The House of Lords to the rescue? An Existential Crisis

I’m in a bit of a dilemma. As a republican, I cry myself to sleep at night remembering that the House of Lords is still a thing. As a lefty I cry when I wake up remembering that the Tories are in power. So I’m not quite sure what to do when the two go up against each other.

The Conservative government announced their intentions to pass legislation abolishing the system of child poverty targets in July, to the dismay of everyone who likes children and/or the poor. The bill would remove household income from the list of child poverty indicators and would have binned the target to end child poverty by 2020. Instead the focus would be on educational attainment, worklessness and addiction, and average household income would just be a statistic published by the government with no legal requirement to do anything about it. It has been clear to experts for a while that targets set by the last Labour government on reducing child poverty were never going to be met. The government decided to not only shift the goalposts, but demolish them.

Fortunately for poor people, the bill was confronted by the liberal stalwart in our governmental system –the House of Lords. Liberal Democrats and Labour outnumber the Conservatives in the house which places us in the odd situation where the hereditary house is relatively lefty in comparison. We also have the lords to thank for retaining tax credits (except for Andrew Lloyd-Webber, fuck you, Cats is pretentious). They voted to keep the targets, sending the bill back to the House of Commons to be reconsidered.

It concerns me that a chamber containing members called “Lord Ivon Anthony Moore-Brabazon of Tara” and “Rupert Charles Ponsonby, 7th Baron de Mauley” is not a Game of Thrones invention but an actual institution in 21st century Britain, but right now they seem to be the only thing stopping the Tories from going entirely King Joffrey on us peasants. Three “huzzahs” for the Right Honourables!  

It feels like we’ve come down to a battle over the lesser of two evils. So, who else is for finally removing this outdated system once and for all, and scrapping the House of Commons?

 

[Louise Wylie]

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