quinta-feira, 12 de julho de 2012

Não há nada mais politicamente vulgar do que democratizar a House of Lords



A edição desta semana da The Economist traz dois textos sobre o projeto que prevê mudanças na House of Lords. Uma parte de seus membros passaria a ser eleita. Um dos argumentos seria a democratização do acesso à Casa. Inegável. Mas, pergunto: democratizar a House of Lords é algo bom e necessário? Sim, cavalheiros, com esse atual Partido Conservador nem é necessário um Partido Trabalhista para por em causa os princípios Conservadores.

Constitutional reform Lording it  
Britain’s Parliament is deadlocked over House of Lords reform. Let the people decide
REFORMING the House of Lords to make it more democratic is one of those things that most Britons agree with but almost nobody really wants to do. It has been argued over, off and on, for a century. It appeared in the election manifestos of all three major parties in 2010. On July 10th the House of Commons finally approved a bill that would create a four-fifths elected upper chamber. But the prospect of heavy defeat on a measure to set a timetable for debate means the legislation has stalled. Lords reform—and, with it, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition—dangles precariously.
Opponents, who style themselves “the sensibles”, are in their pomp. More Conservative MPs voted against House of Lords reform than voted last year to call for a referendum on membership of the European Union—generally thought the party’s most caffeinated issue. Labour, which in theory favours an elected upper house, is determined to string out the debate, so as to aggravate tensions between pro-reform Liberal Democrats and a divided Conservative Party. The lords themselves will surely dig in against change. Two questions emerge from this mess: is House of Lords reform worth fighting for? And what should the government do now?
The principle behind Lords reform is simple and right: those who shape the laws of the land should be chosen by voters. Most of the world’s upper houses are elected, either directly or by regional parliaments (former British colonies are prominent among the exceptions). Countries with elected upper houses tend not to clamour for less democracy. Britain should join them, with a wholly elected upper chamber.
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Reforming the House of Lords The coalition’s millstone The government self-harms over a proposal to give Britain an elected upper house
WHEN Britain last tinkered with the House of Lords, opponents foresaw a terrible future. Peter Hitchens, writing in the Daily Mail, worried that removing hereditary peers and replacing them with members appointed by the government was “the road to the British Reich”. Even Hugo Young, in the left-wing Guardian, thought the changes would result in an “impotent” upper house. More than a decade after that reform took place, the shires are still free of brownshirts and the lords are more inclined than ever to frustrate the government of the day. Yet there is still nothing quite like House of Lords reform to bubble the blood.
Late on July 10th rebellious Conservative MPs prevailed in a legislative wrangle over whether to give time to a bill aimed at making Britain’s upper house largely elected. The Labour Party, which supports Lords reform in principle, declined to help the government out, and the vote was pulled at the last minute to avoid an embarrassing defeat. The government will try again, probably with an altered reform package, when MPs return from their summer break.
Acho que uma resposta adequada, dentre outras, é a esboçada por Peter Hitchens, colunista do Daily Mail:
The idea that a mainly hereditary House was superior in every way (which it was, because it was entirely outside the power of the whips and had the right sort of powers for a revising chamber , that is delay and obstruction, but a veto only over major constitutional change) is now considered an absurdity by the so-called Conservative Party. As with every piece of ground this party gives up as it retreats before the social, cultural, sexual and ultimately political revolutionaries of the 1960s left, it has no understanding of, or liking for, the things it is supposed to defend. So once it has given them up, usually by running away from a fight, it never occurs to it to recapture the ground lost. It becomes, bit by bit, the image of its opponents, until it is actually part of the revolution itself. 
An appointed House is in the end indefensible. On what principle is it chosen? Either you worship at the altar of 'democracy' or you defend the force of tradition and inheritance.
But an appointed House? What principle does that stand for? The principle of the liberal elite picking its own friends, that's what. You can go on, till dusk falls and the bats come out, about contriving an 'impartial' body to appoint your new peers, but who will appoint it? Impartiality, as the BBC has shown, tends to mean an impartial adherence to the consensus, to conventional wisdom and to a quiet life.

Here's a conservative principle, that tradition, inheritance and nobility are things which are good in themselves, coupled with a sensible scepticism about that upstart idea called ‘democracy’ – which in Parliament means that the members are chosen, controlled, rewarded and punished by a centrally-directed party machine subject to the executive. It is precisely because of this last fact that the idea that the recent revolt was a genuine defiance of Downing Street’s wishes is so absurd. So far as I can see, Mr Jesse Norman is in trouble not for voting against the whips, but for openly proclaiming in an e-mail that a vote against restricting debate on the Bill (and so effectively throttling it) would be welcomed by the Prime Minister.