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March 08, 2007

Public Choice Economics

An interesting little example of the central contention here:

After a series of votes, many opponents of an elected Lords piled in behind the 100 per cent option because they knew it would cause a huge constitutional headache for the Government and could postpone any change for years.

Many MPs and ministers fear that a fully, or even predominantly elected Lords would create a rival chamber that would challenge the supremacy of the elected House of Commons, leading to clashes and deadlock.

There's no particular reason why in a bicameral system, with both houses fully elected, it should be one or the other that has primacy. The upper or the lower? My own cynicism would suggest that while one has the power to propose, the other should have the power only to dispose: ie, that's a silly idea now bugger off.

Howewver, that's slightly off the point. Public choice leads us to the idea that politicians do what is good for politicians, not what is good for the country. And looking at that argument there, that a fully elected Lords will mean less power for the Commons....well, of course members of the Commons will vote against that, for the gathering of power is the reason they are politicians.

March 8, 2007 in Economics | Permalink


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Surely you mean the trappings of power? Otherwise they'd be voting against the EU.

Posted by: Richard North | Mar 8, 2007 8:57:42 AM

Of course they won't vote against the EU - opinion polling consistently shows that the majority of British voters oppose withdrawal from the EU. They're not going to push through a vote-loser without a damned good reason.

Posted by: Marcin Tustin | Mar 8, 2007 12:31:06 PM

I want a legislative house of two chambers; one of which attempts to solve new problems, but which requires at least a majority of the MEMBERSHIP (not the present quorum) in order to approve an idea. The second chamber would only be able to review laws and programs after five years of experience, and would have no power to amend, only to abolish. However, a 51% vote of those present the day of the voting would be sufficient to abolish whatever it might be that offends.

Now, you tell me. Given this set up, which chamber offers the selfish and short-term evil polician the more desirable seat?

Posted by: Pouncer | Mar 8, 2007 7:10:53 PM