For too long, Westminster’s political system has been for the few, and by the few. Nowhere is that clearer than in the unelected House of Lords.
Today, nearly 800 Lords – including over 90 hereditary aristocrats – can claim £305 a day tax-free, to vote on our laws for life. They can delay legislation, change laws, and use our Parliament as their personal palace.
Free from the scrutiny of the ballot box, we have seen scandal after scandal in this outdated second chamber. Many have a web of business interests, with peers given almost total free rein to lobby on behalf of others. And we have no way of kicking them out.
Where people have won change, it has been through struggle and reforming the rules of the game before they could change society itself.
From the Chartists pushing for universal suffrage, to the Scottish TUC’s role campaigning for a Scottish Parliament, trade unions have often been at the forefront of demands for a democracy that puts working people at the centre.
We need our unions to adopt a clear policy to ‘Scrap and Replace’ the unelected Lords with a revising chamber that represents all the UK – not a tiny elite.
In 2019, we will commemorate the Peterloo massacre that saw working people lose their lives fighting for the democratic rights we hold on to today.
Today, there is a new democratic frontier for trade unions in Britain: reforming Westminster’s creaking establishment.
If you are involved in a trade union, join us.
Nancy Platts – Former trade union advisor to Jeremy Corbyn
Mark Serwotka – General Secretary, PCS
Howard Beckett – Assistant General Secretary Unite (in a personal capacity)
Billy Hayes – Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform
Ian Hodson – President, BFAWU
Sam Tarry – Political Officer TSSA and President of CLASS Mike Kirby – Scottish Secretary, Unison
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