Parliamentary reform is often a bit of a bore. People in general are not really interested in it, unless you’re in at a Lib Dem conference! But even now it seems there are ever more important things to talk about. As there are, the state of the economy, schools, NHS there are a vast number of policy areas that directly affect people’s every day lives so political reform always seems very distant from what the average person on the street wants.
However, ask someone which job is the most despised in society and you will often hear politicians topping that list (regardless of their creed, and usually above even bankers!). There is a reason for this, partly because the government has had to make a number of unpopular decisions as a result of the economic mess we find ourselves in, but more generally because there is a huge disconnect between the people and politicians.
It is easy to see the “us versus them” arguments everyday, and it is because there is a huge democratic deficit that exists in the UK. Many people hear from their politicians at a general election, and for most of us that is the last we hear of them until the next one – or until they make a huge gaff!
This is even worse in the House of Lords where a bunch of politicians who have either retired or been voted out by the public are given a second life and a pension plan to boot!
This year’s Lib Dem conference saw a motion calling for the our MPs and Lords to support House of Lords Reform. The amendment to this motion stated that if a part of the coalition agreement was changed it would necessitate a change to another related part of the coalition agreement – in this case the boundary changes.
This motioned passed, it reaffirmed the Lib Dems support of reforming the House of Lords, to reduce the number of Lords and to have them democratically elected. This will be in our next manifesto and we will continue to fight for it!