Surely you can’t tell me that the notoriously posh David Cameron is going to be the one who finally does away with hereditary members of parliament?
Strangely, that may be what happens! Cameron fancies himself a great modernizer who has brought his Conservative Party kicking and screaming into the modern age. Also, in order to become Prime Minister, he had to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, who are nerdy policy wonks who are even more dedicated to eliminating the hereditary anachronism than Labour at this point.
Beyond these idealistic goals, there are a couple of fairly practical reasons why the Tory-Lib Dem coalition might want Lords reform. First off, Tony Blair appointed hundreds of life peers during his time in office, so the Lords are a lot less Conservative than they used to be. The Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, are a perennial third party that has enough support to stay alive but never enough to really gain power. They’d do better in a system of proportional representation, which is what’s proposed for the new Lords. (The Lib Dems made the Tories go along with them in proposing that the Commons also be elected on a form of proportional representation, but the Brits voted it down in a referendum last year.)
– Josh Frulinger at The Awl has a nice summary of the current debate happening in the UK over whether or not to reform the House of Lords.
I’m always reminded of how ludicrous it is that Great Britain maintains a body of parliament that consists even partially of people born into the position, even if it’s not as powerful as it was over a hundred years ago. Then I remember that this country still has a fucking King and Queen, and for all of the cliche griping here in the States over reality stars, the UK’s been giving its own tax dollars to the rough equivalent for centuries. Seriously, there’s this entire extended family that gets the kind of lavish checks from the government that uber-conservatives think poor people in this country receive, and they achieve this fame and celebrity status purely on the basis of their existence and often in spite of the complete absence of any ability, talent, or intellect.
What I’m saying is that those inbred krauts are the original Kardashians, right down to the sex tapes. They’re like the OGs of confounding cultural quirks.
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