Most popular ▴ See a list of all my posts! The experts got it wrong. Why are there no great Windows 10 apps? How moving the Capital helps Hartlepool. Gender bias calculator The Centre of the UK Defending Uber BusTracker Imagination not needed. Part 1. Imagination not needed. Part 2. Imagination not needed. Part 3. Why Birmingham fails Who is London? Innovation on buses. Heathrow

PDFs and Data ▾ Global open data and PDFs. Improving PDFs for Science. Improving PDFs for Planners. PDFAttacher. A Clearer Plan Hybrid PDFs PDF test-off. PDF Profiler Making PDFs play nicely with data

Housing ▾ Counting households. 1. Counting households. 2. The housing market works (where we let it) Hexmaps Adonis is wrong on housing Car free Birmingham

Regional Growth ▾ Measuring tech in the UK and France in 10 steps. Defending the Zombie graph. Channel 4 must move to Mancheseter Measuring innovation 1: meetups Measuring innovation 2: scientific papers. The UK city-size abnormality. Cities not cheese: why France is productive. How moving the Capital helps Hartlepool. Industrial Strategy. Leeds Growth Strategy 5: Limits. Leeds Growth Strategy 4: Focus. Leeds Growth Strategy 3: Inclusive growth. Leeds Growth Strategy 2: Where to grow? Leeds Growth Strategy 1: Why grow? Imagination not needed. Part 1. Imagination not needed. Part 2. Imagination not needed. Part 3. Inclusive growth. The BBC in Manchester 1 The BBC in Manchester 2 What works (growth) North-South divide: we never tried Imitating Manchester Why Birmingham fails Who is London? Researching research Replacing UK steel The Economist & The North The State of the North, 2015 Move the Lords! Calderdale Digital Strategy Maths of inequality Income by MSOA Heathrow and localism The NorthernPowerhouse Centralism and Santa Claus Yorkshire backwards London makes us poor

Transport ▾ Crossrail 2: Where trust in experts dies. Pacers: crap trains, worth keeping. A Yorkshire transport policy. Stop telling me to learn from London. Fixing it ourselves: bus data in the North. Open fare data will be hard. Transport is too complex! Investment is political London loses when it blocks Leeds' growth The Centre of the UK Defending Uber BusTracker Train time map What works (growth) The Value of Time Innovation on buses. Heathrow 1975 WYMetro Plan

Politics & Economics ▾ GDP measures are like toilets. The UK's private postcodes restrict innovation. Yorkshire could learn from Ireland's success. Alternatives to GDP are a waste of time. Fiscal balance in the UK "Not like London" Innovation takes time to measure Fifa and the right In defence of the € GDP mystery Liberal protectionists 5 types of EU voter Asylum responsibilities STEM vs STEAM The Economist & Scotland BBC Bias? Northern rail consultation What holds us back? Saving the Union Summing it up

Positive ▾ Bike Lights Playful Everywhere Greggs vs. Pret Guardian comment generator Consult less, do more! More things for Leeds! Cartoons PubQuest: Birmingham

Tech ▾ What's holding back opendata in the UK? Anti-trust law saved computing 1 Anti-trust law saved computing 2 Open Data Camp Cardiff Why are there no great Windows 10 apps? Tap to pay. Open Data in Birmingham Defending Uber BusTracker Train time map Building a TechNation How the UK holds back TechNorth GDS is Windows 8 OpenData at the BBC SimFlood SimSponge See me speak Digital Health Leeds Empties Leeds Site Allocations Building a Chrome extension I hate webkit Visualising mental health Microsoft's 5 easy wins Epson px700w reset Stay inside the Bubble

Old/incomplete ▾ Orange price rises The future of University Cherish our Capital Dealing with NIMBYs Sponsoring the tube Gender bias calculator MetNetMaker Malaria PhD Symbian Loops Zwack Kegg Project The EU Eduroam & Windows 8 Where is science vital? The Vomcano 10 things London can shove Holbeck Waterwheel

Last modified: 02 March 2015

London’s skills shortage; why the House of Lords must move.

Winston Churchill reportedly said that “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter”. Defenders of the House of Lords express that thought more sensitively but essentially say the same thing. An unelected second chamber, they argue, is more representative of Britain and can draw on wider experience than a House of Commons selected by the popular vote from ranks of career politicians.

It speaks to the appeal of the argument that it can be heard from those of all ages and all political colours. And even though I dislike the House of Lords as it is, I could see the appeal of the argument if it were true.

Sadly, it is not.

Anyone who has stumbled upon BBC Parliament while searching for Sky Sports News on a Saturday afternoon will know that the House of Lords has problems. Immediately obvious is that the few claret leather seats with a body on are topped by elderly white faces.

Whereas 9% of Britons described themselves as non-white in the 2001 census, just 5% of the House of Lords would claim the same. An even deeper failing given the equal number of male and female Britons is that for every woman, there are well over three men.

For decades, race and gender have been the key battlegrounds for equality. We are improving, but there remains much to do. Yet in our fight for better representation I fear that we are continuing to ignore a deeper inequality. It is a bias that is less offensive and damaging to our society, but just as effective in quieting certain voices.

With over 7 million residents, the North West of England is the UK’s third most populated region — only London (8.2m) and the South-East (8.7m) are home to more Britons. And yet of the 604 peers who in 2011 reported the location of their main home, just 23 did so in the North West of England. In London and the South-East the figures were 143 and 153 peers respectively.

Can we really call this a United Kingdom of equals when in our second chamber of parliament the voice of each person in London is represented with five times the weight as the voice of each person in Liverpool?

The House of Commons requires its members to live and work in London and, though I would like to, there seems little hope of changing that. There is however a real possibility of moving the House of Lords. One of its leading members has even suggested it.

Where should we move it to?

My answer is to the city of the greatest talent that the House of Lords in London could not attract.

"Alex Ferguson" by Austin Osuide. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

If the House of Lords claims to represent the best of Britain then surely there is no better candidate than Mr. Ferguson? He would bring a deep knowledge of socialisms origins, successes, and failures to the house and also a deeply pragmatic approach to paying for, managing, and reaping the rewards of capitalism. Mr. Ferguson’s decision to take time with his family after a long and focused career is admirable. Even more than admirable, it is the very reason why he should have a role in government.

So let’s move the House of Lords to Manchester, and see if we can tempt Mr. Ferguson to pop in a few afternoons a week for a team talk.


blog comments powered by Disqus