A Week in Parliament

The Unelected Lords 

Proposals to try and arrange sitting days of Parliament to stop Boris Johnson proroguing [suspending] Parliament were incorporated into the Northern Ireland Bill. This was a Government defeat by just one vote. This amendment was then strengthened further in the House of Lords. “Outrageous” says the Government. “How dare these unelected peers do this”.  Let us look at the hypocrisy of this. Firstly, it is simply a mechanism to stop Boris Johnson thwarting parliamentary democracy. Then, when it suits them do they get all uppity about unelected peers making law changes. When we argue for abolition of the Lords, we are told it is a useful “modifying chamber” ie there to make improvements to law! When it comes to the argument there are way too many lords – some 800 compared to 650 elected MPs, the UK Government tell us changes to the Lords isn’t a priority. What is it to be?!  If we need these people’s expertise then this can be managed through select committee pre legislative scrutiny of bills and abolish this expensive place.   

The Tories have always been in favour of the House of Lords, whilst Labour promised to abolish it over a 100 years ago, but never followed through. Tony Blair did scrap many of the hereditary peers, but then filled their places with cronies, donors and party placemen so there are still so many fundamental democratic outrages. It really is time we get rid of 800 unelected lords, who remember are peers for life.  

Killie in Europe 

On the day of the Northern Ireland – Brexit votes, Killie were playing the second leg of their European tie against Connah’s Quay. There was no telling when votes would finish and if the amendments would bounce backwards and forwards between the Commons and the Lords. So, I didn’t know if I would make the flight that would get me to the match in time. And I also knew that if I didn’t catch that flight all other flights out of London were fully booked so I would not only miss the match but have to stay in London overnight. However, I got away in time; got to the airport in time just before there were problems on the tube lines and got my flight. Ah, I thought – it is all looking so good. While I thought it must be a good luck omen, there was a wee voice in my head that was saying “this is all going too well tonight!”. And so, the result proved to be a huge disappointment.   

Afterwards I found it strange that many local non Killie fans thought it funny. Apart from the fact the result is bad for Scottish football overall, it deprives the club of another European match. A match that would generate money for the club; also for businesses in and around the town and keep the momentum going of higher regular crowds . All these businesses employ local people. By revelling in Killie’s defeat, you actually end up revelling in hits for local businesses. It is one thing to have enjoy banter if your team beats Killie, but surely not to wish them ill in Europe?  

These views were first expressed in the Kilmarnock Standard.