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Lefty thinktank in 'disliking the reformed upper house' shocker

Lefty think tank, the New Local Government Network - Director, former Labour MP, Deputy Director, former advisor to Hilary Armstrong - has had a look at the House of Lords, and shock, horreur, has found membership skewed towards London and the South East. And Scotland, although it is a bit embarrassed about that one and tries to push that under the carpet.

I could save myself the bother of writing and readers the effort of reading by noting that one has to be more than a little wary of an organisation that *repeatedly* uses 'it's' when it means 'its':

"The majority of Conservative Party Peers are taken from their traditional strongholds in the south with 24% of its (see - they can do it if they try) Peers from the South East, 20% of it’s (sic) Peers from London, 17% of it’s (sic) Peers from the East of England and 12% of it’s (sic) Peers from the South West".

Really professional, people. The authors have three degrees between them, by the way. One of them worked with Prescott, so I suppose he has learnt at the feet of a master.

However, onward.

As anyone sentient will have noticed, the 'reform' of the Lords is a complete dog's breakfast but it is rather amusing that our wonky subjects seem to want a return to a structure akin to the mediaeval Lords:

"The New Local Government Network is agnostic about the precise nature of a reformed House of Lords, as long as there is a more representative basis to its composition than at present, with a fair number of seats for each region of the country".

Had Blair left the Lords alone, extent of geographical representation - the NLGN's sine qua non of a 'good' reformed upper house - would be a good deal broader. A moment's reflection on the dreary placemen and women drafted in to replace some of the many splendid peers of the realm handed their P45s in '99 makes that abundantly clear.

And the NLGN's method?:

"Using information from the publically (sic) available House of Lords Register of Members’ Expenses , we have assessed the geographic make-up of members of the House of Lords by analysing the main residency of Peers. We accept that residing in an area might not mean that a Peer was born or has always resided in that area. However, given that Peers have identified and therefore self-defined the area as their ‘main residence’, we feel it is fair to categorise these areas as the primary locations in which the individual member of the House of Lords are based".

And issues of tax, expenses, getting as far away as humanly possible from one's relatives do not lend themselves to being crunched in the same way. Note that provincial MPs spend an awful lot more of the Parliamentary year in their London abodes than out in Barsetshire East or Clagthorpe New Town.

Further thoughts later. Probably.




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