Johnson’s Dishonours List makes titles a badge of shame


Scottish Secretary Alister Jack is just one of around 50 people who are expected to receive the sham title of ‘Lord’ in Boris Johnson’s so-called resignation ‘honours’ list. 

The House of Lords is already an undemocratic sham but this new list which includes lacklustre MPs like Nadine Dorries, rewarded for her fawning loyalty and Paul Dacre, the former Daily Mail editor whose paper notoriously branded judges “enemies of the people” when they prevented Johnson from illegally shutting down Parliament, will make the title “Lord” into a badge of shame. 

Johnson has been referred to police over allegations he broke even more lockdown restrictions – allegations based on entries in his own diary which were shown to the cabinet office. Johnson was forced to resign after being implicated in a number of scandals – disregarding the Covid rules he made others follow, unexplained loans and even unaccompanied meetings with Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev, whose son is now a peer. 

Despite standing down at the next election, all of these individuals will have the right to rule over Scotland for the rest of their lives. They will sit in the Upper House of the UK Parliament, claim expenses and get up on their hindlegs to break the promises of devolution and to make Scotland feel Westminster’s power at every opportunity. We can never, ever vote them out. 

Johnson will have appointed about 130 peers if his List is accepted

Jack et al are just the latest undemocratic appointments to an increasingly swollen House of Lords – it has more than 800 members. Of these, 87 of them were appointed by Johnson – including his brother Jo Johnson, Lord Evgeny Lebedev of Siberia, who is bankrolled by his oligarch father Alexander and Lord Peter Cruddas. The Lords appointments committee unanimously opposed the selection of Cruddas but Johnson overruled them. A few days after accepting the title, Cruddas donated £500,000 to the Conservative Party. 

The Washington Post reported that 22 of the most generous Tory donors – who together have donated more than £50 million to the party – have been made Lords since the Conservatives came to power in 2010. 

Alister Jack is one of just six Conservative MPs elected in Scotland. Many think it is already undemocratic that he is in a position to overrule decisions of the Scottish Parliament without consulting them first, having done so several times already. That makes a mockery of Westminster’s claim that Scotland has one of the most powerful devolved governments in the world. 

Obsequious BBC journalists use the titles – we should not

No supporter of Scottish independence would accept appointment to the House of Lords. So Scotland is no longer represented by former MPs but by a ragbag of rogues who won the title lottery on the basis of donations or cronyism, with no democratic basis for representing the country. They only attend about half the sessions – but it is questionable what basis they have for attending any of them. 

These titles are a badge of shame and a sign of contempt for Scotland

There is no reason we should use or respect the ironical titles they bear. They have become a badge of shame. Those who accept them are expressing contempt for democracy and for Scotland. 

It is sickening to many to hear these people who have no democratic or moral right to their positions being addressed as if they were superior to others – for example, the ad for last week’s BBC Question Time held in Scotland said one of the panellists would be “Lord Offord”.

Malcolm Offord failed to win election to Holyrood. He also donated £140,000 to the Conservatives. Now we are asked to call him “My Lord” and he can overrule Holyrood as Minister for Scotland. He gets to represent Scotland abroad on important trade missions. No one in Scotland should ever have to use the undemocratic title “Lord Offord”. 

Scotland’s peers are chosen for their adherence to the Union. Michelle Mone was a fervent opponent of independence in 2014 who said that business people like her would leave the country. She is now under investigation for the way she acquired  PPE investment for a firm she appears to have benefited from. 

Democratic second chambers represent the country as a whole

In most democratic countries, Parliament’s Upper House is an attempt to make sure the whole country is represented fairly. Canada’s Upper House has 105 seats, representing the different areas of that vast country. Quebec gets 24 members as a semi-autonomous region.

Switzerland’s upper house is called “The Council of States” and has 46 members. They are allocated to the country’s  20 cantons, who each choose how to elect their own representatives. 

The US Senate has 100 members, two each for every state. The French Senate has 348 members, who are elected mostly by members of local councils across the country. The German Bundesrat has 58 members, allocated to the individual German states according to size. Members are directly appointed by their state government. 

The only parliamentary chamber in the world larger than the Lords is China’s National People’s Congress, with 2,980 members. The population of Britain is 67 million; the population of China: 1.4 billion. Chinese Congress members serve for 5 years while Lords are for life.

The House of Lords cost almost £200 million a year to run. Scotland is charged a population share of that despite its  lack of democratic representation. Peers don’t get a salary but they get expenses when they show up which amount to millions per year. Multi-billion pound renovations to the Palace of Westminster are looming which Scottish taxpayers will have to contribute to – unless Scotland manages to exit the UK first. 

The titles “Lord” and “Lady” are undeserved, immoral and undemocratic.

The sooner Scotland is independent the better. People are sick of having unelected people who donate money to political parties being awarded these egregious titles. They are not earned or awarded on merit. They are undemocratic and immoral. These people do not deserve our respect. The titles are nothing less than a badge of shame and a sign of contempt for democracy. 

But, unfair as it is, these people do have real political power – they can overrule Scotland’s elected Parliament. 

The Labour Party is not going to abolish the Lords

The Labour Party changed the House of Lords in 1997, making it very much into the fiefdom of a sitting Prime Minister and putting in place the powers of appointment that Johnson and others have abused.

Gordon Brown recommended abolishing it in his report on the constitution. But there was immediate pushback from powerful Labour peers like Lord Mandelson who pledged to scupper the idea. There is no appetite for abolishing the House of Lords in England. The Labour Party will not make this a priority. 

Only with independence can Scotland break the damaging rule of the House of so-called Lords. 

Surely this charade of appointments made to the UK Parliament without election, on the say-so of a disgraced charlatan like Johnson, makes the claim that Scotland is a partner in a democratic Union ring even more hollow. 






The post Johnson’s Dishonours List makes titles a badge of shame appeared first on Believe In Scotland.