Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tangled Webs and Turkeys



So much to talk about, so little time.....

The big story at the beginning of the week, of course, was the Lord Levy revelation. Well, not so much a revelation as a tiny shard of light on an ever murkier business. There is an old adage that says "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive", and it is now this, rather than the original sin of selling honours for cash, that seems to be permeating No. 10 Downing Street. Whether or not Lord Levy did seek to pressure No. 10 aide Ruth Turner into altering her recollections remains to be seen, although the Guardian report that sparked the latest series of revelations certainly seemed to think so. One is reminded of the Watergate scandal, which started to mushroom in a similarly innocuous way, and ultimately became a scandal as much about the cover-up as anything else. Hardly a happy precedent for Tony Blair as he prepares for his last few months in office. Across the pond, of course, Blair's friend Bush is in similarly dire straits, with the ruling against the Vice-President's former aide Lewis Libby (read about it here) giving the distinct impression of two decaying, fin de siecle regimes.

Meanwhile, the House of Lords Reform debate received a boost with this evening's vote in the House of Commons overwhelmingly backing an elected chamber. There were plenty of high sounding comments from dull politicians about how good all this is for democracy, but whether another democratic chamber is really the solution to Britain's political ills remains to be seen. The Lords, to date, has proved a most effective revising and checking chamber, challenging the Commons on many occasions and offering more cogent scrutiny in many cases than the often superficial and whip dominated elected chamber. And one wonders how keen MP's really are on sharing their power with another elected chamber. One peeress used the old comparison of 'turkeys voting for an early Christmas' to describe today's vote. A second elected chamber really will be an alternative source of authority. A final thought on the proposed reform is that if it ain't broke don't fix it, and there is little evidence that the Lords is broke. Those ambitious, high sounding comments are already echoing rather shallowly.
Following TM's comment, there will hopefully be some more U6th - friendly posts coming soon. Fascism is being debated tomorrow, and that must be good for a rant or two.




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