Friday, 3 March 2017

Irrelevance in ermine

Despite all the ferocious warnings that they were given not to get above their stations (and there’s a curious thing for commoners to tell aristocrats, isn’t it?), their lordships decided to go ahead anyway and pass what most of us would see as an eminently reasonable amendment to the Brexit Bill.  But treating foreigners as people rather than as bargaining chips in a negotiation isn’t the style of the UK Government, so they will be seeking to reverse it, as is their right - in constitutional terms, even if not in moral ones.
I found the remarks of the Tory MP for Monmouth in the report on the stern warning that he gave their lordships interesting in what it told us about his mindset (and presumably the mindset of many of his colleagues).  He told us, in effect, that he’d never previously given a moment’s thought to whether the House of Lords performs any useful function or whether it needs to exist at all. 
At one level, I’m not really surprised; the acceptance of ‘what is’ as the natural order of things is a central belief to those whom he describes as ‘true blue conservatives’.  But at another level, the lack of critical thinking and analysis of the way in which the UK is governed, and the blind adherence to the way we’ve always done it, goes to the heart of the problem in the way we are governed.  Are the honourable member for Monmouth and his colleagues about to stumble, by accident, on an important truth?  I suspect not; there will be a stamping of feet and some over-the-top rhetoric, and then things will return to normal, with their lordships told to stop trying to behave as though they’re a meaningful part of the legislative process.  And they'll dutifully obey, won't they?  They know their place.

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