Blogs

24 Aug 2015

Costly cronies of the House of Lords

In our new report, House of Lords Fact vs Fiction , we took a look at some of the enduring myths that surround our unelected second chamber. Peers are technically unpaid, but unlike the thousands of people around the country who volunteer in their local communities each week, members of the House of Lords effectively get to pick how much they get in allowances. Just for checking in, Peers can […]
24 Aug 2015

Are the SNP about to break the Holyrood voting system (again)?

This article was co-authored by ERS Scotland's Juliet Swann and Danny Zinkus Sutton from Unlock Democracy Pollsters are perhaps not to be relied upon after their predictions for the General Election earlier in the year. Yet, despite scepticism, the polls for Scotland turned out to be largely accurate. And, as we reflected on in the week before the election, the predictions weren’t terribly […]
21 Aug 2015

Taking advantage of the Greek electoral law

Greece will return to the polls on September 20th. This is the third nationwide poll this year, after an earlier election in January and a referendum in June. It is also the fourth general election in 3 years, after two were also held in 2012. I have blogged here before about the Greek electoral system’s odd attempt to force artificial majorities out of pluralities by giving 50 bonus seats to the […]
18 Aug 2015

The New Zealand Flag Referendum

For many years the New Zealand flag has been the subject of much debate. Adopted when New Zealand was still a part of the British Empire, their national standard has the British flag within it. On top of that, it closely resembles the Australian flag - which is also partly made up of the British flag. New Zealand is not the first ex-British colony to launch a national debate on its flag. The […]
16 Aug 2015

It's official: the House of Lords is completely bust

Today, we can reveal that the House of Lords is officially, well and truly bust. We’re pleased to launch our new report on our unelected upper chamber: ‘ House of Lords: Fact vs Fiction ’ – where we shatter the myths on Britain’s second House. It’s the first major piece of research on the House of Lords since the General Election. And the findings are quite shocking. ‘Fact vs Fiction’ shows […]
10 Aug 2015

Andy Burnham's identified the right problem - but his solution falls short

Try as the political class might, calls to reform the House of Lords always come to the fore. So it’s no surprise that the issue has been on the agenda again for the past week. And now, it seems, it’s made it into the Labour leadership debate, too. By the standards of other policy announcements, it wasn’t the most radical. But last Thursday's manifesto launch by Andy Burnham featured a section on […]
4 Aug 2015

The House of Lords Needs a Major Overhaul, Not Tinkering Around the Edges

Calls for reform of the House of Lords have been heard even more loudly that normal in the last ten days and the reason is fairly obvious. The current set-up comes nowhere close to being right for the 21st Century. Some people have been surprised to learn the size of the House of Lords. The sad truth is that it is bursting at the seams with nearly 800 voting members, in what is already the second […]
3 Aug 2015

The Canadian Senate - A second-rate second chamber

In the current debate about Lords reform it can often be tempting to look for easy solutions which broadly keep the structure of the Lords as it is, but deal with some of its defects. If the Lords is too big, why not simply cap its size? Perhaps we could introduce a mandatory retirement age? Get rid of the hereditary peers and the bishops and leave the rest! A few of these ideas and more have […]
31 Jul 2015

Pricey politics - the Prime Minister's plans to pack the Lords will cost millions

Parliament might be in recess, but the House of Lords has been in the news big-time this week over another scandal. We thought it would be worth pointing out just how broken our upper chamber really is – and this week, we published new research showing exactly that. Our second House is caput, rotten, out-of-date, flailing and falling apart – if that wasn’t already clear enough. On Tuesday we […]
30 Jul 2015

Our unelected House of Lords is in dire need of a clear-out

Another month, another political controversy. In the Lords however - unlike our elected Commons – there’s no way for the public to hold Peers to account at the ballot box. Instead, you have to hope that those who have brought our legislature into disrepute will forfeit their £300 a day expenses, accept their mistakes and resign - or go through a lengthy investigative process run by their fellow […]