Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The future of our politics

I was glad to see the Speaker reflected on things and decided to step aside so quicly but this can only be first step in reconnecting Parliament to the people.

I think politicians can some of the changes needed but ultimately the challenge is bigger - to move away from a chamber steeped in the charm and make believe of 19th century flummery that people can't connect with or take seriously towards a more business like, modern chamber.

The Guardian has a good collection of pieces on some of the changes needed, here. Notably one of the questions asked is whether our Parliament has too many members - here are some international comparisons:

United Kingdom

House of Commons 646
House of Lords 738


France

Assemblee Nationale 577
Senat 346

Germany

Bundestag 598
Bundesrat 69

Italy

Chamber of Deputies 630
Senate 315

Spain

Congress of Deputies 350
Senate 264

USA

House of Representatives 435
Senate 100

So I think a case can be made for a much smaller upper chamber and a somewhat reduced House of Commons.

2 comments:

  1. Interesting post, i have also been following the series in The Guardian. The figures are quite revealing as to how overgrown our parliament is. I was wondering if you knew if the upper houses in the other countries received a wage, or not?

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  2. Dunno, but I am guessing they are all paid as senators.

    We may of course need to keep our HoC numbers if moving to PR (which I support) and want to try and limit the size of constituencies which would get bigger due to the provision of top up seats.

    An elected Lords would need to be a much smaller Senate.

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