When politicians make you rethink democracy, you know something is seriously wrong

I’m delighted that the House of Lords defeated the government on tax credits last night.

But the fact I am worries me. I’m actually happy that an unelected chamber has defeated an elected government (albeit one elected on a paper-thin majority under an out-dated electoral system).

I grew up firmly believing in a democratically elected second chamber. But the more I experience ‘democracy’ and the short-term thinking that is inherent in elected politics the more I find myself having sympathy for an unelected chamber.

Sure, there are still lots of problems with the basic concept but sometimes – and especially last night – they play a vital role that I’m less sure would happen with politicians who were constantly concerned about their next election or keeping in favour with their party.

I can’t say I’m happy with my thoughts though. Democracy should, in theory, always be preferred.

Huge apologies for quoting Churchill (how much worse can this post get?) but as he said, democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried.

That I’m leaning towards this view on the House of Lords shows – for me at least – how moribund democracy appears to be.

And that has much wider and more frightening implications than an unelected second chamber.

 

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