Thursday, 4 March 2010

Lords A Leaping, Some Reasons For Change

If you paid a scriptwriter to make up some reasons to abolish the House of Lords, I doubt he would do as good a job as they are managing themselves.

In the headlines now is Baron Ashcroft of Belize. Since 2001 Ashcroft has given £5,160,915 to the Tories. He was given his peerage after promising to become a "permanent" UK resident, rather than a non dom where he did not have to pay UK taxes on overseas earnings. But this was later changed to "long-term resident" - a lesser commitment - after discussions with civil servants. Tory deputy chairman and donor Lord Ashcroft revealed this week that he had been non-domiciled for tax purposes for the past decade.

On a similar theme, Labour have a troika of of non-dom donors, Lords Mittal, Cohen and Paul have given £6,734,250. Mittal bought a bit of corporate lobbying after a donation of £4 million. Tony Blair lobbied for Mittal’s business interests when he was still Prime Minister. Ronnie Cohen, PFI profiteer and non-domiciled donor?

Lord Paul – £69,250 in donations to Labour, including £45,000 to Gordon Brown’s leadership campaign. A close friend of Gordon Brown and appointed to the Privy Council last summer, he has admitted to being ‘non-dom’. Lord Paul put up one fifth of the money for Gordon’s leadership campaign.

Alan Johnson said that Michael Ashcroft is "basically unpatriotic because he has remained a non dom." I'm sure loyal Labour donors Paul, Cohen and Mittal will like that.

I don't even need to mention Baron Mandleson.

Lib Dem Lord Falkland, the 15th viscount, designated a converted oast house in Kent as his main residence so he could collect allowances. Yet neither he nor his wife owns or rents the property. It actually belongs to his wife’s aunt, who also pays the utility and telephone bills. By saying his main residence was outside London, he was able to claim £174 a night for accommodation in the capital. “I am quite prepared to accept the fact that a loophole has been here and a number of us have exploited it, there’s no doubt about that.”

Lib Dem Baroness Jenny Tonge was sacked after spreading lies about Israelis organ trafficking in Haiti. George Monbiot calls her 'a bully in ermine'; and says he has found a 'clinching argument for closing the House of Lords. It is the presence in that chamber of a peer called Lady Tonge of Kew.' She made some unfortunate remarks about Botswana Bushmen, the government want to evict them to exploit the land, she is on the side of the exploiters.

No need to mention Michael Brown.

These are just symptoms of a dodgy corrupt system, we need to think again time for a change.
Perhaps its time for a fully elected chamber. And a mechanism for ejecting the offenders.

1 comment:

howard thomas said...

We laughingly call our system a democracy while we still have an unelected 2nd chamber. Worse still thew members of that chamber are regularly seconded to the government into important positions,apparantly 11 at the moment with Mandleson being the most noteworty. And then we preach 'democacy' around the world.
This practice should end as soon as possible in order that we become more like a proper democracy.
I happen to know of a lady who is likely to be offered a seat in the lords purely because she has done a lot of work for her that really a right thing to happen?
Our system stinks