What will the House of Lords do in its attempt to scupper Brexit? That is the key question for now. If you ask me, it is all getting a bit People’s Budget – the 1909 standoff when the Lords blocked, against convention, redistributive policies proposed by the Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer of the time, David Lloyd George.
Lloyd George was attempting to improve social conditions for labourers by taxing the unearned wealth of the landed gentry as well as other measures.
He warned of revolution if the Bill was rejected: ‘Let them [the Lords] realise what they are doing. They are forcing a revolution, and they will get it. The Lords may decree a revolution, but the people will direct it. If they begin, issues will be raised that they little dream of. Questions will be asked which are now whispered in humble voices, and answers will be demanded then with authority.
‘The question will be asked whether five hundred men, ordinary men chosen accidentally from among the unemployed, should override the judgment, the deliberate judgment, of millions of people who are engaged in the industry which makes the wealth of the country.’
Despite the best efforts of the House of Lords to block the Bill, it was eventually passed, and the veto power of the Lords was curtailed by the Parliament Act 1911.
The make-up of the House has changed quite a bit since then, but I doubt if many of the crony appointments from the ranks of the metropolitan political elite have any greater right or legitimacy to block Brexit than the 500 ‘unemployed men’ had to block the People’s Budget in 1909.
Is history repeating itself? Will the House of Lords ‘decree revolution’ by stopping Brexit?
Please let us know your view below.