When this happens, it seems certain the mass media will all be pointing at whatever’s happening in Syria (or elsewhere).

So this is how democracy dies – with everybody looking the other way.

David Cameron’s lasting gift to his party will be the gerrymandering of the constitution, unprecedented in modern times. This week it emerges that in revenge for the vote against cuts to tax credits, the already weak powers of the House of Lords are to be neutered. The Lords need radical democratic reform, but instead Lord Strathclyde has been put in charge of silencing it.

David Cameron castigated the peers of acting unconstitutionally over tax credits, affronted that his government – a Tory government! – could be held to account by the unelected chamber. Tories always had a safe Lords majority, while every Labour government always faced a hostile Tory second chamber. Now all but 91 of the hereditaries have been sent away, in an hour of need, Cameron can no long summon backwoods peers from their estates. He has to win over the crossbenchers and make a good case for legislation – a test that tax credits failed abysmally.

Strathclyde will recommend later this month that the Lords lose their veto over delegated or secondary legislation – statutory instruments for putting through regulations. Worse still, the government plans to dress up much more of its legislation as “secondary”, which leaves the House of Commons very little chance of amending it either.

Source: Cameron has declared war on the Lords. Let the ermine rebellion begin | Polly Toynbee | Opinion | The Guardian

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