We find ourselves in an odd situation right now. Our soon to be lord and master Osborne is determined to push through his cuts to tax credits despite the vast host of people telling him it’s a bad idea.
Parliament did its usual turn to jelly and wobbled the bill through and it’s now in the Lords who are complaining about being bullied and threatened in the middle of all sorts of wild stories about how the house of lords is going to kill the bill.
Which is the odd situation and one that leaves me in the middle of the fuzzy grey area that is this whole mess.
The house of lords is an anachronism, a holdover from the democratic dark ages when kings ruled by the will of god and the nobles were granted access to power, or took it by force or arms, in the house of lords.
You could almost trace the history of the lords back 1,200 years to the council of advisors to the Anglo Saxon kings though it’s more common origins date to the 14th century when the pleb, the peasants and the commoners were formed into the House of the commoners and the lords of the realm, the Bishops and some other senior clergy (Lords Spiritual) and noblemen (Lords Temporal) came together in the House of Lords.
700 years later and we still have a bunch of lords sitting in the house, either because they had the good fortune to be born to a noble woman married to a senior title, or a god botherer or a serious ass kisser in politics.
You only have to look at the peers list each year to see a pack of political sycophants and big donators, lordship is the icing on the cake of a career in one of the big three parties, the next step on the old boys network ladder.
Over 800 of the useless buggers drawing their princely purse of gold for turning up each day then going for breakfast or lunch in the subsidised restaurant before wandering off to do something more interesting.
Probably the finest example of the type is one who recently made the papers for being declared mentally incapable of being subject to a court investigation into child abuse he was alleged to have committed but was still turning up at the lords and getting paid for it. Too senile to be tried, fine to serve in the house of lords!
Now we have the cuts to tax credits, they have been well documented and the impact on the poor has also been we;; documented. Eight in ten people will not be worse off, its the other 12,000,000 who are going to be shafted. Twelve million or so looking at hundreds or a thousand plus pounds less in what they have to pay the bills and put food on the table.
Oh well as it’s only two in ten that’s fine then, nothing to worry about.
Unless you happen to be one of the many millions, but they’re poor and most don’t vote Tory so our government doesn’t care.
Which brings us to the tangled mess. Not just the possibility that the lords could block the cuts to tax credits but the fact that they seem to have the power to do so!
We live in a sort of democracy, people vote and through the twisted and biased system that is first past the post we get a bunch of Oligarchs for the next five years. Fool enough people into voting for you and you get another term in government. Good and bad the democratic system gave us the Tory government, as corrupt as the system is it’s still a dammed sight more democratic that a bunch of lords who either kissed the right backsides or had the random luck to have the right mother.
Which is why I find myself torn. On the one hand the tax credit cuts are cruel and uncaring, the latest and greatest expression of the oppression of the poor and less well off that is Tory Austerity. But it was voted through in Parliament, our democratic representatives said yes, so is it right that it be blocked by as undemocratic and inherently corrupt or nepotistic a body as the lords.
It’s like hoping one Evil acts to block another Evil. The result will never be Good, just less Evil.
Good, bad and ugly we have a creaking and groaning democratic system, the will of the people made manifest and the intent of the majority imposed on the body politic. That’s the point of a democracy, the most votes get to tell the rest what to do, the heart of PR, count the votes, the corruption of FPtP, fool just enough people to get one more vote than anyone else.
If we applaud or encourage a system where unelected lords can overthrow the democratic representatives we have done the Tory job for them and gone back before Dickens to the time of Kings and peasants.
Regardless of the threats to dissolve the house of lords (Never Happen under any Tory/Lib Dem/Labour government) or packing it with Tories by adding a hundred Tory peers (far more likely) if we allow or even support the lords overthrowing a parliamentary vote we can kiss goodbye to any claim to be a democracy.
Because we won’t be and burning the lords down with them inside won’t change the fact that a bunch of unelected lords, bishops and party donors overturned our democracy.
Many Tories in the back benches claimed to be worried about the tax credit cuts, many privately said how they would hurt their voters and constituents. None of the front bench though, the cabinet is either well cowed or a bunch of uncaring bar stewards.
But how many of those Tories who were so worried about the pain and suffering these cruel cuts voted against the bill, exactly how many Tories voted no?
Anyone want to name names, what about Boris who spoke against the cuts, or MP Hiedi Allen who used her first speech to oppose them. After all the words, exactly how many Tories voted against the cuts, closest number wins.
NONE, NOT ONE. NOT A SINGLE TORY VOTED AGAINST THE CUTS!
But that’s democracy, 23% of the entire electorate, 37% of those who voted picked the Tories and because of First past the post we got a Tory government. Well that’s democracy, the good, the bad and the ugly. People have to take responsibility for their votes, Labour didn’t present a viable opposition, too many people believed the Tory lies. Maybe next time you will vote differently, probably not.
But the tax credit cuts is the result of our democratic process, our chosen MPs voted on in and more of them are in favour of cruelty and suffering than were against. Take a good look at your MP for the blame.
As much as this bill will hurt the poor the place to stop it is within our democratic system, if you voted for a Tory or have a Tory MP go talk to them and explain to them just how much harm those two in ten will suffer. Make the MPs aware, give them nowhere to hide from the truth.
Defeat the cuts in parliament, in our democracy.
Stopping the cuts in the lords solves one problem and will protect millions of poor people from yet more Tory oppression and torment but it will create an even worse problem in that it undercuts the very concept of democracy.
Our democracy isn’t much these days but it’s all we have, if we destroy it the pain will be far worse and for everyone. The lords blocking the cuts is a short term win for millions and a long term loss for the country.
Oh Lords, what a mess indeed.