This August will hail in one hundred years of political reform in the United Kingdom, and the true beginnings of British Politics as we now know it today. The new reform called the Parliament Act of 1911 prevented the Lords from vetoing any legislation made in the Commons.
The period was dominated with rival factions opposing each other, and David Lloyd George was the protagonist pushing his People’s Budget through. Another huge factor was the support it received from the Irish Parliamentary Party and the bitter resistance of the Unionist’s who wanted to obstruct Irish home rule. The act represented a huge shift in the political process, placing the legislative power into the rightfully elected candidates as opposed to the hereditary and on the whole undeserved Lords.
One hundred years on and the important shift to the commons remains the fulcrum of British Politics. History often repeats itself, and political reform continues to be a hugely significant factor; especially towards the progressives. This year saw the Alternative Vote (AV) referendum, which failed to win the vote of the public. Yet it highlights that the democratic practices still remain at the forefront, and politicians on both sides valiantly fought their corner to push it through, or to warn it off.
In light of this centenary it can remind one’s self of the huge importance of political reform, and if we as a nation are truly democratic then we must always strive to be as democratic as possible. Perhaps the AV was not quite on the scale of the Parliament Act back in 1911; yet is still a reminder of the power of progressive politics. It is fair to say that it is always ‘Food for Thought’, and who really knows how British Politics will change again.
Contributed by Liam McEvoy