if there were equal numbers of Lords for each part of the UK regardless of population (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Island).

Really this is for the people of the UK and not people like me from Australia. I only suggest it as this is how our upper House is elected.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

If you ask me, the British system had come out of balance long before Tony Blair came to power.

Democracy definitely needs to be checked, but if I have to choose between absolute monarchy and absolute democracy, I will choose the former.

As the late Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn told us:

There are totalitarian and monolithic tendencies inherent in democracy that are not present even in a so-called absolute monarchy, much less so in a mixed government which, without exaggeration, can be called the great Western tradition.

Will Cubbedge said...

"The Government's view is that in a modern democracy . . . "

Does the Government not insult the U.K. by implying that it has not, heretofore, already been a "modern democracy"?


Beaverbrook said...

Apart from the Throne, there is no redeeming feature of the Canadian Senate. It is a laughably lopsided chamber in its geographic representation, reflecting the reality of 1867 before the West was settled. Now the West is home to a third of the population and 50% of the country's landmass, yet it has only about 18% of the senators. And the senators are largely absent, superannuated party hacks appointed by the prime minister. The Canadian Senate is in dire need of reform.

Pablo the Scot said...

As noted above, there is nothing modern about democracy, it is one of the oldest forms of government around. Claiming that it is in some way 'modern' merely because the PM says so is sloppy thinking in the extreme and is not, quite frankly, worthy of a scion of my Alma Mater.

It is worth noting too that the ancient democracies suffered from demagogues, people able to motivate teh common people to implement their policies by the power of their oratory and judicial bribery. Per chance that is the route we will now travel, our nation trampeled under a tidal wave of short term populist measures.

Matt said...

Forgive my ignorance, but how does the lower house have the power to define the upper house? Can't the Lords simply refuse to go along with the Commons' desires?

J.K. Baltzersen said...

Forgive my ignorance, but how does the lower house have the power to define the upper house? Can't the Lords simply refuse to go along with the Commons' desires?


The absolute veto of their Lordships was abolished in 1911, with the exception of bills to extend the "life of Parliament."

These days, the powers of their Lordships in the legislative process are only suspensive -- with a possible exception.

Some say that the Blair-Brown regime is destroying the balance. However, I'd say it was destroyed in 1911.

See Wikipedia.

Sophia said...

Although its actual context is different I cannot help but hear echoing in my head the Einstein quote The ghostlike character of this development lies in its apparently compulsory trend. Every step appears as the unavoidable consequence of the preceding one. In the end, there beckons more and more clearly general annihilation."

Splendor Sine Occasu said...

From what I gather, PM Blair wanted to model the House of Lords on the Senate of Canada, where party hacks are appointed by HM (on recommendation of the PM, of course) with no accountability.

Not a very good model to emulate.

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Prince Charming: Quebec author calls Canadian G-G a "negro queen"
The Senior Service: Sub-Lieutenant Wales to take on Pirates of the Caribbean
Crown of Disenchantment: What does it require to withhold royal assent?
Colonial Mentality: Key republican thinks Victoria Cross is a colonial relic
The Red Baron: Billy Bishop, not Mannock, was the British Empire's top ace
Which Scots conservatism: Unionist or Nationalist?
Loyal Subject: After all she has done, we owe the Queen our oath
Victoria Day – Fête de la Reine: Official B'day of the Queen of Canada
Renaming the Victoria Day Weekend: Let's get rid of Heritage Day Bob
Pro Valore: Canada mints its own Victoria Cross in time for Victoria Day
State Visit to Turkey: Mustafa Akyol says God Save the Queen, Indeed
Norn Iron Unites: What issue is uniting all parties of Northern Ireland?
Extreme Loyalist: Michael Stone attempted to slit the throats of Adams and McGuinness because he just "can't handle" republicans being in government.
Canada's Vice-Regal dubbed an elegant mix between Lady Di and Nelson Mandela
Queen of Australia: Support for Australian republic hits new low
A Heroes Welcome: The Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo, 8-10 May 2008
Fat, Vile and Impudent: Alan Fotheringham is back on the bottle
The Devine Right of Bling: Our Royals have become hereditary celebrities
Battle of the Atlantic: Canadians remember the longest battle of WW2
Old Etonian Toff: Boris Johnson installed as Tory Mayor of London
Britain needs a Patron Saint: Cry God for Harry, Britain and St. Aiden?
Anglos in Mont-Royal: Rooting for the Montreal Canadiens
Daniel Hannan: Borders of the Anglosphere and the British Empire was a mistake
Australia 2020: One Big Fat Republican Con Job
Bye bye Tommy: O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy go away"
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Carpetbaggers Down Under: Kevin 'Mugabe' Rudd wins 98.5% support for republic
Kipling: The Jeremiah of Empire and the Poet Laureate of Civilisation
Duke of Edinburgh: Behind the gaffes is a man of real sincerity
Lord Rutherford: The Father of the Atom lives on in great great grandson
Queen of Australia: Royalty Protects us from Tyranny, David Barnett
Long Live the Broadsheet! Norumbega, more traditionalist than the Pope.
A Tale of Two Countries: Soldiers of Britain and Canada serve the same Queen but...
Loyal Subject: Polishing the Royal Crown, Matt Bondy & Brendon Bedford
Devoted to the End: Obituary of Sir Phillip Bridges
The Monarchist does not recognize the Republic of Kosova
Loyal Subject: MPs Ruse Defeated; God Save the Queen!
St. Paddy's Day: Edmund Burke, the greatest Irishman who ever lived
Not Amused: The Bunkum of Timothy Garton Ash
Hero Harry: Rave Reviews across the Commonwealth
Patriot Prince: Prince Harry fought for us all, Charles Moore
William F. Buckley, RIP: He had a Tory gratitude for the pleasures of life
Their Lordships' Duty: The House of Lords can influence the Lisbon Treaty debate
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Our Greatest Monarch: Paul Johnson says Henry V was our greatest monarch
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Duke of York: The Royals are not "stuffed dummies". They should have their say
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty
Honouring Sir Edmund Hillary
The Queen versus an E.U. President
Going Solo: Prince William earns his Wings
James C. Bennett: The Third Anglosphere Century
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Future Peer: The life and times of Lady Victoria Beckham
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty


New York Times: Ever Backwards into the Royal Future
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Christopher Hitchens: An Anglosphere Future
Andrew Cusack: Republicanism is a traitor's game
Courageous Patrician: Rt Hon Ian Douglas Smith (1919-2007)
The Last Rhodesian: What began with Rhodes and ended with Ian?
Gentleman Journalist: The Lord Baron W.F. Deedes, 1913-2007
Not Amused: Blair's sinister campaign to undermine the Queen
Loyal Subject: Queen Elizabeth: A stranger in her own country
Reverence Deference: Bowing and Scraping Back in Tradition
Rex Murphy: Kennedy, Churchill, Lincoln - The rousing bon mot is no more
Gerald Warner: Don't shed a tear for Diana cult in its death throes
The End of Grandeur: Rich, chincy Canada puts Strathmore on the blocks
Confessions of a Republican Leftie: "The Queen charmed the pants off me"
The King's Own Calgary Regiment: Cpl. Nathan Hornburg is laid to rest
The Royal Gurkha Rifles: Prince William grieves the death of Major Roberts
Queensland Mounted Rifles: Trooper David Pearce, 41, killed in Afghanistan
The Order of Canada: 100 investitures later, Canada's highest honour turns 40
Prince Edward on Prince Edward Island: Troop's link to monarchy important
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN: Unveils the UK Armed Forces Memorial
Great Britain: "A rotten borough with a banana monarchy" - by Europhile
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Remembering 'Smithy': An obituary tour de force by Andrew Cusack here, here and here.
NOT AMUSED: Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Quebec not invited to Quebec's tercentenary