I am sure that the House of Lords has managed to construct a deep anti-Brexit electronic shield around itself and its members, through which the nonsense pouring out of the Commons cannot penetrate. How else to explain the fact that our Upper Chamber of Parliament has been almost entirely silent on the subject?
I am not really a fan of the concept that our Second Chamber should be an unelected collection of the random great-and-good, and I think that it ought, eventually, to be an elected Senate. More about that in my forthcoming book “The Party’s Over”. Watch the space. But that said, it is a truism that many of the members of the Lords are sensible, non-partisan, experienced and articulate, and on a subject as important and sensitive as the B-situation, theirs could be a calming voice of reason. I suspect that there are very few Lords who supported the Leave campaign, and most of them are aghast at the result of the “people’s” vote. Having suggested that the Lords ought to be an elected Senate, though, I can well understand their possible reluctance to get involved in the electoral processes, when it can and does get us into this kind of mess.
A friend with whom I shared these thoughts suggested that there had been plenty of noise from the Lords and that I just wasn’t looking or listening. Not possible. Before I inflict my views on anyone, I check who’s saying what and doing what, and as far their Lordships are concerned, the media don’t seem interested.
But what could they be saying or doing? From what I have been able to establish, and have suggested above, there are very few Lords who support B-word madness. So, a little further down the road, when legislation follows a possible exit from the EU (hoping not) the Lords will take up cudgels and scrutinise everything down to the last comma. But for now, they appear to be content to watch and listen as their elected inferiors make consummate idiots of themselves. But I can’t help thinking that if the Lords put their full influential weight behind a Ref 2, it might move us closer to that. With different rules, as you know I insist we must have. Does there have to be another Act to legitimise Ref 2? If so, perhaps the noble Lords could be persuaded to ensure that another referendum does not deliver another busted flush.
I suppose that many Lords are concerned about appearing undemocratic (an irony given their provenance) by too overtly setting themselves against an apparently democratic process. They fear perhaps that doing so would put ammunition into the guns of those who want to see their House demolished. They need not worry – those who might have campaigned for demolition are far too busy obsessing about the EU.