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Labour peers are going up in the world

There’s always been something a bit embarrassing about Labour peers, like those elderly relatives you try to avoid at a family event. Some of them, of course, have a worthy past, and a few of them work hard and take home less in expenses than they could for a senior political job on their local council. Rather more of them were kicked upstairs to make room for a favoured son with a parachute on his back, or rewarded for their loyalty and the occasional fat cheque. Anyway, we don’t really approve of the place.

Today, it’s all different. It’s not going to be too long before they’re mainly elected and they’re doing a great job: trying to prevent a serious constitutional wrong — a significant reduction in the number of MPs in order to give Coalition parties maximum advantage in gerrymandered boundary changes as we previously discussed here. Some call it filibustering. Labour’s former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, denies it, saying it’s scrutiny. But we’re indifferent — filibustering a gerrymander is a case of two wrongs making a right.

A number of noble Lords have stayed up through the night, having already talked through nine days of scrutinising a bill that is being rushed through, on the pretext of needing an early referendum on AV, in spite of a complete absence of prior consultation, debate and discussion. Labour Peers are not trying to stop the AV referendum which ought to be in a separate bill anyway. They are going to carry on. All power to their noble elbows.

It does make us wonder whether they can soon break out of their twilight status in the Labour movement. Once they’re elected (most of them anyway), removing the key obstacle to their assumption of a proper status in the ranks of the movement’s leading representatives. Provided they are selected by the party in some democratic fashion — wouldn’t that be a nice innovation — we can’t see why they shouldn’t be accorded the role of other members of parliament. Maybe even a share in their third of the electoral college for choosing our Leader. Recognition indeed.

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