I dislike identity politics. And by “dislike” I mean frothing-at-the-mouth, tinfoil-hat-wearing hatred. The faux-left in the UK and elsewhere seems absolutely obsessed with dividing the population into ever smaller categories and with Orwellian newspeak to distinguish those categories. Just today I came across a new term – “transmisogyny” – in an article in the Independent that seeks to justify curtailing the right to freedom of speech. I have quoted sources as varied as Malcolm X and Tom Watson (a nineteenth century US Congressman) to back up my argument that the only people who gain from this division of society into mutually-antagonistic tribes are the rich. The apostles of identity politics, most of whom are minted (it’s easy to care about the toileting arrangements of transgender battery hens when you don’t have to worry about the rent), are distracting people (deliberately?) from the ongoing class war of the rich against everyone else. Such is the background to the ongoing scandal of the House of Lords.
The Sunday Times published this article on 2nd April 2017. The House of Lords is the very pinnacle of the venal and corrupt Establishment in the UK. Not one of these “noble” Lords has been elected; they all owe their position to an accident of birth or to corrupt political patronage. In many cases, people have been made members of the House of Lords by donating money to one of the main (Establishment) political parties – they didn’t even have to bother being lobby fodder in the House of Commons for a couple of decades to “earn” their ermine.
The Sunday Times reveals that the absurd £300-a-day allowance for turning up to the House of Lords is being exploiting by some of the richest people in Britain. Lord Swraj Paul, worth an estimated £2billion, claimed £40,800 despite making no contributions in the chamber or in committees. Paul has form for corruption, he was suspended in 2009 for fiddling his expenses. If Paul really is the philanthropist he claims to be, why is he claiming so much money for doing such “charitable” work? And isn’t 40,000 quid chicken feed to someone who has 2 billion?
But the UK Establishment always protects its own (cough, the BBC, cough, Jimmy Savile, cough). Paul White, Lord Hanningfield, features in the article because he claimed £3,300 for 11 days of attendance in 2015-16 when he contributed to no votes and only one debate. Like Paul, White has form – he was jailed for fiddling his expenses in 2011 and was investigated by the police for fraudulent use of a council credit card when he was leader of Essex County Council. White only served a couple of months of his ludicrously short nine-month sentence and was back in the House of Lords only six months after being released.
These abuses of power by the Establishment and the protection afforded to thieves – let’s actually call them what they are – like Paul and White should be the subject of determined campaigns by the left not the toileting arrangements of 0.3% of the population.
As Louis XVI’s minster’s found with the ancien regime or Mikhail Gorbachev found with the neo-Stalinist Soviet economy he inherited from Leonid Brezhnev, some things are so rotten they cannot be reformed, they can only be ended. So it is with the sink of corruption that is the House of Lords. And to that end I propose the following system for a new upper house…
For a start, the new upper house should be limited to 200 members. Members would be limited to one 15 year term of office. The composition of the upper house would reflect the share of the vote of all parties in the previous three general elections. Fifty new members would take their seats after each general election, so after three elections 150 members would have been replaced. The other 50 members would be chosen at random from the population in the same way juries are chosen and these members would serve only a single five year term of office.
No doubt that my proposed system has its weaknesses but it is vastly superior to the current system of a bloated and corrupt house of sycophants appointed by the Establishment for services rendered.