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A loss for Clegg but shame on you Ed

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Yesterday's news that the coalition government was to drop its plans to reform the House of Lords should not come as any great surprise to anyone, even those who thought that it was about time to drag our dated democracy into the Twenty First century.

House of LordsIt was clear that those Conservative backbenchers who believe that everything their Liberal Democrat partners stand for is too radical and 'not in the interests of the British public', would fight tooth and nail to kill any kind of reform.

As the eyes on the world are on London and we pride ourselves in living under an accountable and democratic system of government, there are still some who think it is more than acceptable to allow unelected peers have major influence in our laws. Even for those in the hard right Tea Party, the thought of an unelected body making the laws of the land would be very hard to swallow. Our political system is in dire need of reform, from the way in which we elect our politicians to the way in which Parliament operates.

The proposals put forward by the junior government partners were for most people, a very sensible proposal. The laws we abide by should be made by those who represent the masses and not simply the interests of the autocracy. As Nick Clegg pointed out on several occasions, House of Lords reform was started over 100 years ago and it was a policy that had cross party support.

Cue Ed Miliband and his Labour colleagues.

A party that identifies its movement as a 'social democratic' one and yet has again turned its back on any principles it once did. Miliband knew that these proposals chimed exactly with traditional Labour policy - open the democratic process to the masses. We only need to look at the fight for universal suffrage which the Labour movement spearheaded in the early 20th century.

The party's commitment to ensuring that our system of government is for the masses and not the few is a mere shadow of what it used to be. During the shambolic AV referendum campaign, the Labour Party made it clear that any reform to our political establishment should be avoided was made clear to voters.

This recent episode from the Labour Party on Lords reform will leave a sour for their party supporters who could see sense in abolishing a chamber that was accountable and unelected. Miliband was more than happy to see his colleagues side with Conservative backbenchers and play petty politics to get one over Nick Clegg. The Labour Party were clear that they 'supported the proposals in principle' and yet were willing to grind any plans to a halt in the through the bureaucratic Parliamentary procedures.

Although the party essentially agreed with the Liberal Democrats on this issue, they were willing to block any proposals to deliver another political blow to the coalition partners. Ed Miliband's personal ratings in the opinion polls fluctuate from week to week, highlighting the any possibility of a Labour majority in 2015 are by no means guaranteed.

Likewise David Cameron's ratings vary constantly, thus we could see Downing Street political marriage take place in three years time. Miliband needs to start using his time in opposition in a constructive manner, consensus politics may send a shiver down the spines of Daily Mail readers across the country but it can work.

The Labour Party need to adopt a long term view on how they approach proposed legislation from the government benches, more so if it is coming from the Liberal Democrats. Of course this is not to say that Labour should simply back every Lib Dem backed plan, but they should move away from playing petty politics and show that they can be trusted again. Their defeat in the recent UK Parliamentary and Scottish elections show that they have lost much ground and have a real up hill struggle if they are to get the keys to Number 10 or Bute House any time soon.

By showing that they are not simply going to give Nick Clegg a bloody nose every time they sense a government defeat, they should distance themselves away from those Conservative backbenchers and start to build alliances with those who they should share some common ground with. Only then can the Labour Party start to look to 2015 with any optimism.

For supporters of reform, it is now obvious that there will most likely not be any changes made to our dated Parliamentary system for some time now. We have waited 100 years, and now we are forced to keep waiting. This is of course another massive defeat for Nick Clegg and his party, regardless if they are able to block the proposed boundary changes.

For Ed Miliband and the Labour Party however, it is another example of their quest to chase headlines over values.




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