Does anyone else have an upper house as undemocratic as the Lords?

Plus: Sexual offences on trains; biggest yachts; Facebook figures

5 September 2015

9:00 AM

5 September 2015

9:00 AM

Peers’ peers

Forty-five new peers were created. Are we alone in having an upper house of parliament made up of appointed cronies?
FRANCE Senate has 348 members elected for six-year terms by 150,000 state officials known as ‘grandes electeurs’.
GERMANY Bundesrat is made up of 69 members delegated by governments of individual states.
ITALY Senate composed of 321 members, of whom 315 are elected for five-year terms by voters aged 25 and above, and 6 appointed as senators for life.
JAPAN House of Councillors composed of 242 members elected for six-year terms under a system of proportional representation.
UNITED STATES Senate has 100 members, two for each state excluding Washington DC, directly elected by the public.

Train pain

Jeremy Corbyn proposed women-only carriages to help reduce attacks. How many sex offences were committed on the railway in 2014/15?

Sexual offences against women 847
Sexual offences against men 37
Exposure 161
Other sexual crime 354

Source: British Transport Police

Boat club

Russian mining businessman Andrey Melnichenko is to build a 466ft sailing yacht, the biggest in the world. But there are bigger motor yachts. Who has the biggest?

Roman Abrahamovich, Eclipse 557ft
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai 532ft
Qaboos bin Said al Said, Al Said 508ft
Prince Abdulaziz, Prince Abdulaziz (yes, named after himself) 482ft
Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, Rising Sun 452ft

If the Queen still had Britannia she wouldn’t make the list; it is 412ft long.

Facebook figures

Facebook claimed that the number of people using it on a single day passed 1 billion for the first time. Some other Facebook statistics quoted on the web, which may or may not be true:
27% of motorists admit to using Facebook while driving.
— Average teenage user has 300 ‘friends’.
66% of female users claim to have been bullied on the site.
28% of newlyweds update their relationship status on their wedding day.

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Show comments
  • Bernard Tedowl

    This reminded me how we’ve wasted £375 billion pounds for some reason, ^oo^

  • apparently we have miilions to piss aay on thesesnoozing party appointments the whole thing isas absurd as the latest pm toappoint his mates to the3390 PERDAY FOR A KIP CLUB MILLIBAND WAS RIGHT TO INCLUDE SCAPPING IT IN HIS MANIFESTO

  • Edward Studor

    Let’s hope Corbyn gets rid of it when he’s PM. He’s the only one who will.

  • cartimandua

    the trouble with the Commons is that so few people there have any real expertise.
    Not many have been in the military. It used to be everyone.
    Not many produce food. It used to be most people.
    It is disastrous to be ruled by people who have no clue at all about how these things work.

    • El_Sid

      Three of the four MP junior ministers at the MoD are or have been reservists – it’s a bit of an improvement from having a part-time SoS, or letting Geoff Hoon anywhere near a position of authority.

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      • Sunset66

        Brilliant it’s time we got involved in a new war
        Last thing you need running defence are ex army officers who are conservatives

    • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

      Please explain when in our history everyone was in the military. We had conscription for able bodied young men aged 19 to 38 from 1916 to 1920 and ages 17 to 40 from 1939 to 46 and 17 to 21 unti 1960. At a rough guess as at 1961 maybe 20% of the population had some military service.

  • Petrob

    Is any other country in the EU as undemocratic as the UK would be a more pertinent question.

  • John P Hughes

    Canada’s Senate is as undemocratic as the British House of Lords. Its members are all appointees of the political leaders. It is ever more criticised than the Lords because it does not have the ‘experts’ who were in the past a key element of the Peers. In the current General Election it is an issue – to abolish, or to reform and if so how. To reform it, let alone abolish it, needs a change to the Canadian Constitution; that is hard to achieve because it requires the Provincial Parliaments to agree to it.

  • Mr. Krullebol

    Canada’s senate is as cronyish as the British HL

  • John P Hughes

    The French Senators are not elected by 150,000 “state officials”. The ‘grands electeurs’ who vote for candidates for the Senate are all themselves elected representatives (‘élus’ as they are simply called nowadays) – councillors in local government at various levels from mayors of communes up to councillors on France’s 22 regional councils (to be reduced in number in 2016). Also some élus from the Dom-Toms – overseas territories. As one would expect, the Senators elected therefore tend to be councillors from local government.

  • Mr B J Mann

    Labour had how long to get rid of the Lords?

    They, and no one else, will, or can, because they would then have to follow through with a “democratic” upper house which would be above the lower House of Commons, instead of being, as now, an advisory reviewing and amending body, with no ultimate power due to its lack of democratic legitimacy.

    Not only would MPs not want to give up their power, it would lead to endless problems and disputes as in the States, unless both Houses were elected together, in which case they would both be the same and there would be no point in having two Houses!

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Life peer. Heriditory peer. Second class peer. First class peer. Enough to make you vote Communist.

    I’ve just been made a peer.
    I’ll get down the end of it anbd start a concert party.
    The old ones are the best.