Sekond chamber reform.

( Reviw of the Wakeham report ).

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Komity work: a kultur of konsultation.

In january 2000, a British government komision reported on the rol of the sekond chamber of parliament. Its rekomendations tuch on the theory of demokrasy, tho its purpos was soly that of a Royal Komision on Hous of Lords reform. The chairman was Lord Wakeham.

A tv reporter only had to spyk of the 132 rekomendations to impres on viwers wat a nw brwm was at work in the Lords. Aktualy, many of thys proposals ar for litl or no chanj. The dokument is konsern'd to stir up as litl dust as posibl.

For about the first haf of the Wakeham report, this aproch works wel. It is worth ryding for an insIt from praktikal politicians of how government works. For governing or 'styring' uon mIt almost ryd 'styring komitys'.

The mov to permanent Selekt Komitys of Komons bak-benchers was larjly the legasy of John Mackintosh's kojent arguments. He also mayd the throw-away remark that Westminster was ful of pepl disapointed they hadnt bekom PrIm Minister. As a rebel, or man trubl'd by a konsiens, he hadnt much prospekt of party advansment. But he twk the US-stIl Senat Investigatory Komitys as a model for kaling the government to akount.

The chairmen of equivalent bak-bench British komitys kud be a power in the land against the reduktion of parliament to partisan konformity. The PrIm Minister or chairman of the Kabinet Komity nydnt be the only important chairman in parliment. Lejislativ komitys nyd not be of no akount kompar'd to exekutiv komitys.
The paking of selekt komitys with MPs on the government pay-rol wud be an exampl of over-wyning party power.

Britain dosnt hav the Amerikan independens, of lejislatur from the exekutiv, as part of its separation of powers. Even so, permanent Selekt Komitys wer resisted, bekaus it was fyr'd ther work wud detrakt from the big debaits on the flor of the Hous.

Sertainly, the Wakeham report shuns the Amerikan model. But ther is no hint that laws ar pas'd by flashes of oratorikal brilians befor a ful hous. Gud orators hav given way to gud komity men. In futur, this is mor lIkly to be gud komity women with ther beter social skils.

The spyches of elder staits-men in the Hous of Lords, such as Harold Macmillan on the miners strIk, may mark the end of a tradition. Macmillan lern'd from no les a master than Lloyd George. Som-uon voluntyr'd, in our lokal pres, a haf-sentury-old memory of the Welsh wizard, leit in his karyr, holding an audiens in the palm of his hand for uon and a haf hours - the lenth of a fytur film. Wer-as the modern unit of politikal atention is the sound-bIt.

Orators may be just as formidabl to governments as questioning komitys. But an other Mackintosh quip wud explain wI the later hav prevail'd: Politicians ar tw ignorant to do ther jobs. Special study grups hav to be form'd to kyp up with social diversity. And the best way to lern is to ask questions.

Richard Feynman admited as much about his own teching of fysiks. But it holds tru of government enquirys. Wen televis'd, viwers may fyl questions of publik moment ar being ask'd on ther behaf.

The Wakeham report mIt be best sum'd-up as an atempt to improv and extend a komity system of government.

The Royal Komision has taken the chans to sit bak and tak stok of law-making prosedurs. In this they ar pragmatists not pedants. Existing laws may not be drawn up with al the formal nisety, uon now sys to be desirabl. Provided that has not prov'd an obstakl, ther is no point in inviting the over-haul of an entIr Akt.

( How-ever, a government, desiring an apointed sekond chamber for the twenty-first sentury, wud not want renw'd atention to the 1911 Parliament Akt, with its intention that the sekond chamber be on 'a popular instead of a hereditary basis'. )

Rekomendations of no chanj may sym timid but they ar mayd thotfuly. They ar 'konservativ' in the best sens of saving tIm and work for improving mor presing lejislation. The main question is how kan futur laws be mayd beter. The aproch is positiv. It is rekognis'd that mor chanses for konsultation, for instans, wen a law is only in the draft staij, wil help gud advIs to prevail.

Ther is an absens hyr of the diktatorial atitud, that blIts party politiks. The report's version of komity politiks is not som kaukus trIing to push thru its exklusiv viw of how the world shud be. Insted of imposing dogmas, specialist komitys ar form'd to lern mor about isyus. And insted of self-impos'd isolation, by the party faithful, from demonis'd oponents, links ar foster'd.

Links and mor links betwyn komitys at every level of government and every relevant ajensy and authority. Komitys and mor komitys, til a flow chart wud be nyded to sort out how they achyv the komplex ko-ordinations of government.

The Hous stIl, of the Wakeham report, is Lords, rather than Komons. This reviwer rylis'd that the report was riten by experts in governing, and that, wen it kaim to improving its prosedurs, they nw wat they wer talking about.

But, at som point, the politicians must kom out of ( wat The Guardian editor kal'd ) the report's 'rabbit warren' of komitys, into the wId open, and often hostil, spas of publik skrutiny, that elektions involv.

The praktis of okupational representation and other disprwf of 'praktikal obstakls'.

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In the Envoi, the report says the komision has argu'd from 'first prinsipls'. That is to say they hav desIded wat the 'karakteristiks' of the British sekond chamber shud be ( in chapter 10 ). Leiter chapters report wat the komision belyvs the best myns of aplIing thos prinsipls.

I belyv the outlin'd karakteristiks ar a basis for agryment. I also belyv the report quibls against the prinsipl that under-lIs them. In fakt, in lwking again at chapter 11, it apyrs the report even holds a bryf for the 'prinsipl' of 'vokational' or 'interest grup representation' ( sektion 11.18 ).

By definition, a prinsipl is som-thing wich kan be aplI'd. To say it was imposibl wud hav byn a kontradiktion in terms. A prinipl is an objektiv myns to avoid kontentius desisions having to be mayd.
The report argyus 'serious practical obstacles'. It spyks of an 'unenviabl' task of a komision having to desId betwyn the klaims of organisations, as distinkt from individuals, for representation. But individuals ar raited by the positions they okupy in organisations, larjly as a result of qualifikations such bodys hav akorded them. ( Out-sIders, with no houp of a karyr, no how tru this is. ) So, the chois of individuals reflekts on ther organisations.

In any kais, the nw English Rejonal Chambers show ther ar no serius praktikal obstakls to vokational / interest grup representation. In his evidens to the Royal Komision, Klr. Michael Johnston explains that thes representativ bodys akt as advisors to the Rejonal Development Agensys. The Chambers konsist of indirektly elekted lokal kounsilors, mainly lyders, and representativs of staik-holders in the rejon, from industry, traid unions, hIer and further edukation, the indispensabl voluntary sektor and nw kultural konsortia.

Lojikly, the tw national chambers ( politikal and ekonomik ) shud be left to serv the national interest. No-uon expekts national representativs to okupy the other levels of government.
The Komons is a national 'federation' of lokal konstituensys, historikly the Komons of shIrs and boros. Similarly, the sekond chamber kud be a 'federation' of funktional konstituensys, inkluding the Konfederation of British Industry and the Traids Union Kongres.

The trubl with a federal sekond chamber of politicians is that, lIk the first chamber, it servs the partys, rather than the staits or rejons and ther relation to the houl kuntry. The editors of Senates, Samuel Patterson and Anthony Mugham say many demokrasys ar engaj'd 'in an apparently incessant dialogue about how they should be reformed.'

Obviusly, the tw sIds of British industry hav had ther party, representing ther social klas. The Wakeham report konsiders the question of the partys being tw much in kontrol, rather than the other publik komplaint that the ekonomik interests behind them ar tw much in kontrol.

At any rait, the party afiliations, that the report requirs, wud be satisfI'd by an elekted ekonomik sekond chamber. But the requirment of mor independens from party kontrol wud also be achyv'd. Bekaus, the special interests of the nation kud be direktly represented in the sekond chamber, without having to loby or pay the partys to be herd and hyded.
Ekonomik demokrasy kud chek the richest and most powerfuly organis'd from prevailing over the jeneral interest.

Mor-over, efektiv demokratik elektions alredy tak plas within varius British profesional bodys. I'v often said that the General Medical Council proportionaly represents imigrants, women and specialists. Ther singl transferabl vot avoids the nyd for separat ( kumbersom and larjly inefektiv ) 'party' lists for women, for ethnik or relijus minoritys, for ych specialty or wat-ever.
And that prety wel disposes of the obstakls deskrib'd in sektion 11.22. A vokational franchis also maks a non-sens of the stok argument that elektions kan only be party-kontrol'd.

STV also kan kowp with the problem ( rais'd in 11.20 ) of representing a rapidly evolving teknikal sosiety, with pepl frequently chanjing jobs. Multi-member konstituensys, over brod kategorys of employment, wud alow rIses and fals in diferent okupations to be akounted for, by rIses and fals in the number of syts per vokational konstituensy.
Multi-member konstituensys ar also beter for kyping stabl lokal komunity boundarys of politikal konstituensys. Bekaus, the number of syts per konstituensy kan be ajusted to kyp pais with population shifts.

The Wakeham report says several lists of okupational organisations wer submited and they wer al diferent. It wud hav byn mirakulus if they had not byn so. Hw expekted otherwIs? Konsider the kontentius mes politicians mak by the kontinuus re-drawing of lokal boundarys to a singl member system.

An Elektoral Komision kud hav a remit for a sekond chamber of vokational konstituensys, as wel as for jeografikal konstituensys. Its work wud be enormusly simplifI'd and demokrasy greitly further'd, if it wer apreciated that STV is the jeneral elektoral system, that aplIs to politiks at al government levels ( as is shown to be the kais in Ireland ) also to ekonomik and al other non-politikal elektions ( as many organisations demonstrat ).

Requiring demokratik standards of vokational representation.

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Lyders hav to lern to lIk and understand the demokratik voting system ( as Lloyd George fail'd to do, til it was tw leit ). But the komision ( in sektion 11.21 ) has no exkyus for refusing to kontemplat that vokational organisations, represented in the sekond chamber, 'observ minimum standards of demokrasy'.
This is regarded as an 'unkseptabl intrusion', a freis the komision syms to hav borow'd from Chris Patten. He was konsulted about the korporat representation in Hong Kong. In a symingly vIs-regal maner, he had his konversation konvey'd, rather than rowt, himself.

It apyrs to hav byn an il-konsider'd remark and an il-konsider'd borowing. Obviusly, wat Britain kud do in Hong Kong was minimal kompar'd to wat Britain kud do in Britain. Jeneraly spyking, sosietys do requir minimum standards of akseptabl behavior from ther members.

Voltaire was told the 'plysing' fakt that even thyvs hav ther kouds of behavior. He reply'd that is mor instruktiv than plysing, in that no sosiety kud surviv a singl day without ruls.
The smalest klub has ruls that uon must abId by to join. This is inkrysingly tru even of international law, wich unlIk national law, ryly has byn 'imposibl to polis'.

The European Union requirs standards of demokrasy and human rIts from member staits. The Komon-welth suspends member nations for violations of demokrasy. Ther standards and ther mesurs ar doutles hIly unsatisfaktory. But they dont shrink from the atempt of making them.

In Britain, profesional bodys and traid unions and al maner of organisations hav kontakted or yus'd the independent expertys of the Balot Servises biznes, a branch of the Elektoral Reform Sosiety. This is often yus'd rutynly to garanty properly kondukted elektions - lIk an audit, wich the government dos not think tw intrusiv to requir by law.

The report kan not say it's not praktikal; it's alredy don. And by the saim independent method, members of any vokational organisation kud vot wether to aksept minimal demokratik standards requir'd to bekom a 'konstituensy' of the sekond chamber.

A 2-chamber 2-dimensional demokrasy of politikal ekonomy.

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Sektion 11.23 maks a 'serius objektion' of the 'risk of disenfranchising' pepl, often the disadvantaj'd, hw do not alredy belong to a profesional or vokational grup.
They ar disenfranchis'd - or unenfranchis'd. This is an oportunity to kreat okupational konstituensys for them in the sekond chamber.

That is nown as extending the franchis. That's how politikal demokrasy evolv'd and is how som hav sujested ekonomik demokrasy mIt progres.
I am not making this up as I go along. I antisipated this and other questions in my evidens to the Royal Komision. ( That is my 2 web pajes on an ekonomik parliment. )

If the jist of sektion 11.4 is 'an even mor fundamental objektion' to vokational representation, I kan not sy that ther is any ryl problem at al. The report has us belyv that giving proportional representation, in the sekond chamber, to the okupations defins them as nothing but ther okupations. They sujest this ekonomik demokrasy demyns lory drivers and nurses as nothing els but lory drivers and nurses.

At present, most kuntrys hav a 1-dimensional demokrasy that movs from politikal left to rIt. The partys hav parsel'd out this skail betwyn them so that pepl kan be only blu or red or yelow, maybe gryn or som other striktly oficial, but krwd, kolor bloks. The unykly individual kolor choises on the politikal spektrum ar elektoraly disalow'd ( in efekt by denIing fryly transferabl voting ).

As a mater of fakt, I hav always regarded the imposition of partisan chois, by list systems, as 'demyning' and hav protested against it most of my adult lIf - as I hav favor'd an elekted ekonomik sekond chamber al that tIm. I hav never regarded menial work as demyning, much les objekted to being represented in it. The Indian Untuchabls hav wanted mor rekognition of ther kast in Kongres, not to be forgoten about, as benyth dignifI'd konsideration.

After al, wat kud be mor vital to our konserns than the way we ern our living? In going thru the evidens to the Royal Komision, I mis'd any grup hw didnt want ther own employment, wether by profesion or interest grup, to be represented in the sekond chamber.

AlrIt, a politikal ekonomy of the houses of parliment may stil be only a konstitutional flat-land. But 2 dimensions ar an infinitly beter mesur of a demokrasy than 1: how much beter to be alow'd to kros a fyld than to be for-ever konfin'd to a lein.

Most of us ar not jet-seters. We dont much mis the third dimension. Maths and fysiks may dyl in multipl dimensions. But for lerning about them, we ar much mor at hom with just 2 ko-ordinats, say, tw of spas, or uon of spas and uon of tIm.

That is not to say I opos 'hIer' dimensions of demokrasy, wat-ever they mIt be, only that, for present praktikal purposes, tw dimensions, not uon, is the optimum for demokrasy. Sying demokrasy trIing to walk, with the walks of lIf, the report kritisises it for not being abl to run.

In any kais, the luky pepl hw ar paid for doing wat they lIk best, and hwm others may houp to emulat, kan be as efektivly represented as every-uon els.
Apointments wud be hit and mis.
The transferabl vot kan prefer the most popular of eminent individuals, as wel as proportionaly representing ther vokations, together with any social karakteristik they poses of importans, akording to the voters' orders of chois.

For that ryson, STV kud giv the pepl's chois of vokational representativs to the sekond chamber, and it wud be socialy relevant, tw.

The self-kontradiktion of independent apointments.

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The inability of an Apointments Komision to popularly represent is satiris'd by Polly Toynbee as: 'Get me a Lib Dem Catholic woman chartered accountant with one leg from Cardiff! Never mind what she's like!'
Wer-as, other apointments, by a kort of 8 inkluding 3 partisans, may stand out as the king's favorits. Against any sujestion of unfairnes, self-respekting selebritys mIt prefer a vot amongst ther kolygs to popularly konfirm ther rIt to represent ther vokation in the sekond chamber.

The term, an 'independent Apointments Komision', is a self-kontradiktion. Only an elektion by the jeneral publik kan be independent of partikular influenses. If apointments wer a beter myns of representation than elektion for the sekond chamber, the report nyds to justify wI they ar not beter for the first chamber.

Mor-over, an elektion is a method. Its lojik may be gud or bad, in wich kais yu hav a gud or bad voting system. But at lyst it is a method, hws prosedur may be kritisis'd and improv'd. To resort to apointment is to go bak to desisions bais'd on personal authority, rather than let agry'd formal standards be demonstrably met.

( The Plant komity - in its interim report on p. 6 - wanted diferent institutions to hav diferent elektoral methods, so politicians kud, in efekt, apoint wat-ever method that suited them, as a mater of personal jujment. So, they denI'd from the out-set that ther is a jeneral lojik of demokratik elektion. That led to a British anarky of elektoral systems, wich the Lords Komision has imitated, with its thry 'models' for elekting a minority of pyrs. )

To quot from Andrew Marr's Observer koment ( 23 jan. 2000 ):

The reformed second chamber is to be made deliberately illegitimate, in the sense of being mostly unelected, because it must not undermine the mystic authority of the Commons...

It reminds me a little of my father's garden, when he once planted a stake to hold up a rose-tree; but the tree died and the stake grew. Instead of saving the Commons, it all reminds us of what a sickly institution it has become...

Robert Winston, the popular medical icon and New Labour peer, goes and tells the truth about the NHS to the New Statesman. He denies himself, but his words bite him back. Helena Kennedy, who once seemed to be the ultimate New Labour place-woman, a Blair baroness, turns on Jack Straw over jury trials in a display of magnificent, highly successful and gutsy disloyalty...

Much the same goes for journalists, actors, rock stars and business leaders enrolled at one stage or another as Friends of Tony... Look around and you will not find a group of respected, successful and varied people who would take a place there for 15 years and do what they were told. Life has moved on. Things aren't like that any more... Once appointed, why would they not ( criticise and rebel )? And just what, exactly, would they be expected to show loyalty to?

So, when push comes to shove, Kennedy is a human rights lawyer, not a Labour Peer... and, from the health service to its anti-jury legislation, things fall apart,.. Better, therefore, to turn back to first principles. Better to try to create a reformed democracy, on proper political, liberal principles, which is what Britain needs. If doing the wrong thing isn't going to work, you might as well do the right thing.

Sadly, Andrew Marr thinks the rIt thing is the Charter '88 lIn of a party politikal sekond chamber ( wich most pepl dont want ) elekted by the sudo-PR of som party list system ( wich is any-thing but 'liberal' ).
Charter '88 komision'd a pol that show'd 75% of pepl wanted the publik to hav a rol in desIding hw was in the sekond chamber. Survivors of the twentieth sentury no: demokrasy gud; diktatorship bad.

Sadly, Marr dosnt tak the hint that the qualitys of the expert pyrs, he and the publik admir, shud not be abolish'd but given the tru dignity of demokratik lejitimasy in formal vokational elektions.

The valu of the Lords Komision report, did they but rekognis it, is in showing, that vokational representation is an idea hws tIm has kom: 67% of respondents wanted to inklud 'independent / experiens'd' pepl in the sekond chamber.
It is much to the kredit of the experts, among the lIf pyrs, that the publik apreciats the nyd for mor vokational or okupational representation.

From being the most bakward of bi-kameral demokasys in Europ, hw nos? Britain mIt tak the lyd as a 2-chamber, 2-dimensional demokrasy of politikal ekonomy.

Ekonomik demokrasy must hav an over-du kontribution to mak to basik human and ekologikal welfer. It may be the world's best houp against the korporat exeses of privatyr kapitalism that risk the frajil environment. In Russia and Eastern Europ, frajil politikal demokrasys ar lIkwIs at risk.
Hatred is growing against them, from a lak of basik demokratik standards of ekonomy. So says Anne Applebaum. ( Red Time Bomb. Daily Mail 20 nov. 1999. )

In 1947, Viktor Kravchenko der'd to houp for 'the long-suffering Russian people...that one day they may enjoy real freedom and real economic democracy.' ( I Chose Freedom chapter xxviii. )


The previus web payj, part 1 of this reviw, shows that elektions dont hav to be party politikal. A system of vokational elektions is perfektly workabl for the sekond chamber. So, the publik hw mayd submisions kud hav it al ways, without any inkonsistensy. They kud hav independent, experiens'd sekond chamber representativs. They kud be elekted. And, with transferabl voting, they kud be proportionaly represented as individuals, and not as klons on lists.

The publik interest kud be hardly mor faithfuly serv'd. And this senario is konsistent with the rekomendations of a komparitiv study of sekond chambers.
Quoting from Vernon Bogdanor's Times Literary Supplement reviw ( 4 feb. 2000 ) regarding Meg Russell's Reforming the House of Lords: Lessons from overseas.

Russell's central conclusion is that, for a second chamber to be effective, it must be composed differently from the first, it must enjoy sufficient powers to require a government to think again, and it must enjoy sufficient legitimacy in the eyes of the public, so that it can actually use its powers.

The sham dilema of apointed experts vs elekted politicians.

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To quot again from Bogdanor's TLS reviw of the report on reforming the Lords:

...the vast majority of those who, in evidence to the Royal Commission, favoured a directly elected second chamber also declared that they wanted, above all, to avoid creating a replica of the House of Commons with its confrontational politics and whipped majorities.

Konkluding its introduktion, the Wakeham report says:

The evidence we received, while helpful, was conflicting and frequently internally inconsistent. For example, widespread support for elections to the second chamber was combined with near-universal cynicism about the role of political parties and a desire to limit their influence in the second chamber.

WIl the komision almost inadvertantly admited the prinsipl of vokational representation ( in chapter 11 ) they regres to the asumption that demokrasy is only a 1-dimensional representation of politiks. They ar bak to klIming wat Disraeli kal'd 'the greasy pole'. A sekond dimension, that ko-ordinats ekonomiks to politiks, demokratikly, is beyond ther perseptions. Ther's non so blind as thos that wil not sy.

This asumption - a hyper-dimensional blindnes to so much as demokrasy's sekond dimension - was sher'd by The Times submision of evidens. And in ther koveraj of the report, Peter Riddell ( on 21 january, 2000 ) says:

The commission is rightly concerned that the composition of the second chamber should be different from the Commons, and not simply full of career party politicians. That argues for the inclusion of some appointed members to provide experience and diversity.

Having mayd the saim non sequitur, and falen into the saim trap, as the report, it is hard to sy wI Riddell gets so work'd-up. He says the proposals ar:

a classic of British establishment evasion. The analysis is lucid and impeccable but every time a controversial issue is faced, it is dodged.

It turns out that Riddell's komplaint is that the balans is tw much in favor of apointed to politikly elekted members, he has alredy admited ther shud not be tw many of.

Donald MacIntyre of The Independent led: 'With all the dismal caution of an insider, Wakeham stayed well clear of democracy.' He pointed out that The Labor party's evidens didnt even mention a demokratik element. ( Neither did ther Co-operative party klon's evidens favor it. )

The Guardian had mor desisiv grounds for chastisment, sins its submision kal'd for a politikly elekted chamber, with the experts relegated to advisors or stwjes. Polly Toynbee's talk about the Wakeham twelv 'losing the plot' aktualy aplIs mor to her nws-paper, sins experts kud hav the demokratik authority of being elekted by ther kolygs. Wer-as a sekond politikal chamber myrly dubls the partys' power of patronaj. This is especialy tru of party list proportional elektions, wich is the undemokratik kind thos in kontrol hav favor'd.

In this respekt, of Robert Maclennan, the Liberal Democrats Konstitutional Afairs spoksman, methinks he protests tw much. He says the report is:

shot through with dismal, old-fashioned, self-serving, clubby attitudes. If its recommendations were to be given effect, the Lords would continue to be illegitimate and the public would properly disregard it.

This ringing a bel kompars komikly with the unktius, if les eloquent, reseption from the PrIm Minister's ofis: 'a very, very good report.'

Kros-wIr'd reforms.

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The chatering klases sym to tryt the publik lIk a lot of ilojikal children wanting the imposibl. Bogdanor maks a 'paradox' of demokrasy that kompetitiv elektions bekom dominated by politikal partys, themselvs kontrol'd by unpopular 'profesional or karyr politicians'. He kredits a member of the komision, Anthony King, with having 'diskover'd' this in a politikal siens artikl in 1981.

Yu only hav to ryd Bogdanor's first bwk The People and the Party System to no that the pionyring politikal sientist Ostrogorski formulated the problem in the leit nIntynth sentury, wIl party organisations wer developing. Not only that, he gav a nesesary, tho not suficient, remedy, as the singl transferabl vot.

I mention this bekaus elektoral reform and Hous of Lords reform both await 'diskoverys' undiskover'd by most of the influential.
Elektoral reform bekaim polaris'd into a show-down betwyn suporters of sudo-majority systems against suporters of proportional systems. But proportional systems hav either the frydom of transferabl voting or ar korporat vots for party lists, mor or les ensuring party boses alon chws wich party kandidats ar elekted.

Similarly, Hous of Lords reform has bekom polaris'd betwyn suporters for apointed experts and suporters of elekted politicians. Just as elektoral reform was kompromis'd with hybrid systems of first-past-the-post and party-proportional kounting, the Lords report also gos for 2 rongs that dont mak a rIt. Naimly, an undesided mix of apointed experts and elekted politicians, with som provision ( chap. 13.28; rek. 91 ) for apointing politicians for the saik of partisan 'balans'.
But ther's no provision for elekted experts, the uon remaining posibility, wich wud kreat a sekond dimension of demokrasy, ekonomik demokrasy.

WI al this quareling at kros-purposes, lIk a konspirasy of antagonism, that results in a 'solution' that is either haf-gud or the worst of both worlds? An adiktion to unryl dilemas avoids G K Chesterton's observation that ryly ther is only uon party. We ar agrying, to som extent, with Chesterton wen we yus the konvenient term, the establishment.

Mor kaos of undemokratik elektoral method.

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The Daily Telegraph editor dekrI'd 'Britain's greatest constitutional problem...the executive has too much power.' Yet he thinks it suficient to hav 'open list' elektions, wich efekt litl mor individual chois than klos'd lists. Never the les, to mak shur no-uon thot the komision favor'd voters' frydom, the report kud bring itself, at best, to spyk ( non-komitaly ) of 'partialy open lists'.
And very partial to the partys they ar, tw.

Sektion 12.34 says: '...we do not want to see the number of electoral systems already in use in this country unnecessarily enlarged,..' With that warning, for the politikal elektion of a minority of the Lords, the report then ofers thry options, besIds the haf-dozen undemokratik voting methods that alredy exist on the British main-land.

The politicians set a presedent for disorder, both in the diferent voting systems and in ther efektiv lak of order'd chois. The presedent is strenthen'd, by folowing it, wich is wat the report has don. The rulers hav mayd up the ruls as they go along. That is arbitrary power.

For just 65 politikal Lords, the report's so-kal'd 'komplementary' voting system is a re-hash of the 1975 Hansard Komision's Aditional Member System. That is, yor X-vot for a singl member in the Komons wud be hI-jak'd as a 'party' vot, this tIm to help 'elekt' som-uon in the Lords. This is the lyst akountabl version of AMS and is not a kontender for elektoral reform, even among suporters of this kind of system. Donald MacIntyre said this is neither direkt elektion nor indirekt elektion. It is virtual elektion.

The bigest faktion of the Wakeham twelv propos 87 politikal Lords elekted by the method for MEPs. That is a vot for a party with no individual chois.
The third faktion propos thry elektions of 65 politikal Lords, ych tIm a Euro-elektion is held, til ther ar 195 politikal Lords. Thys, how-ever, wud be elekted from 'partialy open lists'. That freis amounts to kyping the chain on the dor, wen yu open it to stranjers - as the establishment pyrs narowly at the elektorat.

Diferent rejons wud hold ther Lords elektions, in a konfusing aranjment of fIv yer sIkls from 5 to 10 to a ful 15 yers ( Sektion 19.7 and 19.8 ). But the point about suposedly representativ elektions ( wich thys propos'd systems ryly ar not, any-way ) is that they ar held regularly so they do not bekom unrepresentativ with tIm.

The report asum'd that infrequent elektions help to sustain a long term viw. But it bekoms the long-term viw of a long gon past. It is an argument for burokrasy, rather than demokrasy, in the sekond chamber.

A Gallup International pol ( 3 dec. 1999 ) was reported, the next day, in The Mirror, as saying of the British:

They have less respect for government than others. Nearly 70 per cent do NOT believe the country is governed by the people's will.
Only 16 per cent regard government as efficient, while 44 per cent rate it bureaucratic.

The komision may understand komity prosedur but didnt no wat demokratik prosedur is about. This suspicion, that the komision simply didnt understand elektoral method, gains kredens from a remark about the singl transferabl vot.
Sektion 11.12 begins with the blunder that elektions, to the sekond chamber, wud be dominated by the partys again. Al this says is that elektions on a politikal franchis wud be party politikal. This is fals of elektions on an ekonomik franchis, wich elekts vokational eminens, not komunity lydership.

Then the eror is kompounded with the folowing remark:

Very few independents, if any, would secure election, even using a highly proportional system such as Single Transferable Vote (STV).

STV is only as proportional as the number of syts ther ar in the konstituensy. Other systems of so-kal'd PR aktualy giv les chans for independents, the mor proportional they ar mayd, bekaus they only proportionaly represent party kandidats.
Mor-over, it is STV's proportional kount of a preferens vot, wich sekurs the proportional representation of individual kandidats, without diskrimination against independents - and sekurs som independens for party kandidats also prefer'd as individuals.

Simon Jenkins of The Times wasnt much help, with his dismisal of 'the curse of proportional representation'. That is about as sensibl as saying the kurs of demokrasy. They ar only prinsipls. The devil is in the details of rongful aplikations, that ar not wat they pretend to be.

Jenkins denounses 'Wakeham the weak' in the usual terms: 'timid, confusing and conservative...a dispute over composition,..a confusion over election, a leak, even a split... a vaguely plausible fudge...'etc.

The Apointments Komision he sys as a re-vamping of the Honors Skrutiny Komity, produsing a chamber hardly diferent from the old, but without the independens of the mor kolorful hereditarys.

And Simon Jenkins maks the most teling pres koment so far:

The Wakeham report is deeply conservative. ( Not that last bit - every-body syms to hav said that - but the next sentens:) It leaves clergymen and lawyers in place, yet rejects the claim of other professions.

Insted of bilding on this presedent for vokational representation, it was left as a relik. The komision has not even mayd a desision wether the prinsipl was rIt or rong and then akted akordingly. Jenkins' kritisism is the mor revyling in the uon respekt it is inakurat.
Ther is uon profesion that the komision admits to the Lords. In sektion 11.40, any party with, say, over 2% of the national vot, in jeneral elektions, wud be entitl'd to syts in the sekond chamber.

So, mor party barons with kouts of arms, besIds the blu torch, red ros or yelow bird, wud kontrol wat interests wer on ther lists and in hws person. Wer-as kampain mony wud kontrol the party manajers. This strenthens the oligarky of party over al other social and profesional lIf, even as it enkurajes partisan divisions in the nation.

Insted, a demokrasy nyds the equitabl representation of interests, rich or pwr, in ther own rIt, in the sekond chamber.


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George Jones of The Daily Telegraph konsyded:

The 216 page report is worth reading and has genuinely tried to create a second chamber that would retain many of the qualities of independence and originality of the present House of Lords rather than becoming a clone of the party-politically dominated House of Commons.

This reviwer has trI'd to sustain that viw. But I hav kom to the konclusion that the report avoids any asertion of prinsipl. Noing tu wel the ways of oficial rekomendations, my evidens to the komision advis'd on klyrnes of prinsipl, or ther report wud not be wel resyv'd.
Even so, I was taken abak by wat Bogdanor kal'd the nyr universal hostility of the pres reseption.

That the report has no direktion of its own is sum'd up wel by its varying stans on vokational representation. The komision is 'sympathetik' to the 'prinsipl' but dos not aktualy belyv it praktikal, even in the fais of its praktis by the English Rejonal Chambers.

It has byn found praktikal to represent the church and the law, but the komision kan not bring itself to belyv this kud be tru of other profesions - except for thos elektoral monopolists, the politikal partys, hwm nyrly every-uon els belyvs hav tw much power.

Wer the vokations nyd prinsipl'd rekognition as organisations, elekting ther individual experts to the sekond chamber, the report wud only apoint thos experts, it regarded suitabl, without rekognition of organisations' profesional rIt to be represented.

Wer the voters nyd prinsipl'd rekognition as fry individuals, this rIt is even denI'd in politikal elektions, wer they hav to vot for korporat lists of 'partys', the only profesion oficialy rejister'd for elektions - also, in the sekond chamber, if the report has its way.

In other words, the partys hav a unykly privilej'd legal status as a profesional organisation, in elektions, wich the Lords reform wud kary over, even into a brodly profesional sekond chamber.

Ryly, the report is a rejister of al the konflikting presurs. It is a batl-fyld, yet it is also an important rekord of the publik stait of the argument. The pres themselvs put forward no nw tryty for lasting agryment. They only amplify the diferent sIds of the dispyut within the komision, wich ther frustration blaims for a failur that is just as much ther own.

Dyp kauses for an other disapointment with Britain's rulers ar sot in the historikal mind-set of the English. And yu kud say the Wakeham report is a kais of British empirisism at its best and at its worst. At its best: the respekt for expertys and experiens in the sekond chamber was rekognis'd by the komision and most submisions of evidens. ( The ansers to the questionair shud hav byn in a separat kategory to the leters. )

At its worst, ther was the empirisist's sliperines of prinsipl. This perhaps ows, som, to the English distrust for rationalist dogma. The later had a minority vois on the komision, in the politicians' falasy that proportional representation myns proportional partisanship, at the expens of human unity in individual diversity.

The pres show'd the saim unysy ko-habitation of rationalism with empirisism, usualy refer'd-to as radikalism and konservatism, respektivly. It kan be a mistak to asum, in this kontext, that radikal myns progresiv and konservativ myns obsolet.

The sukses of siens ows to the modifIing of rational theory by empirikal method. The tw chambers of government kud represent a similar relation of rational politikal theory chek'd by experiens in ekonomik method ( as diskus'd in my web pajes on A sekond chamber of siens; An ekonomik parliament. ).

Richard Lung.

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