Corrupt practice that must end

images8T8TW4JBThe resignation statement by Lord Oakeshott leaves all of us with a clear message that our Government is not fit for purpose. Whilst the greatest impact of his words are being felt within the Liberal Democratic Party, the final part of the statement seems much more important. He writes: “When Charles Kennedy rang to make me a peer, from a panel elected by the party, fourteen years ago he said he wanted me to shake up the Lords. I’ve tried – my bills to ban non-dom peers are now law – but my efforts to expose and end cash for peerages in all parties, including our own, and help get the Lords elected have failed. I am very sorry to leave my many old, close comrades-in-arms on the Liberal Democrat benches all over Britain, and good friends and fellow campaigners across the House. But the unreformed Lords is now a bloated balloon and at 67 it’s time to concentrate on running my business and my charity.”

Whilst the press are currently focusing on what role Vince Cable has played in the actions referred to in the first part of Matthew Oakeshott’s statement, with less than a year to go to the General Election it is this final paragraph that should concern all of us much more. It is clear that those inside the system with a desire to see reform, such as Matthew Oakeshott are unable to introduce the change needed. It is also clear that Party Politicians must be prevented from controlling any decisions over the reform of the House of Lords. We now surely need a review regarding the formation of a new second chamber that is fit for its purpose in terms of both size and membership. There is and has always been too much vested interest within the three main Parties to ensure that the outcome of any reform works for them and their old guard. The review needs to report to the public, not to Parliament in the first instance. It needs to be something that the whole nation can own, not just the elite of London and its environs.

The words from Matthew Oakeshott are out there – if we do nothing we can assume that nothing will change and money will continue to be exchanged for seats on the red benches. We cannot act as if these words have nothing to do with us. We will be judged in the future if we simply yawn and move on to something we judge to be more important!

PS – Tonights news that Lord Rennard (another Lib Dem Peer!) has finally after 18 months of prevarication apologised to 4 of the women who he abused is far too late. It is telling that he has so far refused to resign. It is clear we need a Right to Recall for all Peers in a reformed second Chamber!

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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