Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby aldonius » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:16 am UTC

But when, as in the US and Australia (possibly elsewhere too), you have a federation of states, it's one of the best solutions.

Congressman Lee Hamilton:
The founders went to great lengths to balance institutions against each other... between the House of Representatives and the Senate; between the federal government and the states; among states of different sizes and regions with different interests ... no one part of government dominates the other.


But, as you said, we digress. Anyway, back to New Zealand, which Wikipedia tells me has only a House of Representatives.

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby sourmìlk » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:21 am UTC

You still maintain that making sure small states have disproportionate amounts of power is a good thing. It's not: there is no reason a state should not have power proportional to its population. But if it has power disproportionate to its population, then people arbitrarily have more of a say-so in democracy.

Anyways, does New Zealand have anything resembling states? According to wikipedia, it had provinces, but those were abandoned due to bureaucratic inefficiencies.
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby aldonius » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:56 am UTC

You're right in that nowadays, there's no real need for the disproportionate power. Point was that no self-respecting state is going to join a federation where its interests are guaranteed to be swamped by larger, established states.
Perhaps we should rectify the situation by abolishing states, or reorganising them, or something. AIUI, both US and Aussie Senates act largely as a check on the Houses of Reps, so the problem is largely solved by further restricting the Senate's power.

With New Zealand, given wikipedia you're as well-informed as I am.

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Dark Avorian » Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:24 pm UTC

sourmilk, would you also complain because every English person has six times as much say in a UN security council vote as you do? God forbid how much more power certain small country citizens have in a general assembly vote. The problem is that we all like the look at the states as just an expedient government structure, when, at the time the constitution was written, and perhaps even now, they fall closer to being small countries bound in one big allegiance with lots of privileges granted to all citizens in all countries.
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Angua » Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:28 pm UTC

Surely if the small states didn't have as much of the vote as large states, then they would be less represented and basically controlled by the larger states (which I personally think sounds more undemocratic, as then everyone living in those states would have even less of a say). I thought the idea was to have more people having a voice in how they are governed, not less.
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Shivahn » Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:57 pm UTC

Angua wrote:Surely if the small states didn't have as much of the vote as large states, then they would be less represented and basically controlled by the larger states (which I personally think sounds more undemocratic, as then everyone living in those states would have even less of a say). I thought the idea was to have more people having a voice in how they are governed, not less.

The system we have now has every individual Wyoming senate vote (assuming everyone votes, because it makes math easier) equal to about seventy-two Californian votes.

This is one of the main reasons that the "vocal minority," who runs the smaller states, can fuck up things like abortion, healthcare, the budget, etc. for everyone.

I am actually pretty fine with smaller states being less represented and more controlled by the larger states because states aren't people.

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby aldonius » Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:35 pm UTC

The system goes wrong most commonly when the Senate is 'hostile'. This is annoying, but since the Senate can only ratify or reject laws (bunch of other items too, but they're not important day-to-day), it's at worst a misfeature, not a bug - the primary purpose of the Senate is to protect states IMHO.
The question is, assuming an upper house *is* useful and desirable at a national level, how do we implement that in the absence of states?

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Lazar » Sat Jul 16, 2011 4:11 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:You still maintain that making sure small states have disproportionate amounts of power is a good thing. It's not: there is no reason a state should not have power proportional to its population. But if it has power disproportionate to its population, then people arbitrarily have more of a say-so in democracy.

The crucial point here is that the US isn't a unitary state (like, say, France), but rather a federation: the basic units of sovereignty are the states, and the federal government exists only as the result of an agreement among them. They agreed that they would retain some powers while delegating others to the federal government, and that they would create one legislative house with equal representation for the states, and one with (roughly) equal representation for the people as a whole. It's true that some federal states (e.g. Canada and Germany) make an attempt to weight the representation in the upper house by population, but this is something that has to be agreed on by the constituent states. As Dark Avorian points out, it's useful in some contexts to think of a federal state as a country composed of countries.

Anyways, does New Zealand have anything resembling states? According to wikipedia, it had provinces, but those were abandoned due to bureaucratic inefficiencies.

Of the old British dominions, Canada and Australia are federal, but New Zealand is unitary. So, no.

Aldonius wrote:The system goes wrong most commonly when the Senate is 'hostile'. This is annoying, but since the Senate can only ratify or reject laws (bunch of other items too, but they're not important day-to-day), it's at worst a misfeature, not a bug - the primary purpose of the Senate is to protect states IMHO.

Yep. In cynical terms its most important function is to obstruct - it's certainly obstructed many good things in the past, but sometimes the House passes something crazy, and then we're happy that the Senate is there to vote it down.
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Viae » Sat Jul 16, 2011 6:17 pm UTC

Hey, Sourmilk, this will blow your mind. There's something called the House of Lords where more than one in ten people who sit there do so by hereditary right, and there are more than two dozen Church of England bishops but no-one from any other denominations/religions. None of the rest are directly elected And people are largely ok with this.
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Mechanicus » Sat Jul 16, 2011 7:55 pm UTC

The system goes wrong most commonly when the Senate is 'hostile'. This is annoying, but since the Senate can only ratify or reject laws (bunch of other items too, but they're not important day-to-day), it's at worst a misfeature, not a bug - the primary purpose of the Senate is to protect states IMHO.
The question is, assuming an upper house *is* useful and desirable at a national level, how do we implement that in the absence of states?
France does it by indirect elections by local government. I think the House of Lords is the only upper house in the democratic world which doesn't correspond to subnational entities in any way; instead it's evolved into a house of so-called "worthy people" - academics, businessmen, judges/lawyers, civil servants, charity execs and of course, ex-politicians. Because of the primacy of the House of Commons (if the two houses disagree, the Commons can get its way the next session) the gridlock we have seen in the US and Australian Senates is avoided.

Hey, Sourmilk, this will blow your mind. There's something called the House of Lords where more than one in ten people who sit there do so by hereditary right, and there are more than two dozen Church of England bishops but no-one from any other denominations/religions. None of the rest are directly elected And people are largely ok with this.
To be fair, there are members of other religions there (Chief Rabbi Lord Sachs, former Methodist congress president Lord Harries of Pentregarth, Conservative Muslim Forum chair Lord Sheikh, etc.), they're just appointed for life rather than their time in office.

Surprisingly, the House of Lords is a rather effective revising chamber with 80% of the eligible legislation being amended thousands of times a session. Compare this to the Australian Senate, which amends 24% of the legislation it receives with hundreds of amendments and rejects 7% of bills outright. Not many other upper chambers are easy to compare though.

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby LtNOWIS » Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:30 pm UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:I can't really imagine them throwing out one monarch in favor of another in this day and age, however. I'd guess they would just scrap the whole archaic institution instead.

Right. And that happened in a lot of countries in the 20th century, and even the 21st century. Also, on a number of occasions, an old monarch has resigned in favor of one of their children, who they hope will be more popular. There are absolute monarchs still, who do use oppression to stay in power, but they're only around in the middle east and possibly Brunei.

aldonius wrote:You're right in that nowadays, there's no real need for the disproportionate power. Point was that no self-respecting state is going to join a federation where its interests are guaranteed to be swamped by larger, established states.
Perhaps we should rectify the situation by abolishing states, or reorganising them, or something. AIUI, both US and Aussie Senates act largely as a check on the Houses of Reps, so the problem is largely solved by further restricting the Senate's power.

The thing is, none of that is at all practicable in the US, given everyone's love of the Constitution. As sourmilk said, everyone from the extreme right to the far left voices support to the Constitution. Everyone in federal government or the military has sworn allegiance to it. There may be political support for amendments, but a wholesale restructuring is off the table.

In any event, the whole point of the Senate is that it's undemocratic and designed to put small states on an equal footing with big states. That's why you'll have a lot of pedants and people trying to prove a point who insist that the US is a republic, not a democracy.

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Viae » Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:47 pm UTC

Mechanicus wrote:
Hey, Sourmilk, this will blow your mind. There's something called the House of Lords where more than one in ten people who sit there do so by hereditary right, and there are more than two dozen Church of England bishops but no-one from any other denominations/religions. None of the rest are directly elected And people are largely ok with this.
To be fair, there are members of other religions there (Chief Rabbi Lord Sachs, former Methodist congress president Lord Harries of Pentregarth, Conservative Muslim Forum chair Lord Sheikh, etc.), they're just appointed for life rather than their time in office.

Surprisingly, the House of Lords is a rather effective revising chamber with 80% of the eligible legislation being amended thousands of times a session. Compare this to the Australian Senate, which amends 24% of the legislation it receives with hundreds of amendments and rejects 7% of bills outright. Not many other upper chambers are easy to compare though.

Oh, I'm massively in favour of it, it provides some element of meritocracy in a government dominated by Eton->PPE graduates.
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Mechanicus » Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:12 pm UTC

Oh, I'm massively in favour of it, it provides some element of meritocracy in a government dominated by Eton->PPE graduates.
Hah, sadly that's very true. :)

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby sourmìlk » Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:41 pm UTC

Hey, Sourmilk, this will blow your mind. There's something called the House of Lords where more than one in ten people who sit there do so by hereditary right, and there are more than two dozen Church of England bishops but no-one from any other denominations/religions. None of the rest are directly elected And people are largely ok with this.

Actually, they're not okay with it, which is why they recently abolished heredity ascension to the house of lords.

As for the senate: the fact that states are semi-sovereign units says nothing about why they should be given equal representation in congress. There's no reason that a person in Wyoming should have 30 times more say in a law that gets passed than I should. That person in Wyoming has done nothing to gain that power of me, and to give it to him is undemocratic. Either make it so that the senate is abolished, nationally elected, or only able to make decisions over regional issues.
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Jahoclave » Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:53 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Hey, Sourmilk, this will blow your mind. There's something called the House of Lords where more than one in ten people who sit there do so by hereditary right, and there are more than two dozen Church of England bishops but no-one from any other denominations/religions. None of the rest are directly elected And people are largely ok with this.

Actually, they're not okay with it, which is why they recently abolished heredity ascension to the house of lords.

As for the senate: the fact that states are semi-sovereign units says nothing about why they should be given equal representation in congress. There's no reason that a person in Wyoming should have 30 times more say in a law that gets passed than I should. That person in Wyoming has done nothing to gain that power of me, and to give it to him is undemocratic. Either make it so that the senate is abolished, nationally elected, or only able to make decisions over regional issues.

Nor does it say things have to be done your way either. There isn't a universal best governmental setup. I would have to say that our system disenfranchises a lot of people by making their vote absolutely worthless just based on where they live geographically. But, that's neither here nor there for this discussion when the Queen represents a colonial powers influence on their lands. This really isn't the place to be having a discussion over various methods of democracy.

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby skeptical scientist » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:14 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:As for the senate: the fact that states are semi-sovereign units says nothing about why they should be given equal representation in congress. There's no reason that a person in Wyoming should have 30 times more say in a law that gets passed than I should. That person in Wyoming has done nothing to gain that power of me, and to give it to him is undemocratic. Either make it so that the senate is abolished, nationally elected, or only able to make decisions over regional issues.

Democracy is often called the "tyranny of the majority" because it does nothing to protect minorities from the will of an indifferent or hostile majority. Democracy is far from perfect, and institutions (such as the Senate) which make it less democratic can make for a government which better protects the needs of all its citizens. To take another example (one more relevant to the matter at hand), New Zealand has Māori-only electorates in parliament which are filled by polling people of Māori descent who have chosen to place themselves on separate, Māori-only voting rolls. These take the government away from a simple "one person, one vote" system, but can lead to a system which better protects disadvantaged or historically exploited minorities.
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby sourmìlk » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:18 pm UTC

"People from Wyoming" are not of a discriminated-against minority. This "Tyranny of the Majority" thing doesn't work because states aren't people. People are people, and we should value them infinitely more than we should value the supposed rights of a state.
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Jahoclave » Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:26 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:"People from Wyoming" are not of a discriminated-against minority. This "Tyranny of the Majority" thing doesn't work because states aren't people. People are people, and we should value them infinitely more than we should value the supposed rights of a state.

And people of Wyoming don't matter in a discussion about New Zealand's indigenous people either. So how's about we get a little bit more on topic than your vendetta against the U.S. Senate?

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby LtNOWIS » Sun Jul 17, 2011 1:23 am UTC

Apparently there's a somewhat long history of Maori MPs having problems with the oath.

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Viae » Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:37 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Hey, Sourmilk, this will blow your mind. There's something called the House of Lords where more than one in ten people who sit there do so by hereditary right, and there are more than two dozen Church of England bishops but no-one from any other denominations/religions. None of the rest are directly elected And people are largely ok with this.

Actually, they're not okay with it, which is why they recently abolished heredity ascension to the house of lords.

I'm sorry, I didn't realise you lived here. And presumably you're talking about the House of Lords act 1999, which actually only restricted the number of Lords who gained hereditary seats.
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:02 am UTC

Viae wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
Hey, Sourmilk, this will blow your mind. There's something called the House of Lords where more than one in ten people who sit there do so by hereditary right, and there are more than two dozen Church of England bishops but no-one from any other denominations/religions. None of the rest are directly elected And people are largely ok with this.

Actually, they're not okay with it, which is why they recently abolished heredity ascension to the house of lords.

I'm sorry, I didn't realise you lived here. And presumably you're talking about the House of Lords act 1999, which actually only restricted the number of Lords who gained hereditary seats.


Eh, according to wikipedia it made it so that nobody could gain a seat hereditarily, but that some people who had gained their seat that way were allowed to stay. Am I misreading that?

The act even starts with

No-one shall be a member of the House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage.
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Viae » Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:25 am UTC

"However, as part of a compromise, the Act did permit ninety-two hereditaries to remain in the House on an interim basis. Another ten hereditaries were created life peers to be able to remain in the House.[5]"
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:27 am UTC

Viae wrote:"However, as part of a compromise, the Act did permit ninety-two hereditaries to remain in the House on an interim basis. Another ten hereditaries were created life peers to be able to remain in the House.[5]"


Yeah, so some people were allowed to stay, I said that. But you still don't get to gain your seats hereditarily, which is the point
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Viae » Sun Jul 17, 2011 7:13 am UTC

Yes, they do. Seeing as 10 ex-hereditary peers were made life peers, obviously the separate group of people who kept their hereditary life peerages are in fact hereditary.
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby DrSir » Sun Jul 17, 2011 7:42 am UTC

Shivahn wrote:
Angua wrote:Surely if the small states didn't have as much of the vote as large states, then they would be less represented and basically controlled by the larger states (which I personally think sounds more undemocratic, as then everyone living in those states would have even less of a say). I thought the idea was to have more people having a voice in how they are governed, not less.

The system we have now has every individual Wyoming senate vote (assuming everyone votes, because it makes math easier) equal to about seventy-two Californian votes.

This is one of the main reasons that the "vocal minority," who runs the smaller states, can fuck up things like abortion, healthcare, the budget, etc. for everyone.

I am actually pretty fine with smaller states being less represented and more controlled by the larger states because states aren't people.


Minor nitpick, but the whole point of democracy is everyone gets their opinion. Just cus their opinion differs from yours, doesn't mean they are wrong (comes with the title of democracy yaknow)

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Diadem » Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:16 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:You still maintain that making sure small states have disproportionate amounts of power is a good thing. It's not: there is no reason a state should not have power proportional to its population. But if it has power disproportionate to its population, then people arbitrarily have more of a say-so in democracy.

Actually, if you want to make every voter have an equal say in a federation, the number of seats each state should get should be proportional to the square root of its population.

In lieu of that, making two houses and make one proportional to population and one equal for every state, is a reasonably good compromise.
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Deep_Thought » Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:41 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Viae wrote:"However, as part of a compromise, the Act did permit ninety-two hereditaries to remain in the House on an interim basis. Another ten hereditaries were created life peers to be able to remain in the House.[5]"


Yeah, so some people were allowed to stay, I said that. But you still don't get to gain your seats hereditarily, which is the point

Instead you get it by patronage, which isn't a brilliant system either. I'm pretty conflicted about the House of Lords. I dislike the complete lack of electoral representation, and some of the day-to-day mechanics of how it works (You can keep your Lord title but never actually show up to do anything, for instance). But I can see the huge benefits of allowing experienced politicians etc. to remain in the system without the need to pander to an electorate, in order to help amend bad legislation.
Viae wrote:Yes, they do. Seeing as 10 ex-hereditary peers were made life peers, obviously the separate group of people who kept their hereditary life peerages are in fact hereditary.

But they should, hopefully, be the last group to do so. As in, I thought that once this group passed on their descendants were not going to take their places.

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:48 pm UTC

Minor nitpick, but the whole point of democracy is everyone gets their opinion.

Exactly. So why can't I express my opinion as powerfully as a Rhode Islander?

Also, the point is that the current lords are the last ones to gain their seats hereditarily. Hereditary ascension to the house of lords has been abolished. Completely. Just because there's a grandfather clause doesn't mean that heredity ascension hasn't been abolished, because nobody can get into the house of lords via parentage.
Last edited by sourmìlk on Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:49 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Shivahn » Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:49 pm UTC

DrSir wrote:
Shivahn wrote:
Angua wrote:Surely if the small states didn't have as much of the vote as large states, then they would be less represented and basically controlled by the larger states (which I personally think sounds more undemocratic, as then everyone living in those states would have even less of a say). I thought the idea was to have more people having a voice in how they are governed, not less.

The system we have now has every individual Wyoming senate vote (assuming everyone votes, because it makes math easier) equal to about seventy-two Californian votes.

This is one of the main reasons that the "vocal minority," who runs the smaller states, can fuck up things like abortion, healthcare, the budget, etc. for everyone.

I am actually pretty fine with smaller states being less represented and more controlled by the larger states because states aren't people.


Minor nitpick, but the whole point of democracy is everyone gets their opinion. Just cus their opinion differs from yours, doesn't mean they are wrong (comes with the title of democracy yaknow)

Sometimes opinions are wrong, though. And when power is weighted so that certain people have more power than others, you can end up with tyranny of the minority, as weird as that is.

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby LtNOWIS » Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:22 pm UTC

Deep_Thought wrote:But they should, hopefully, be the last group to do so. As in, I thought that once this group passed on their descendants were not going to take their places.

Nope. When a hereditary peer dies, another one is chosen so that the number stays at 92. There's a by-election, where either other hereditary peers or the whole House of Lords gets to elect a new member via the Instant Runoff Voting method. So when John Monson, 11th Baron Monson died in May, the other Crossbench Hereditary Peers got together and decided John Lytton, 5th Earl of Lytton, should be in the House of Lords.

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:51 pm UTC

LtNOWIS wrote:
Deep_Thought wrote:But they should, hopefully, be the last group to do so. As in, I thought that once this group passed on their descendants were not going to take their places.

Nope. When a hereditary peer dies, another one is chosen so that the number stays at 92.

I don't think it makes sense to choose hereditary peers. They're already chosen by the fact that they were born to another person, right?

Anyways, from that article you linked:
Since November 2002 by-elections have been held to fill vacancies left by deaths of those peers.


So, people don't gain ascension to the house of lords via birth.
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Arancaytar » Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:29 am UTC

Diadem wrote:This was resolved by declaring him unfit for office, having parliament sign the law, and declaring him fit for office again.


As an aside, I like the elegance in that - particularly the last bit. No vindictiveness, no deposing, just "please stay out of our hair for a moment while we're getting stuff done."
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby LtNOWIS » Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:07 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:I don't think it makes sense to choose hereditary peers. They're already chosen by the fact that they were born to another person, right?

Anyways, from that article you linked:
Since November 2002 by-elections have been held to fill vacancies left by deaths of those peers.


So, people don't gain ascension to the house of lords via birth.

Read the names of the candidates in the elections. It's only people with hereditary titles of nobility, by virtue of birth. As the article says, "All those on the Register of Hereditary Peers are eligible to stand [for election]." If Joe Smith from Liverpool wants to run for one of these seats, he's out of luck.

In other words, there's a group of people in Britain who, by virtue of birth, are part of the nobility. In addition to various intangible social benefits, they're the only people who can be elected to the Lords through one of these reserved hereditary seats.

Of course, they're also barred from running for the House of Commons unless they renounce their titles, so there's that downside.

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby ConMan » Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:09 am UTC

LtNOWIS wrote:So when John Monson, 11th Baron Monson died in May, the other Crossbench Hereditary Peers got together and decided John Lytton, 5th Earl of Lytton, should be in the House of Lords.

Which I assume happened on a dark and stormy night.
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Qaanol » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:02 am UTC

@sourmilk: Others have already described the Great Compromise of 1787 that convinced enough states to ratify the constitution. But another point bears mention.

When the large states dominate the house and the small states dominate the senate, it is very difficult to pass any law whatsoever. And this is a good thing. For the most part, the best thing that congress can do is to do nothing at all.

Having the house and senate as they are means most of the time a law will not get passed unless it benefits both small states and large states. In other words, only when the law is good for the country as a whole.

Diadem wrote:Actually, if you want to make every voter have an equal say in a federation, the number of seats each state should get should be proportional to the square root of its population.

How do you figure?
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:48 am UTC

Read the names of the candidates in the elections. It's only people with hereditary titles of nobility, by virtue of birth. As the article says, "All those on the Register of Hereditary Peers are eligible to stand [for election]." If Joe Smith from Liverpool wants to run for one of these seats, he's out of luck.

Yes, but this just means that people have gained their position via parentage, and they were allowed to stay. My statement that nobody can (present tense) ascend to the house of lords via parentage still stands.

Qaanol wrote:@sourmilk: Others have already described the Great Compromise of 1787 that convinced enough states to ratify the constitution. But another point bears mention.

I recognize why we have the senate, but I view it as a necessary evil. At least, when the constitution was being ratified. Now it's not necessary.

When the large states dominate the house and the small states dominate the senate, it is very difficult to pass any law whatsoever. And this is a good thing. For the most part, the best thing that congress can do is to do nothing at all.

Having the house and senate as they are means most of the time a law will not get passed unless it benefits both small states and large states. In other words, only when the law is good for the country as a whole.

And you don't see this as problematic? If a law benefits California more than it benefits Wyoming, that is okay. What's not okay is giving disproportionate weight to Wyoming because of where its borders were drawn.
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Deep_Thought » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:34 am UTC

LtNOWIS wrote:
Deep_Thought wrote:But they should, hopefully, be the last group to do so. As in, I thought that once this group passed on their descendants were not going to take their places.

Nope. When a hereditary peer dies, another one is chosen so that the number stays at 92. There's a by-election, where either other hereditary peers or the whole House of Lords gets to elect a new member via the Instant Runoff Voting method. So when John Monson, 11th Baron Monson died in May, the other Crossbench Hereditary Peers got together and decided John Lytton, 5th Earl of Lytton, should be in the House of Lords.

Well, damn. Shows how much I know. Bloody Westminster can't do anything right.

sourmìlk wrote:Yes, but this just means that people have gained their position via parentage, and they were allowed to stay. My statement that nobody can (present tense) ascend to the house of lords via parentage still stands.

I think you are misunderstanding LtNOWIS, who has enlightened me. There are 92 seats in the House of Lords that are reserved for, essentially, the aristocracy. To gain one of those seats you have to be elected by the currently sitting Hereditary Peers, and only members of the aristocracy are eligible. So to get one is a combination of parentage and election by others with parentage, with the parentage bit being the dominant factor (According to Wikipedia there are roughly 700 inheritable titles in the UK, so about 15% of them get to sit in the Lords at any one time).

I'm quite angry now.

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:41 am UTC

Wait, where does it say that those seats are only available to members of the aristocracy?
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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby Deep_Thought » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:46 am UTC

The link LtNOWIS posted here:
LtNOWIS wrote:Nope. When a hereditary peer dies, another one is chosen so that the number stays at 92. There's a by-election, where either other hereditary peers or the whole House of Lords gets to elect a new member via the Instant Runoff Voting method. So when John Monson, 11th Baron Monson died in May, the other Crossbench Hereditary Peers got together and decided John Lytton, 5th Earl of Lytton, should be in the House of Lords.

The hereditary peers are the last remnants of Britain's aristocracy.

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Re: Maori MP refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:56 am UTC

I read that, but I still don't see where it says that the only candidates for House of Lordship are aristocrats.
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