While no-one would dispute that the UK system of democratic government has many flaws (as does every single democratic country in the world), it is quite wrong of Gerry Hassan (14 April 2021
) to state that the House of Lords makes laws. The House of Lords is involved in examining and suggesting changes to laws proposed by the government. That is not the same as making laws.
There are many things wrong also with the way people are awarded seats in the House of Lords but the general concept of an upper chamber is a good one and is sadly lacking in Holyrood, another parliament with many flaws.
What Gerry Hassan describes may all be so. But at least Britain has a system of government that has slowly evolved and is evolving. It may not be perfect, but no-one in their right senses has ever thought it was, and looking around the world today one cannot really believe that any better system exists. Certainly the effectively one-party rule of the SNP is no example to be proud of! And no sensible person wishes for a revolution where the outcome is unpredictable and potentially dire.
Really impressed with Gerry Hassan's piece in SR last week. Much of it reflects my own ideas on the British establishment and the stranglehold it has on the workings of our flawed democracy. I have recognised in medicine and in many fields that the people at the top of organisations ('Royal' Colleges of course, charities, etc) reach a point where they can either tow the line in expectation of a 'title' or an 'honour' or do something radical that would actually improve the lot of the great unwashed.
We definitely need to reduce the monarchy to the level of private citizens, with no ability to influence the workings of our democracy. And, of course, the House of Lords should be abolished, perhaps a sort of senate established, or perhaps best of all the whole of the UK should mirror the Scottish Model, where everyone's vote counts and Green politicians can exercise a power they deserve but don't get in the rest of the UK. What is the point of a democracy where your vote will have no effect on the outcome of the election because of the first-past-the-post system?
There might have been an opportunity in the election which teamed up Cameron and Clegg whereby the Liberal Democrats would have refused to join either party unless there was a reform of the voting system, but Clegg was so greedy for power that he blew it. We might not be in this independence debate if things had worked out differently and reform had been pursued.
If independence fails in May, a Scottish Government should definitely press for voting reform across the UK. Perhaps even if we became independent.
Regular readers of SR will now know that I am its leading tipster having given the winner of the Scottish Grand National in my recent article on horse racing (31 March 2021
). Well done to Mighty Thunder and its brilliant jockey Tom Scudamore who guided the horse so carefully at Ayr; and to Lucinda Russell, Mighty Thunder's wonderful trainer and to all her staff involved in the win (and commiserations to jockey Blair Campbell who would have ridden it had he not been injured in a previous meeting).
Sadly though, the main point of my article held, and that is that the Aintree Grand National is simply too dangerous; another horse, The Long Mile, paid the ultimate price at Aintree this year. This race, the Aintree one, is simply a step too far and needs to be re-assessed as to number of entrants, horse grading accepted, and the number and difficulty of its jumps. I will never give a tip on the Aintree Grand National until such is carried out. But do look out for my tip for next year's Scottish Grand National!
(writer and tipster, Glasgow)
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