Persuading legislator-for-life that they should lose their feudal privileges was a “hard process” according to Thomas Galbraith, who also goes by “Lord Strathclyde” and is Leader of the House of Lords. This admission that even when it comes to ending feudal privilege, the privileged call the shots, is a reminder of how far Britain has to go before it achieves fully democratic government and a democratic culture. The Conservative legislator said he had now found “common ground” that would allow a reform bill to be proposed in the next two months.
At best It will be 2015 before the so-called Lords are replaced by Senators. Even then twenty per cent may still not be chosen by the people if Galbraith has his way. According to the legislator-for-life, who inherited his his peerage, there is “a good case to retain an unelected element.” In an interview with the Financial Times he seemed to express a particular desire to allow business people to bypass the will of the people to become legislators.
Galbraith commented that the government would be doing something “no government has been able to do for the last 100 years”.
In fact it is at least 350 years since British democrats first saw the need to cleanse Britain of its legislators-for-life. It was during the English Revolution that Richard Overton told MPs in A Remonstrance of Many Thousand Citizens that "You only are chosen by the people and therefore in you only is the power of binding the whole nation by making, altering or abolishing of laws. You have therefore prejudiced us in acting so as if you could not make a law without both the royal assent of the king (so you are pleased to express yourselves) and the assent of the Lords".
The “prejudicing” of the British people may be coming to and end. But many of the feudal legislators are expected to continue to resist democratic government. In 2007 a majority of 361 of them spat in the face of the British people by blocking legislation that would have required at least some legislators in the second chamber to be chosen by the people. They may do it again.Posted by Centre for Citizenship at March 12, 2011 06:33 PM