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Carrying on with the current rotten set up weakens democracy.

Byline: Bernard Trafford

Spolitical. I don't normally do politics. Frankly, find that few Westminster politicians do anything for me.

They strut and posture. They promise much and deliver little. They constantly meddle with area of work, education.

But no party, it seems to represents the ordinary citizen: the top or the bottom of the heap, but those of us in the middle.

They say they do. Ed Miliband busy reclaiming (or claiming to the votes and the voice ordinary people. But he doesn't or speak for us.

A week ago, I still agreed with those who regarded reform of House of Lords as a sideshow; given the current economic imperatives, an irrelevant waste of money. One reason why I disliked the idea a fully-elected House of Lords lay the party squabbling we already in both general and local elections.

It always seemed a dismal prospect to extend the same unedifying practices into the Lords with has-election of a Westminster Upper Chamber (let alone a 'Tyneside Boris'); more tribal point-scoring from all three sides, drearily reiterated partyline messages and little personality or original thought.

previous both Labour Then I read that Tony Blair fancies a return to politics.

He's too important and too busy, however, to seek a Commons seat. No, it appears he wants a fast-track, ticket straight back into power.

Under the present system he have it. Given a life peerage, unaccountable, he'd be right back in at the top.

He'd be in good company. John Prescott, his former Deputy and (I thought) pretty hostile to Lords, now sits there. The benches the Lords are stuffed with ageing has-beens from previous Cabinets, both Tory and Labour.

Sometimes, to be sure, gifted people have been brought in either to do specific jobs or to add wisdom. The last government brought in Lord Adonis to education, Lord Sainsbury to science and innovation - two able people whether you agree with them or not - and Lord Winston, for being awfully clever.

our leaders: it's not democratic those leaders simply pull their friends and supporters into government, however bright they may be. Since I'm not politically active, thought-process about all this probably way behind everyone else's, including anyone who's still reading this column by this point. But here's my newly-clarified thinking.

We do need reform to the House Lords, and soon. I'm not mounting one-man campaign to stop Tony Blair getting back into politics by the back door, but that high-profile example illustrates precisely what is wrong with the Upper House.

It can't be performing a democratic function when outgoing incoming governments pack it with their own nominees, a mixture, I've said, of left-overs from previous administrations with a leavening celebrity thinkers.

benches of the are stuffed political wrangling and even more elections people can't bothered to turn for. But what's the Patronage, cronyism: jobs for the boys.

ageing from Cabinets, and I haven't forgotten that in this column recently sang praises of our local North Eastern peers who have worked hard on ground in political or other spheres and now genuinely add wisdom the Lords.

But they are hugely outnumbered by those time-servers for whom I only contempt.

If we're not going to have a truly democratically elected Upper Chamber, there is no point in having Lords.

Quite the opposite: it actually weakens our democracy. Think about it.

For Parliament to perpetuate current rotten set-up would be crazy as creating a hereditary system in which peers' sons or daughters could take their seat in the Lords when they die.

That would never be allowed. Would it? Dr Bernard Trafford is headmaster of Newcastle's Royal Grammar School. The views expressed here are personal
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 10, 2012
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