Interesting exchange on Reddit

Here: Interesting exchange on Reddit

Small and oblique = extract from the petition
Large and oblique = comment
Normal text = my reply
As things stand, the future of Parliament’s second chamber (the Lords) is going to be decided by the first chamber (the Commons). It’s like the criminals deciding the make-up of the judiciary.
At the moment, the government decide the exact makeup of the House of Lords through appointments. They are proposing that they give up that right, and allow the public to choose the makeup through proportional representation.

It sounds great the way you put it.

But it will still be more of the same: here’s a bunch of party hacks, which would you like?

For many of us the answer is ‘neither’, we recognize that the second chamber must be different to be effective.

We, the people of the United Kingdom, demand our right to choose the future make-up of the House of Lords. We demand a referendum…
That’s what the governments proposals are — the public chooses. This petition is demanding the public vote on whether the public should be allowed vote on the makeup of the House of Lords. While we’re at it, why doesn’t the public vote on whether the public should be allowed vote on whether the public should be allowed vote on the makeup of the House of Lords?

Delightfully put. But you are misunderstanding.

The petition is demanding that the people get to consider a range of options including, but not limited to, popular elections.

Some people (who are neither MPs nor peers) think that the status quo is better than another elected house. Others favour a ‘house of experts’.
Both groups are being denied a say.

See this comment from a member of the public to a BBC article on the subject:

“Get the politicians OUT of the House of Lords. The whole point about it is that it is a different forum to the Commons. Only politicians could possibly think the answer to everything is more politicians!”
… and enough time and opportunity for a full popular debate.
The bill has been given a whole year for pre-legislative scrutiny…

Pre-legislative scrutiny by politicians of a proposal that is in the vested interests of politicians.

…That’s pretty much unheard of, you can’t really ask for more…

They’ve done more than usual so we should be happy. How gracious of them.

Don’t forget that this isn’t just some ordinary piece of proposed legislation.

How we make decisions is the most important decision we make.

We, and our children and grand-children, will have to live with the consequences, potentially for ever.

So we should ask for more. Indeed, we should demand the opportunity to vote for our ideas for the make-up of our parliament.

…The vested interests who want to retain the status quo will have plenty of time to pick apart the proposals and water them down.

You are happy that parliament decides what happens to the second chamber because you like the way it’s going.

How can a house of whipped, party politicians scrutinize the bills of a house of whipped, party politicians?

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Telegraph: Nick Clegg’s Lords reform plans criticised by MPs and peers

Nick Clegg’s Lords reform plans criticised by MPs and peers — By Christopher Hope, Whitehall Editor 6:45PM BST 17 May 2011

Labour peers’ leader Baroness Royall of Blaisdon dismissed it as a “damp squib” and a “little mouse” and called for a referendum before any substantive changes were made to the House of Lords.

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BBC: Elected House of Lords reform plans to be unveiled

BBC: Elected House of Lords reform plans to be unveiled — 2011-05-17 — By James Landale Deputy Political Editor, BBC News

The draft bill will be tucked discreetly at the back of a White Paper containing as many options as there are proposals.

All the detail will now be considered by a joint committee of both houses of Parliament that will be asked to report by next February.

In theory the government would like to be able to respond to the committee by the spring so it is in a position to put forward a proper, all-singing, all-dancing bill in the next Queen’s speech in May 2012.

Many peers oppose an elected second chamber because they fear it will politicise their house, depriving it of independent expertise, knowledge and wisdom, and filling it instead with party apparatchiks.

And many MPs oppose an elected second chamber because they fear it will be more assertive with its new found elective legitimacy, and challenge the supremacy of the House of Commons.

The likelihood is that if the government wants to get this through, it will probably at some stage have to use the Parliament Acts to override the Lords and force the changes through against their will, something that has only been done four times in the last century.

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Welcome

So far, two petitions:

Please sign/vote.

Referendum on the future of the House of Lords

38 Degrees — Campaign suggestion — A referendum on the future of the Lords

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