11 Lords a Sleeping
06 August 2014
An excellent article by @davidofficer on National Collective lists 11 Common Sense Reasons to Vote Yes. One of those 11 covers the area of democracy in the UK, an area which matters to me a lot.
Westminster is often referred to as the 'Mother of Parliaments' and held by unionists to be a good example to the world. However, the example is as out of date as saying that Queens Park is a good example of the way a football club should be run because it was the best team in the world in the 1870s. Here are some facts about this democracy:-
- The House of Lords has 26 seats which women cannot hold, reserved for bishops of the Church of England. It has 90 'hereditary' seats which most of us cannot aspire to because we were born into the wrong families.
- If you ever watch the House of Lords on the parliament channel you'll regularly see some members nodding-off on the benches. Each is being paid £300 per day attendance allowance whilst they sleep.
- With 774 members, the House of Lords is second only to the Chinese National People's Congress in size.
- You are 7 times less likely to end up in Parliament (Commons or Lords) if you were educated in a state school rather than privately.
I've had a myth quoted to me a couple of times recently, that Margaret Thatcher's cabinet held a majority of people educated in grammar schools, and it is the abolition of those which has led to the unfair preponderence of privately educated politicians now: this is utter nonsense. I know, I've done the research.
Including Mrs Thatcher herself, there were 58 people who sat in cabinet during her reign. (Only one other was a woman by the way.) Of the 58, 45 (77%) were privately educated and only 13 (23%) were state educated*.
So over three quarters of her cabinet were privately educated. To be fair, a couple of those went to union sponsored schools, but given the small percentage of the general population who are privately educated this is nothing other than scandalous.
I have never met a Lord. No Lords live in my town. None went to the school I was educated in nor were born in the town I was brought up in. I've only once met an MP, Hamish Gray (Baron Gray of Contin) when I was 14 and spoke to him at a hustings. But I've met a few MSPs and they seem to be folk much like me.
I don't want to be represented in government by people who have nothing to do with my life, and that's one of the main reasons I'll be voting Yes next month.
* Thanks to @tylochan for clearing up 3 of the cabinet members I didn't have information on.