Friday, 28 August 2015

Why this year's Dissolution Honours List is the most disgraceful I have ever seen

45 new peers have been recently nominated in the Dissolution Honours List 2015-all by the Conservative Party, Liberal Democrats and Labour Party, as usual (A DUP nomination for the House of Lords was denied by the House of Lords Appointments Commission, who also barred the former Liberal Democrat MP for Yeovil, David Laws)

As expected, David Cameron gave into cronyism by appointing the majority of these new peers (26), with the Lib Dems nominating 11 and Labour nominating 8. He also gave large numbers of other honours, minor and major, to:

-People who were just staff in the Prime Minister's Office or those of his friend, George Osborne (Phillipa Rudkin, who just manages George Osborne's constituency office in Tatton, received an MBE; David's own constituency manager, Caroline Balcon, got an OBE; his former deputy chief of staff, Oliver Dowden who is also Conservative MP for Hertsmere, got a CBE, with his current deputy chief of staff, Catherine Fall, getting nominated for a peerage; and to top it off, Barry Norton, the leader of West Oxfordshire Council, which is solidly Conservative and covers David's constituency of Witney, will receive a knighthood)

-Several Conservative MPs who had just retired, like James Arbuthnot and Sir George Young (both of whom, like David Cameron, went to Eton), cementing a stereotype of the House of Lords being a retirement home for old politicians.

-Otherwise unremarkable, unknown (and certainly unelected by voters) people in key internal positions, like Conservative Party deputy chairman Stephen Gilbert.

-Andrew Lansley, who whilst Health Secretary helped pass the Health and Social Care Act 2012 relieving him and future Health Secretaries of the long-standing duty to provide a national healthcare system and allows private healthcare providers greater involvement in the NHS. He had previously accepted donations from private healthcare firms who benefit from this law, and many existing peers have links with these firms as well.

-Douglas Hogg, the 3rd Viscount Hailsham, who stood down as a Conservative MP in 2010 over the expenses scandal when he over-claimed for a moat of his country estate; he was also denied a peerage just four years earlier as a result. He is also an old Etonian and so was his late father, Quintin Hogg aka Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone (not to mention Douglas' grandfather, 1st Viscount Hailsham and Chancellor under Stanley Baldwin).

-Michelle Mone, a director of a lingerie firm and a major donor to the Conservative Party.

The Liberal Democrats were no better in this regard, nominating two MPs who had just been voted out by we, the people, in their respective seats (Lorely Burt in Solihull and Lynne Featherstone in Hornsey & Wood Green), and their other nominations were all politically connected as well. Labour was just the same, nominating several retired MPs (notably including Alistair Darling and David Blunkett) and their senior campaign strategist, Spencer Livermore.

It is not just the House of Lords that needs to be abolished or replaced-the entire honours system needs to be scrapped altogether. What really matters is what you do, not what title(s) you might hold or be awarded.

Alan.












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