Christine Grahame: No room for the Lords in an independent Scotland
The Lords? What can you say about it that is printable? I'll give it a go as I have been glued to the programme on the BBC for weeks. Indeed, as Victor Meldrew would have said, 'I don't believe it!'
Let’s not dwell on the fancy dress, the robes, the black tights and shiny buckles of black rod, the top hat of the doorman. Och yes let’s just dwell. Then there is the counting by clicker as they troop, some very very slowly, to cast a vote on something that will not make an iota of difference to you and me.
There is the carrying of the decisions bound in red ribbon from the Lords, full of pomp and circumstance, and back from the House of Commons in green and all the general palavers and deference as they march back and forth – crumbs, you couldn’t make it up. But hey, it’s tradition folks.
There are those who clock in and fall asleep on the benches or simply clock in and out, meantime gathering that £300 per day allowance.
There are more than 800 of them, none elected and many having lost their Parliamentary seats, pensioned off there and looking quite pleased with themselves to boot.
And why not? It provides the poshest care home in London and pays the residents to use it. The tragedy for me as a socialist from a council scheme, oldest of a family of five children, which never had a motor car and once celebrated their first fitted carpet, is that over 200 of them are former Labour MPs or activists.
How on earth could they accept ermine and believe somehow they were still fighting the people’s cause? It must be the greatest evidence of collective self-deception.
I don’t agree with my party (the SNP) on everything by a long shot, apart from us needing our independence to run all our own affairs and get the full parliament we democratically elect, but at least we will have none of the House of Lords.
I think of the real world, where I have constituents losing their mobility cars, one because he could walk 20 metres (on the flat) yet he had used and needed his car for eight years and had a progressive debilitating disease. I compare his world with their world of flummery and cossetting and self-satisfied importance. But help is at hand.
Around these decaying Lords (and ladies) the building is falling down. The projected cost of repairs to the Houses of Lords and Parliament and decanting the lot out for six years? £6 billion! Yes that’s £6,000,000,000. If you add the attendance allowance of the Lords, I wonder how many disability scooters or motors it would provide. Indeed I wonder how many of the Lords (and ladies) can walk 20 metres on the flat.
Ah, but they don’t need a mobility allowance, they already have a far better deal and no-one, so far, has taken that away from them.
If you watch anything on the box, watch that programme and tell me in all honesty that we can’t do better than that in Scotland.
Christine Grahame is MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale