The new year may be young, but already the institutions of the British establishment are fraught with crisis.
The first month of the new Johnson government has been defined by the art of the gimmick. First came the Brexit-bong that never was. And now mutterings have emerged about the Lords being permanently relocated out of London in an effort to “reconnect politics with voters”. York and Birmingham have both been mooted as possible locations.
This is a pantomime of decentralised power. Does the government believe, as one peer quipped, that voters along the ‘Red Wall’ lent the Tories their votes because they were longing for more corrupt politicians to be sent to them?
Johnson and his Etonian clique can only offer hollow gestures like this to workers and youth. These stunts are a thin veneer over the contempt the Tories really hold towards working-class communities. They will not bring workers an inch closer to taking control over their own lives.
There are more unelected renegades in the House of Lords than elected MPs in the Commons. This alone reveals what a sham bourgeois democracy is. In fact, almost a third of the 800 peers barely participated in parliamentary business last year. Yet they still managed to collectively claim almost £3.2 million in expenses. Why rock the boat when the state looks after you so comfortably?
Jeremy Corbyn has also raised eyebrows over his reported nominations for peerages. For example, John Bercow, the former Speaker of the House of Commons, was a puppet for the liberal establishment. He should not be garnering any praise from a Labour leader.
The reported nomination of Tom Watson, meanwhile, is truly bizarre. There should be no reward for a man who has spent the last five years consistently undermining the Corbyn movement and sabotaging the Labour Party.
These nominations if true are especially troubling in light of Corbyn’s previous commitment to abolish the Lords entirely.
All of these recent events mean that our unelected Upper Chamber is back in the spotlight. Very good! The more ordinary people see of the pomp and pageantry of these slippery creatures, ermine-clad party donors, lobbyists, and the odd bishop, the more evident it is that they are a completely obsolete anachronism.
Moving these scoundrels to the north is no solution. We agree with Rebecca Long-Bailey on this subject: tinkering with this moribund institution changes nothing. Abolish this feudal relic!