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I’ll do it, but only if you’ll help

Pledge “lordsblog2”

"I will 'blog for victory' on the 10th of August by writing a post about the need for House of Lords reform, and link to the Elect the Lords campaign website but only if 20 other bloggers will do the same."

— James Graham, Coordinator, Elect the Lords Campaign

Deadline to sign up by: 7th August 2006
22 people signed up (2 over target)

Country: United Kingdom

More details
The 10th of August will be the 95th anniversary of the passing of the Parliament Act 1911.

The preamble of that act states:

“it is intended to substitute for the House of Lords as it at present exists a Second Chamber constituted on a popular instead of hereditary basis, but such substitution cannot be immediately brought into operation.”

Nearly a century later, we still don't have a Second Chamber constituted on a 'popular basis'. Rather, the removal of most of the hereditaries has been replaced by patronage - Tony Blair has appointed more people to the House of Lords than any other Prime Minister in history.

Last year, on the 94th anniversary, the Elect the Lords campaign organised a blogging event and it was a modest success. A summary of what people wrote can be found here:

Since then, you may have noticed, House of Lords reform has shot up the political agenda. A joint constitutional committee has been established in Parliament and the free vote promised in the 2005 Labour manifesto looks set to happen in the new year.

But there is still resistance to a predominently elected second chamber, let alone a fully elected one. The Leader of the House, Jack Straw has been saying he believes a half-elected, half-appointed model forms the best basis for a consensus. Yet the last time the Commons voted on composition, despite the fact that a majority of MPs favoured a mostly or wholly elected second chamber, all the proposals fell (the proposal for an 80% elected chamber fell by just 3 votes). It is clear that we can afford to take nothing for granted.

So, once again, we'd like the blogging community to help play their part by helping to mark 10 August as "Lords Reform Day". All we're asking you to do is to write about the House of Lords Reform, and add a link to (n.b. this page will be updated shortly). You'll help our campaign enormously by helping to raise awareness on this day, and directing traffic to our site.

As a result of bloggers' efforts for last year's Lords Reform Day, the Elect the Lords website received thousands of extra hits. With the issue now firmly back on the political agenda, we hope to do even better this year. But we need your help!

Many thanks!

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Comments on this pledge

  • Will you submit to a Blogwar on the subject? See to see what I'm talking about.

    I challenge any pro-reformists to put forward a convincing argument.
    Wonko, 11 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I did this last year, and will likely write about it this year, but...

    I'm now completely against a predominantly directly elected Lords. I was never keen; elections aren't the only democratic way of selecting a chamber, and I'm very concerned that a directly elected Lords (which would need a decent electoral system) would remove some support and lessen the chances of a decent (ie STV) system for the Commons itself.

    I'd prefer we pushed for a full convention to sort the whole consitution out, instead of this peacemeal reform that the Govt is slowly instituting.

    I worry that if the Lords change is passed, then other needed but less publicity friendly changes will be delayed, indefinately, again.
    MatGB, 11 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Wonko: I'll happily accept your challenge.

    MatGB: New Politics Network and Charter 88 would certainly agree that an overall constitutional convention is needed (see our recent announcement, but persuading the political establishment to submit to one is an enormous task that isn't going to happen overnight.

    I can't see how democratic Lords reform will stop anything important from happening, let alone the introduction of PR in the Commons which, too, won't be happening any time soon. PR supporters will still support PR and PR opponents will still oppose PR.

    The clear consensus that appears to be emerging is for a second chamber elected in thirds, using significantly larger constituencies than we have for the Commons. As a system, that would complement a FPTP elected Commons and a PR elected Commons - both houses would still have different remits and be constituted differently in order to avoid "duplication" which is what I think you're getting at.

    Ultimately however, I welcome opponents of Lords reform to make their case on 10 August as much as everyone else - all I would ask is that you provide a reciprocal link to our "festival" page.
  • Excellent, and if you want to use the BlogWar page yourself in future just let me know. Drop me a line to arrange a date and time for the Lords reform one -
    Wonko, 11 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • OK, I signed, and wrote a bit about it already:
    but to be clear, I'm not at all worried about duplication, I've read enough about the Aus and US models to know that two strong competing chambers can be a very good thing.

    What I'm worried about if we get Lord reform as a distinct, peacemeal item is that the opponents of reform for the commons will swing the undecideds by using the "you've got PR for the lords, now let's have 'strong governmnet' from the Commons", and we all know that the FPTP=strong Govt myth is a fallacy that's very hard to debunk effectively.

    It's not those in favour, or those opposed, that I worry about, it's those in the middle, if we get Lords reform on its own, then the real reforms we need to governance may get sidelined, again. But was very pleased to get the NPN/C-88 merger email, guess I ought to check I'm still actually a member of one or the other in order to vote yes...
  • FPTPers will always claim that FPTP = strong government, and they will always claim exceptionalism for the House of Commons (or, more precisely, any body that has FPTP - the logical inconsistency that some have for defending PR for devolved assemblies but saying it shouldn't apply to local government is absurd).

    The fact remains that the strong government argument is weakening - fewer people voted for the Big Two parties in the last general election than ever before (and that's leaving aside those who didn't vote at all). That's forcing the FPTP system to do very odd things. Personally, I'm confident that will have a far greater impact on the "undecideds" than whatever system we happen to have in the House of Lords.
  • We don't need strong government, we need intelligent, consensual, democratic government. It is nonsense to suggest that reforming the Lords will prevent reform of the Commons; on the contrary, once people see one reformed chamber in action, they will be all the more easily convinced that new operational practices will be beneficial elsewhere. Look at what has happened in Scotland - it took decades to win the case for devolution, but STV for council elections has followed immediately after.
  • Bernie, I hope you're right (and I agree completely about consensual vs strong), and have signed up. I'm just deeply cynical about Commons MPs accepting change to the way they're elected; it would mean no safe seats, no gravy train, and a redistribution geographically of where the MPs are, so a lot of them would lose their current seats by default.

    That's a lot of work to get them to agree to, and it might be easier if we could get it sorted out at the same time, as they could be adopted as Lords candidates, etc. It's not what's right that matters.

    It's what you get get passed. Still, am on board, just, well, with caveats. As James says, debate is good.
  • Really? Despite the fact that he has stated he doesn't want to be a Lord and his predeccessor (John Major) declined a seat in the LordS?
  • True, but then John Major wasn't obsessed with power. (This may have been related to the fact that he never had any).
  • Dear Richard and the SOCPA Protest,

    We would like to invite you to a link at our new website, the Million Campaign Homepage.

    We are giving away 1,000,000 pixels to 1,600 co-operative and not-for-profit groups working within and from the UK who are furthering social and environmental harmony.

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    Please email

    In solidarity,

    Matthew Edwards
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Current signatories (Green text = they've done it)

James Graham, the Pledge Creator, joined by:

  • John Band
  • Will Howells
  • Phil Edwards
  • Dave Lambert
  • Gavin Whenman
  • Stephen Glenn
  • Bernie Hughes
  • Kerron Cross
  • Mat Bowles
  • Aaron J Trevena
  • Alan Sharp
  • Sir Arthur Grebe-Streebling
  • Ellie Hutchinson
  • Kate
  • Alexandra Runswick
  • Stephen Newton
  • Susanne Lamido
  • Jana Mills
  • Keith Wilson
  • Duncan Money
  • Luke Akehurst
  • 1 person who did not want to give their name

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