Yesterday 45 unelected men and women became new members of the House of Lords. These people – selected at the whim of the Prime Minister – will now vote on the laws of the United Kingdom until they die or retire, without having to bother themselves with the dirty business of elections. That we still have an unelected second chamber is indefensible for a modern democracy and hypocritical for a country that advocates democracy around the world.
Among the 826 peers that now sit in the House of Lords are 26 Church of England bishops – the Lords Spiritual – who describe their presence in the House of Lords as an “extension of their general vocation as bishops to preach God’s word”. The idea that preaching God’s word is an acceptable or desirable activity in a modern parliamentary institution beggars belief. Not least when unelected bishops are arguing and voting against motions that have a majority of support among elected representatives in the House of Commons, such as legislation to allow same-sex marriage.
No House For These Thoughts is a song about those bishops.