3 June 2010

Cameron's prime-ministerial debut at PMQ and his choice of a worrying adverb

For collectors of historical political speaking occasions, here's David Cameron's first effort on the receiving end at Prime Minister's Questions for you to inspect.

The worrying adverb
Regular readers will know from previous posts (see selection below) that I've long been critical of the way the Labour government spent thirteen years tinkering with the House of Lords - but systematically avoided doing anything at all to democratise the way its members are selected.

I was therefore very concerned by what Mr Cameron had to say in response to the first question about 'the other place' - for which scroll in 1.26 minutes - where you'll hear the PM referring twice to his support for a "predominantly elected" House of Lords.

Where did 'predominantly' come from and what on earth is it supposed to mean?

Or is he just giving us advance notice that, for all its talk of a major constitutional reform package, the new government is going to be as pussy-footed as the last one was when it comes to removing the undemocratically selected miscellany of former MPs and party cronies from their cosy retirement home in the other place?

P.S. 'Wholly or mainly elected'
Since posting this, I'm grateful to @DuncanStott for informing me via Twitter as follows:

Tories favour "predominantly" elected Lords (80% I think), LDs favour fully elected. Agreement says "wholly or mainly elected".

This may explain Cameron's choice of adverb, but I can't for the life of me see how anyone with a democratic bone in his/her body can justify 'mainly elected', let alone the arbitrary invention of figures like 80%.

Previous posts on the House of Lords:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The assumption here is that more democracy in the House of Lords is a good thing. We already have one elected House, why do we need two? That's just redundant.

A better use for the House of Lords is to fill it with experts - people who have spent a lifetime learning about how one aspect of human life works (be that law, city economics, organized religion, diplomacy etc) so that they can offer that expertise to constructive criticism of legislation.

You won't get that sort of membership from an elected House - you'll just fill it 'predominantly' with career politicians who are just as ill-equipped as the Commons to debate the detailed impact of legislation.

(jamesfedt at hotmail)