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Published on February 28th, 2012 | by Hannah Riley
Image © [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="565" caption="David Cameron's promises."][/caption] The House of Lords are seen, by the more liberal of us, to be undemocratic and illegitimate. But when compared with the House of Commons, it's apparent that the upper chamber has little to live up to. The government do not represent their mandate and in actual fact, the House of Lords is doing much to highlight this. Recently two very controversial bills have been in the public eye, the Health bill and the Welfare bill. The latter having been blocked by the House of Lords, will come into action in one year’s time under the Parliament Act 1949- which has only been imposed five times by the government since its creation, four of which have been in last 13 years. The House of Lords are evidently becoming more assertive, which is understandably, to the distaste of many as the peers are unelected. On a different slant however, the upper chamber are acting for the good of the people in response to an increasingly aggressive House of Commons. The lower chamber uses a party whip system which means that MPs are to follow their party’s priorities when voting for or against a proposed bill. As a result, the MPs belonging to the same party all have a very similar voting pattern. They are used as lobby fodder and consequently unpopular bills are quickly passed into laws. There is little room left for ‘freedom of thought’, something which the country ironically promotes, as rebelling severely restricts an MPs chances of promotion. And there is no questioning an MPs career ambitions. This whip system weakens the legitimacy of the House. Scratching beneath the surface of a democratic, elected chamber, the House of Commons are passing bills which go completely against the interest of the people, their party, and their manifestos. Is there really any wonder why the House of Lords are rejecting an increasing amount of government policies? The coalition government is a supreme example of an elected dictatorship. Looking back at the 2010 televised debates, when all three party leaders emphasised on their manifestos, Nick Clegg promised the abolition of student fees and David Cameron swore to cut the deficit, not the NHS. It’s almost laughable. And what’s more, the composition of the House of Commons appears to be alienating the public. The amount of career politicians has increased to 20%; they have had no real life experience outside the political arena. Who then, do they represent in society? Furthermore, both political parties have centralised to attract a higher number of voters. Traditionally Labour supports the working class and socialist principles whereas the Conservatives favour the middle-class and the wealthy. Now socialism doesn’t exist in politics and the Conservatives are desperately trying to escape the Thatcher label. Instead of advertising the policies the parties traditionally support, they invent ones that are designed to appeal to a larger number of people... who are then let down. The parties are too similar and people at both ends of the social spectrum simply aren’t represented in the Commons. In Contrast, Tony Blair’s House of Lords reform ended the predominance of the Conservative party and the Life Peerages Act 1958 enabled members of the public, from all parts of society, to be appointed into the upper chamber. Therefore, the Lords is made up of people who have experience in industry, business, the services, and politics and it has no party bias. So despite the issue of a cross on a ballot paper the House of Lords sit in a legitimate position; safeguarding the public from the governments domineering actions. The solution? A whole new system of governance; one that tells the truth.

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The Battle of the Houses; is the Commons Legitimate?

David Cameron's promises.

The House of Lords are seen, by the more liberal of us, to be undemocratic and illegitimate. But when compared with the House of Commons, it’s apparent that the upper chamber has little to live up to. The government do not represent their mandate and in actual fact, the House of Lords is doing much to highlight this.

Recently two very controversial bills have been in the public eye, the Health bill and the Welfare bill. The latter having been blocked by the House of Lords, will come into action in one year’s time under the Parliament Act 1949– which has only been imposed five times by the government since its creation, four of which have been in last 13 years. The House of Lords are evidently becoming more assertive, which is understandably, to the distaste of many as the peers are unelected. On a different slant however, the upper chamber are acting for the good of the people in response to an increasingly aggressive House of Commons.

The lower chamber uses a party whip system which means that MPs are to follow their party’s priorities when voting for or against a proposed bill. As a result, the MPs belonging to the same party all have a very similar voting pattern. They are used as lobby fodder and consequently unpopular bills are quickly passed into laws. There is little room left for ‘freedom of thought’, something which the country ironically promotes, as rebelling severely restricts an MPs chances of promotion. And there is no questioning an MPs career ambitions.

This whip system weakens the legitimacy of the House. Scratching beneath the surface of a democratic, elected chamber, the House of Commons are passing bills which go completely against the interest of the people, their party, and their manifestos. Is there really any wonder why the House of Lords are rejecting an increasing amount of government policies?

The coalition government is a supreme example of an elected dictatorship. Looking back at the 2010 televised debates, when all three party leaders emphasised on their manifestos, Nick Clegg promised the abolition of student fees and David Cameron swore to cut the deficit, not the NHS. It’s almost laughable.

And what’s more, the composition of the House of Commons appears to be alienating the public. The amount of career politicians has increased to 20%; they have had no real life experience outside the political arena. Who then, do they represent in society? Furthermore, both political parties have centralised to attract a higher number of voters. Traditionally Labour supports the working class and socialist principles whereas the Conservatives favour the middle-class and the wealthy. Now socialism doesn’t exist in politics and the Conservatives are desperately trying to escape the Thatcher label. Instead of advertising the policies the parties traditionally support, they invent ones that are designed to appeal to a larger number of people… who are then let down. The parties are too similar and people at both ends of the social spectrum simply aren’t represented in the Commons.

In Contrast, Tony Blair’s House of Lords reform ended the predominance of the Conservative party and the Life Peerages Act 1958 enabled members of the public, from all parts of society, to be appointed into the upper chamber. Therefore, the Lords is made up of people who have experience in industry, business, the services, and politics and it has no party bias. So despite the issue of a cross on a ballot paper the House of Lords sit in a legitimate position; safeguarding the public from the governments domineering actions.

The solution? A whole new system of governance; one that tells the truth.

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