Get rid of Lords, not our MPs

The Oban Times - - News - MARTIN LAING mlaing@oban­times.co.uk

THE New Year’s hon­ours were an­nounced last week and saw a num­ber of lo­cal peo­ple re­warded for their com­mit­ment to our com­mu­ni­ties and other causes.

Some peo­ple, how­ever, ob­ject in prin­ci­ple to the sys­tem of hon­our­ing, sug­gest­ing it is elit­ist and di­vi­sive. Knight­ing men and mak­ing women dames, or ad­min­is­ter­ing the var­i­ous other gongs to recog­nise achieve­ments comes in for flak.

There are also those who cam­paign against the United King­dom’s up­per house at West­min­ster and the cre­ation of new lords and ladies.

Per­son­ally, I’ve noth­ing against the New Year’s hon­ours – or Queen’s birth­day hon­ours – as a way in which to con­grat­u­late self­less con­trib­u­tors to civic so­ci­ety.

There is, how­ever, a huge de­gree of hypocrisy from suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments of dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal hues over us­ing the Lords to re­ward fi­nan­cial bene­fac­tors or politi­cians.

At present, there are pro­pos­als out to con­sul­ta­tion to re­duce the num­ber of MPs to save tax­pay­ers’ money. Th­ese sug­ges­tions in­clude al­ter­ing the con­stituen­cies cov­er­ing Ar­gyll and Bute and the High­lands and Is­lands by drop­ping one of our MPs.

What’s more, Bren­dan O’Hara (cur­rently Ar­gyll and Bute) and Ian Black­ford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) will see their cur­rent con­stituen­cies grow even larger, as­sum­ing they are se­lected to stand again and win.

But this comes at a time when the Lords is be­com­ing ever more bloated with un­elected peo­ple. Did you know there are now more than 800 mem­bers of the Lords, com­pared to the Com­mons, which has 650?

Prime min­is­ter af­ter prime min­is­ter has used en­no­ble­ment as a means of pa­tron­age to favour party po­lit­i­cal sup­port­ers.

Never mind cut­ting the num­ber of MPs in our huge ru­ral area – let’s slash and burn through the ap­pointed, priv­i­leged and un­elected House of Lords.

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