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 Post subject: About bloody time...
 Post Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:28 am 
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The UK finally (almost) gets rid of the Lords, and, more importantly, replaces it with an entirely elected house.


Quote:
In an embarrassment to Tony Blair and Mr Straw, the author of last month's white paper on Lords reform, MPs rejected their proposals for an upper house that was 50% elected and 50% appointed. That vote was the only one Mr Blair took part in but in the votes MPs rejected his view by a bigger margin than any other. Mr Straw voted against the 100% option but other cabinet ministers including David Miliband, Hazel Blears, Peter Hain and Alistair Darling voted for it.
Hehehe take that, Tony!

Now, I have to say that the Lords have done a reasonable job of trying to kerb Tony's excesses over the last 9 years, but his attempts to have a nominated house have distressed me. I'm glad that we might finally have an elected house (I'm a bit to republican to trust any form of inheritanted officials, even if I'm grateful when they do a reasonable job). It isn't quite there yet (it still has to get past the Lords, oh, the unironic irony!) but its a step!


So, goodbye, my lords, and good riddance!

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 Post Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:45 am 
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Since my nation has been free of them for the past 230 years, and since they weren't the house that was really oppressing us in the first place, I have no dog in this fight. All I feel is a vague sense of 'someone just burned an old painting. Sigh.'

This is in no way shape or form a serious statement of opinion; you fellows who had to live with the painting in your front hall at home have overwhelming precedence.

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 Post Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:49 am 
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Its not quite there yet, its more like we've decided to burn the paining. Wretched thing's still there, and will be until we do burn it. But it needs to be burnt. For all that it actually doesn't do much harm; I can't think that they've ever thrown back something I've agreed with; we need a second house that can do some good, as in throwing back more stuff that needs to be better thought out.

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 Post Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:04 am 
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angrysunbird wrote:
Its not quite there yet, its more like we've decided to burn the paining. Wretched thing's still there, and will be until we do burn it. But it needs to be burnt. For all that it actually doesn't do much harm; I can't think that they've ever thrown back something I've agreed with; we need a second house that can do some good, as in throwing back more stuff that needs to be better thought out.
I just like the idea of the House of Lords existing in some extremely vestigial form, for the same reason I feel the same way about the British monarchy.

The basic continuity of British government goes back as long as there has been a Britain, and you can trace a lot of it back into England before that. Certainly, everything has changed tremendously, but it has done so continuously, in the mathematical sense. The process has been fairly smooth, with no massive jump discontinuities from one point to another.

I admire that. Very few countries have managed to go from blatant and outright autocratic monarchy (such as Charles II) a well-functioning democratic republic without going through at least one violent revolution or truly deep and radical discontinuity of some kind.

In general, I believe that nations should have some kind of historical roots to provide themselves with a sense of center. Even if the root institution is not important or not powerful, it still serves a purpose in this way. In the case of Britain, the continuity of its government and the existence of a vestigial monarchy and semi-vestigial House of Lords serves this purpose.

To a degree, it not only serves this purpose for Britain; it also serves this purpose for the rest of the English-speaking, Britain-descended world.

So getting rid of the House of Lords outright is a step like Napoleon's abolition of the Holy Roman Empire. It isn't wrong, but it's a big step symbolically even if the abolished institution has little de facto importance. It removes a very long-standing connection to other historical eras.

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 Post Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:24 am 
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Take that, Baron Lord Conrad of Crossharbour!

Facing trial and losing Lordship in one year. Sucks to be that guy. Or would, except for his billions.

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 Post Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:30 am 
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I wonder if Elizabeth II is going to have to step in to finish the job her father began?

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 Post Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:50 am 
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WCH wrote:
Take that, Baron Lord Conrad of Crossharbour!

Facing trial and losing Lordship in one year. Sucks to be that guy. Or would, except for his billions.


The pompous git would still be a lord. Also what billions? He never had more than a a couple hundred million pounds before his current legal problems.

I do not think having an elected upper house is a good idea. I tend to agree with this The Economist article

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 Post Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:52 am 
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Simon_Jester wrote:
I admire that. Very few countries have managed to go from blatant and outright autocratic monarchy (such as Charles II) a well-functioning democratic republic without going through at least one violent revolution or truly deep and radical discontinuity of some kind.
Do you not mean Charles I? Charles II was always vey aware of the limits of his power. And what was the Comonwealth if not the violent, deep and radical discontinuity you speak of? Sure, it was overturned with the restoration, but it laid the foundations of the changes brought about under the Glorious Revolution and beyond.

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 Post Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:58 am 
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Korandder wrote:
The pompous git would still be a lord. Also what billions? He never had more than a a couple hundred million pounds before his current legal problems.
Oh, only a couple hundred million pounds. My mistake. Has he applied for welfare yet? :torg:

Why would he still be a Lord? Surely he wouldn't win an election.

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 Post Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 8:48 am 
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WCH wrote:
Why would he still be a Lord? Surely he wouldn't win an election.


They're not taking Lords and Ladies' titles away; they're just taking away their heriditary right to sit in the legislature (well, they did that a few years ago, but still).

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 Post Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:23 pm 
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angrysunbird wrote:
Do you not mean Charles I? Charles II was always vey aware of the limits of his power.
I was under the impression that Charles II tried to be an autocrat but knew that he couldn't push it too far or he'd end up on the chopping block.

Quote:
And what was the Comonwealth if not the violent, deep and radical discontinuity you speak of?
Yes. The Commonwealth and the English Civil War were extremely violent and radical discontinuities.

But what came out of that was a constitutional monarchy with a very powerful titled aristocracy. It wasn't really anything I would consider a republic. British republicanism emerged gradually over time, rather than being imposed all at once with blood in the streets.

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 Post Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:45 pm 
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Simon_Jester wrote:
angrysunbird wrote:
Do you not mean Charles I? Charles II was always vey aware of the limits of his power.
I was under the impression that Charles II tried to be an autocrat but knew that he couldn't push it too far or he'd end up on the chopping block.
Maybe a little from column a and a little from b. He never tried to push his luck to much, and he was more interested in women and drink. He may have had a touch of his fathers autocratism but he was way to pragmatic and aware to try and push it the way his father did.

Simon_Jester wrote:
But what came out of that was a constitutional monarchy with a very powerful titled aristocracy. It wasn't really anything I would consider a republic. British republicanism emerged gradually over time, rather than being imposed all at once with blood in the streets.
It still isn't a republic yet, infortunately. But no country springs forth with perfect system in one fell swoop. Even the States took a long time to get the details right. Whats unique about Britain is how far back the changes started (before the civil war, arguably even further) and gradual pace of the change (although there were periods where revolution came close, like around the time of the French Revolution.)

You a fan of Simon Sharma's History of Britain, btw?

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 Post Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:14 pm 
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You know I've lectured at a conference attended by Charles Beauclerk, Earl of Burford, the idiot who jumped up on the Woolsack when the hereditary peers were dismissed from the House of Lords. Weird guy. Said something about "Next thing you know they'll want to vote for Doctors..." as if there were any comparison.

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 Post Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:19 pm 
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I might have missed it, but does it say if they're just eliminating appointments or throwing out titles altogether?

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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:19 pm 
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angrysunbird wrote:
But no country springs forth with perfect system in one fell swoop. Even the States took a long time to get the details right.


We still haven't worked out all of the details, we still have an electorial college which votes for the president, meaning the people don't do it directly. We also have a points system for every state as opposed to just pure votes. So, for example, you could have the vast majority of people in threee small states, and lose by a small margin in a big state and still wind up with less points. We're still gettin' there.

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