Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Learning from Plaid.

This is just sky blue thinking - that must not be considered as a serious proposal. Plaid Cymru have adopted an interesting approach to who should be its representatives in the House of Lords, now that the decision to take their place in the Second Chamber has been agreed. They are going to have an internal vote on names that will be submitted to the party membership. This seems to me to be a rather good idea. I wonder whether any other party will decide to go down the same route. It seems rather more democratic than just appointment by some mysteriouis system.

Now , my party has turned its face against the 100% appointment system that operates at present in respect of the House of Lords. I'm not sure that we have a final definitive position on this (I'm sure I will be told if there is) but it will surely be in support of a large majority of members of the 'revising' chamber being directly elected. Reform of the House of Lords is one of those issues which Labour will never get around to acting upon - so its interesting to see Plaid Cymru taking direct action itself. Such a system would not be a huge innovation for the Conservative Party in Wales, in that we effectively do the same thing in respect of the National Assembly already - where some of our AMs are guaranteed to be elected, once they have been elected to a high position on the Party's regional lists by a vote of the party membership. Same thing applies to our MEP, where it would be a seismic shock if the woman we elect to top our list is not elected to the European Parliament.

I should repeat that this is just me thinking aloud - not me putting forward a proposal for serious consideration. Tell me if you think its a daft idea.

20 comments:

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Dr. Christopher Wood said...

OC> May the pike of Roath Park Lake gobble you up and spit out your innards for the ducks to pull apart and make skin animals thereof. Said skin animals to be disposed thereon with certain curly hairs from a specified Lib-Dem AM and then washed in recycled urine and cursed. Other than that, have a nice sunny day.

Peter Black said...

Plaid are actually copying the Liberal Democrats Glyn. We have now held two internal elections for nominees to the House of Lords over the period of two Parliaments. A number of the successful candidates are actually now sitting in the House of Lords, including Roger Roberts from Conwy.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Your up pink and perky Peter. So when are you going to do an Obama on Mike? Time you did, the Welsh Lib Dems need a certain dynamism and they sure don't have it under Mike.

Anonymous said...

It is daft. Any system in which the candidate owes his primary obligation to his party rather than the electorate, such as the Welsh assembly list system, is to be deplored and should be scrapped.

alanindyfed said...

Plaid recognises the deficiencies of democracy at large and makes up for this in its own party organisation.
Plaid does not copy other parties proposals Peter, as Labour has done in adopting Liberal ideas. Plaid and Labour are two very different species of dragon. In my view Plaid formulates its own ideas and policies in accordance with the best interests of the people of Wales.

Glyn Davies said...

Peter - Sorry if I've not given you due credit. I suppose that I was looking through blue tinted glasses. An idea does not automatically cease to be a good one because it was something to do with the Lib Dems!

anon - but this is not the choice at present. If it was, I would plump for the electorate every time. At present, the choice I posted about is between the Party membership and Some mysterious process which represents the Party at a National level. We've also tried to widen the 'electorate' in Wales by useing an 'open primary' system.

Alan - really pleased to hear it.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

But Glyn - isn't it time that the members of the House of Lords are subjected to democratic voting by the people? I mean to say, Brits often yap on about how bad things are in other democracies, and there's the UK with an Upper House ('Senate') where the people have no direct say in who sits in their Upper House! The people should decided, members of the House of Lords should be subject to regular elections by the people for the people. It is bloody hypocritical to have this undemocratic methodology that decides who sits in the House of Lords - it is THE PEOPLE who should decided, the members should not get to sit in the House of Lords via any other process. So sorry, the Lib-Dem's proposal is still inherently undemocratic - the PEOPLE SHOULD DECIDE. It's time that democracy took hold in the House of Lords.

Ordovicius said...

Plaid are actually copying the Liberal Democrats Glyn.

Er, no. Lib Dem policy played no part in the decision to hold internal elections. Only the Lib Dems bother to consult Lib Dem policy.

bethan said...

I don't think it was a matter of copying you, Peter. It wasn't going to happen any other way. It is hard enough convincing most Plaid members that this is a good idea, without then saying 'well, we won't have elections for them.'

Eurfyl ap Gwylim is a strong candidate nevertheless.

Anonymous said...

Glyn,, are you sure you are still in the Conservative party?

penlan said...

I think it depends whether the membership of the revised chamber is to appointed primarily on party grounds or for experience/ability.I would far sooner see appointments made by nomination of (say) professional bodies(eg.BMA,Law society etc),academia,the unions,religious groups,voluntary organisations,the CBI and charities than by political parties.Their place is in the main chamber.

alanindyfed said...

Anon

Glyn is a rare type of Conservative bird. His wings have green feathers.
We need more of them among the boys in blue.

Anonymous said...

Glyn is indeed a rare type of Conservative bird, one that'll arise phoenix like and defeat the callous cuckoo, of the O'Prick variety, occupying the Montgomeryshire nest. And good luck to you from all the boys in Llanfair

Anonymous said...

No, he is not a Conservative. This blog is full of comments from nats and one day he will push off and join them. No mates among the Tories, so he has to go somewhere.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Where's a good Roath Park pike when you need one?

Anyways, Glyn: so we got the speech from your boss (re: invalidity benefits). I can't say that I am happy. Cameron has miss-stepped and/or been ill advised. A rich public school educated kid should not be lecturing "how it is" to those who are not well off and in some dire straits. They way to get people off any benefit is to help them in a realistic way, Obama type rhetoric doesn't cut it, imho. I guess though Cameron is preaching to the right of his own party thinking this will not cost him many votes. To the contrary, it's going to cost him votes.

Glyn Davies said...

Christopher 1 - Yes it is. My post was about what we might do in the interim.

sanddef/bethan - I relly don't think it matters who went. It just seems rather a sensible and more democratic way of doing things than has happened in the past.

anon - I really cannot see what grounds you have for your comment. I welcome current supporters of other parties to my blog. I would like to persuade them to vote for us. I thought that was the point of campaigning in a democracy, and the way to exercising influence. I admit to being very proud of my 'Welshness' though - and there is nothing unConservative about that.

penlan - fair point. and why personally, I do not support a move towards 100% elected memebers.

Alan - more killing with kindness I note!!

Christopher - It seems that we may have found a subject where we disagree. I hope to have a chance to post on the Cameron speech - but I'm off to Heathrow in a few minutes and am unlikely to have an opportunity today - or for the next 12 days perhaps. It depends what access thre is to the Internet in Barbados!

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

It's a reflection of my background Glyn, my first memories are kipping on the floor of my father's parent's lounge (my mum would take the cushions off the settee and lay them out on the floor and tell me to sleep), and I remember the flickering oil heater in the middle of the room (which as a scientist-chemist-microbiologist I now realize was not working properly (inefficient combustion) and probably producing CO (carbon monoxide), my mother claims it was not on very often, but I wonder about that), my parents were essentially homeless and later got 'their' first house on a housing estate in Llanishen, and from there they moved to Trowbridge (Cemaes Crescent) and after my father lost his job so he decided to move the family to London, but we ended up on a horrible council estate just east of London (via a council house exchange, a Welsh family in London wanted to move back to Wales) - I remember being separated out as being stupid because I must have been stupid because of my strong Welsh accent and I remember being victimised for it, not just by the other children, but by the teachers who kept me back by putting me in lower classes despite the fact I could do long-division and read properly, my mother was for her time well educated (won a place at a Grammar school half way between Bedwas and Newport - and then to a council house in Streatham (but almost in Tooting, where I went to school along with my two brothers) and finally back to Caerphilly (Lansbury Park, then Churchill Park) ... so I know all about life on council house estates, my next door neighbour's kid (he was 15 or 16) on Llansbury Park in Caerphilly (not exactly well thought of by the locals) was found guilty of murder (too young to get an adult sentence so he served "at her Majesty's pleasure" (what a waste I thought, and so bad for his loving mother), I have seen fights with knives, a boy's back slashed from top to bottom in a large inner London comprehensive school, I have seen terrible sights and conditions and seen a great deal of hopelessness, this kind of thing leaves a stamp on one's heart, so I became a Labour man, I didn't see Conservatives caring about the ordinary lives of souls in desperate conditions - I still remember working one Christmas delivering mail as a student on a large council house estate in Caerphilly - I will never forget family men coming up to me clearly distressed that I had not delivered a Giro through their letter box. I lived in for a while in Glasgow where I did a chemistry PhD and seen poverty and hopelessness that is hard to fathom and teenagers acting in terrible ways, alcoholism on a scale hard to fathom, fighting outside pubs over stupid stuff, drugs and shootings related to drugs, but I saw even worse in Chicago, parts of DC you will not believe, East St. Louis is just terrible. By fluke I became a Chicago lawyer (worked full time, went to law school at night, and graduated with a law degree from the same law school as the current Mayor of Chicago); I now work out of my own law firm office near DC (but since I am ‘a boss’ I telecommute to save on gas and time otherwise spent in traffic). So I know about Obama (hails from Chicago) and seen a lot of very dirty politics, criminal acts, many of my law school buddies work in Chicago so I keep up on Chicago and Illinois politics. I have seen the mob in action, they are very clever how they work to snare up and coming politicians and business people. I nearly got side-swiped myself because someone got to know me and suggested that we meet up in a downtown 'joint', he said he knew the bouncers, one of them was his best friend. It was a mob club, I only guessed when he told me a few things about the club, but lots of business people and high flyers go there, perhaps unaware of the mob connection. I can't stand dirty politics or scum-bag politicians or a public-school-educated twit who know nothing about squalor and hopelessness. I have many good public school educated friends, I am now a product of a "private school", so I suppose technically speaking I am now a public school boy twit, but I lack having a rich family and all the benefits that entails. Cameron is silly to think he can come up with instant solutions to getting people back into work who are in desperate circumstances. I don't understand why he has chosen to take this position, maybe he is ill advised. Yes, we need to get people in desperate circumstances back into work and that can be done, but its going to cost money and resources and I don't hear Cameron talking about providing any such resources; Cameron's a clever man, so I don't think he's pig ignorant about what it will really take to get these folks back into the work force, so I wonder "what his game is". Does he see a big whole in his plans for the economy should his party win the next election, is he trying to say something to the right wing of his party, or is he doing an army-Gordon, treating the poor souls as if they are sub-humans?

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

opps, sorry, I "touch type" ... my Chemistry PhD involved a lot of Computational Chemistry and writing computer code to run on what then passed for supercomputers. So I learnt to type QWERTY style. I was given a secretary at the law offices I worked at in Chicago, but I never had anything to give them to type up.

Btw Glyn, I have taken up your suggestion and now have a small Welsh publisher begging me for a 'synopsis' and a first chapter. I would tell you the title of the book, but I don't want anyone to steal it. It's a catchy title. But I will use a pseudonym. No one will ever know I wrote it.

Ordovicius said...

I relly don't think it matters who went. It just seems rather a sensible and more democratic way of doing things than has happened in the past.

I quite agree