Except change.


Except change.jpg

The House of Lords: The Constitutional Dinosaur Britain Can’t Kill

NOV. 12, 2015

 Matthew d’Ancona in The New York Times

LONDON — Imagine President Obama introducing a controversial welfare proposal that quickly became the contentious subject of many columns and talk shows — but was approved, nonetheless, by Congress.

Then imagine a twist: that an influential club of several hundred former senators and administration officials, industrialists, lawyers, religious leaders and assorted political cronies — not one of them elected to membership — opposed the measure and found a way to obstruct it until the president made a series of concessions.

Plenty of people might be pleased that the proposal had been thwarted. But they might also feel that what had happened was an affront to democracy: Elected representatives had bowed to the will of an unelected elite.

Far from being imaginary, a scenario very like this one recently happened in a country closely tied to the United States — by design. Welcome to Britain, and the very peculiar position of the House of Lords.

From time to time, the composition and power of Parliament’s unelected second chamber come under close scrutiny. This time, it is because its members have sabotaged a measure of the Conservative government.

In an effort to cut welfare costs, Britain’s chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, proposed reducing tax credits intended to help low-paid workers. As compensation, he has ordered employers to pay a new national living wage (rising to about $14 an hour by 2020). The plan would trim spending by $6.7 billion, but its opponents include some fellow Conservatives who argue that Mr. Osborne will be penalizing the very working people whom his party is trying to woo.

The relationship between the House of Commons and the House of Lords is defined by a series of conventions and assumptions, some, though not all, formalized in the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949. One is the rule that the Lords will not oppose a measure that the governing party has promised in its election manifesto. Another is the understanding that the Lords will not interfere with a finance bill.

But much is left open to political interpretation. In this instance, the Upper House deemed that the measure was not covered by either prohibition. Instead, its members considered a variety of motions on the tax credit proposals. After much debate, they voted to send Mr. Osborne back to the drawing board.

The chancellor’s response is expected on Nov. 25, when he will set out a fiscal strategy to eradicate the deficit and bring Britain back into a budget surplus by 2019-20. As part of this, Mr. Osborne will indicate how he plans to alleviate the pain that his tax credit cuts will cause.

What is astonishing is that a mutiny by a legislative chamber without a single elected member could command such a change of course. The closest the House of Lords gets to democracy is when its 821 members vote to choose a new hereditary peer (most are appointed for life, and cannot pass on their title or their seat in the chamber to an heir).

This arrangement was in itself the result of a trade-off both bizarre and entirely in keeping with the curious history of the House. In 1999, the hereditary lords were expelled from Parliament by Prime Minister Tony Blair — only for some to be readmitted by an internal election process. Today, there are 88 such “excepted hereditary peers.” No less remarkably, 25 Church of England bishops are entitled to sit on the red benches of the House.

Of the remainder, the life peers, who are a majority in the House, some are nominated by the main political parties, while others are selected by a parliamentary commission from the nonpartisan pool of people who have gained distinction in the professions, academia or science.

How, in 2015, can one defend an unelected club forming part of the legislature — a heritage site masquerading as a modern institution? With difficulty. Back in 1912, Prime Minister Herbert Asquith declared that an overhaul of this constitutional dinosaur would “brook no delay.” Yet delay is all there has been.

Every time the Lords blocks a government initiative there is fresh talk of reform, a radical plan to install an elected senate. In 2012, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition proposed a mostly elected body, with a much smaller membership, and 15-year terms.

But this new, democratically legitimate Upper House represented a threat to the supposed primacy of the Lower House. And thus Conservative rebels in the Commons thwarted the bill — triggering the worst political crisis in the Coalition’s five years.

This gets to the heart of the matter: the odd asymmetry of the British Parliament. The system looks bicameral, a palace of two chambers, like the American Congress. But this is an illusion.

In practice, the British legislature is unicameral. All authority, including the right to govern, flows from the Commons, which takes its power, in turn, from those who elect its members.

In the Lords, Parliament has not a senate, but a distinguished annex, full of wisdom, experience and specialist knowledge. It can obstruct the Commons, but the Commons wins in the end. If Mr. Osborne wanted to force the issue, there are various procedural tools he could use.

The problem of the tax credits, he knew, was political rather than constitutional. This recent disagreement will not lead to the root-and-branch reform that the Lords patently requires. Yes, the system is indefensible — apart from the fact that, most of the time, it works.

Everyone knows that Lords reform is inevitable. That was clear a century ago. But what’s the hurry?

Matthew d’Ancona is a political columnist for The Guardian and The Evening Standard and a contributing opinion writer.


20:20 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: whisper


Kralingse Plas 1979


01:07 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: bidt niet


Facts versus Gibberish.

12:06 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: double dutch


Is it better to marry than to burn with passion?

Renoir -Jeanne Samary.jpg


Mon âme a son secret, ma vie a son mystère,
Un amour éternel en un moment conçu :
Le mal est sans espoir, aussi j'ai dû le taire,
Et celle qui l'a fait n'en a jamais rien su.

Hélas ! j'aurai passé près d'elle inaperçu,
Toujours à ses côtés, et pourtant solitaire.
Et j'aurai jusqu'au bout fait mon temps sur la terre,
N'osant rien demander et n'ayant rien reçu.

Pour elle, quoique Dieu l'ait faite douce et tendre,
Elle suit son chemin, distraite et sans entendre
Ce murmure d'amour élevé sur ses pas.

À l'austère devoir, pieusement fidèle,
Elle dira, lisant ces vers tout remplis d'elle
" Quelle est donc cette femme ? " et ne comprendra pas




17:29 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: lauwe thee


In the softness of the evening the branches complain.

lauwe thee

La rue

La rue sexuelle s’anime
le long de faces mal venues,
les cafés pepiant de crimes
deracinent les avenues.

Des mains de sexe brûlent les poches
et les ventres bouent par-dessous;
toutes les pensees s’entrechoquent,
et les tetes moins que les trous.

Antonin Artaud

(1896 - 1948)

19:24 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: lauwe thee


Give me a thousand kisses, a hundred more


baisser les bras.jpg



Let us live, my Lesbia, let us love,
and all the words of the old, and so moral,
may they be worth less than nothing to us!
Suns may set, and suns may rise again:
but when our brief light has set,
night is one long everlasting sleep.
Give me a thousand kisses, a hundred more,
another thousand, and another hundred,
and, when we’ve counted up the many thousands,
confuse them so as not to know them all,
so that no enemy may cast an evil eye,
by knowing that there were so many kisses.


Gaius Valerius Catullus


The first path of virtue. #‎ThoughtsThatMatter‬

Zbigniew Herbert says in "Król mrówek. Prywatna mitologia"

"It should not be calling for help the Gods even in extreme cases; they might be busy at the time with something else, and an excessive insistence on our part can have an opposite effect. Moreover, it is a doubtful matter or any human communication can ever reach their ears, due to avalanches, volcanic eruptions of many decibels and let alone the magnetic storms."


De koning van de mieren.jpg


Zbigniew Herbert says in "Krol Mrowekin the translation from Polish to Dutch of Gerard Rasch 

"Men dient de Goden zelfs in extreme gevallen niet te hulp te roepen, ze kunnen op dat ogenblik met iets anders bezig zijn en een al te grote opdringerigheid van onze kant kan een tegengesteld effect hebben. Bovendien is het een twijfelachtige zaak of enige menselijke mededeling ooit hun oren kan bereiken, als gevolg van lawines, vulkaanuitbarstingen van vele decibels, om maar te zwijgen van magnetische stormen."

Zbigniew Herbert

vertaling Gerard Rasch 

De koning van de mieren

Mythologische vertellingen

De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam 2004

23:37 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: dakraam


Opposing ‪#‎ThoughtsThatMatter‬.

Mr. L. H. Wiener [ De verhalen ] schrijft:

"Literatuur verwijst naar niets anders dan zichzelf, zoals ook ieder schrijver de schepper is van zijn eigen universum: een heelal waarin hij beschrijft als ster een eenzame baan om de aarde  en deze op zich zo paradijselijke planeet waarneemt als de sinistere afwerkplaats voor wellust, kwellust en moordlust die de mens ervan heeft gemaakt."


Jhumpa Lahiri [ In altre parole / Met andere woorden ] daarentegen:

"In het Italiaans schrijf ik zonder stijl, op primitieve wijze. Over alles twijfel ik. Ik heb alleen maar de intentie, samen met een blind maar oprecht vertrouwen, om te worden begrepen en om mezelf te begrijpen."

amore definition.jpg

Mr. L. H. Wiener [ De verhalen / The Stories] writes:

"‪#‎Literature‬ refers to nothing but itself, as every writer is the creator of his own universe, a cosmos which he describes as a star a lonely orbit and this in itself a paradise planet perceives as the sinister sex drive-in made by people for prurience, seepage lust and murder. "


Ms. Jhumpa Lahiri [In altre parole / In other words ] on the other hand:

"In Italian I write without style, primitive. Over all, I doubt. I only have the intention, together with a blind but sincere faith, to be understood and to comprehend myself."



23:17 | Commentaren (0)


Teenagers Stand Up to Backpage



Whose homeland?


Woord tegen woord


Van alle woorden zijn de onze de zwakste,

al liggen zij ontegensprekelijk in de mond.

Niemand verhoort ze, niemand verkracht ze.

Zij kussen de sterren, zij hebben geen grond.


Andere woorden bewegen armen en benen,

vullen schedels, ontsteken de keel.

Een mes in de rug kan vertaald als een streling,

een schop in de buik als noodzakelijk verkeer.


Het andere woord rijmt niet, het bewijst zonder meer

dat de werkelijkheid strookt met uw krant.

Het drukt op uw ogen, de startknop van uw tv,

en licht op. Het maakt ons duister en bang


Charles Ducal

Dichter des vaderlands

Brussel, 2014

20:54 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: vragen


Endless nights ii

01:21 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: lauwe thee


The apocalyptic moccasins of Michel de Nostredame traveling through the Netherlands

The apocalyptic moccasins.jpg

Death Valley

ik, ik word woest wakker en ik schreeuw
slangen achtervolgen mij door de lucht
ik spring in mijn jaguar en vlucht wat ik kan
langs zoutpannen en canyons
schiet de sheriff neer die mijn papieren vraagt
en sla over de kop het ravijn in
ik, ik word woest wakker en ik schreeuw
mijn jaguar ligt in duizend stukken
mijn hoofd slaat op hol van droogte
er zit een revolver in mijn keel
die de wolken aan flarden schiet
adelaars trekken een regenboog van rouw
ik, ik word woest wakker en ik schreeuw
de witte tarwe spat uiteen in donkere wolken
mijn wigwam scheurt in stuifmeel en dauw
uit mijn bed springen lichtgevende slangen
mijn hoofd rent op mocassins van gestolde liefde
door pijlen omsingeld naar de dodemansvallei
ik, ik word woest wakker en ik schreeuw 

Ad Zuiderent

Met de apocalyptische mocassins van Michel de Nostredame op reis door Nederland
De Arbeiderspers
Amsterdam, 1968

18:37 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: man


Not the sleazy imitation.

More than on the road again.jpg



I’m just a human being with a lot of

shit on my heart


 My ambition was not to be a great


           but that’s what I am

       Even in dreams, fiancées

                of other men

              ball on my joint

     And I am the Flying Horse

                 of Mien Mo

When I am an old man

   my grave will rot me

The ones I loved were crazy

    without knowing why

When I am old I’ll yawn

   in the Flannel Grave


Jack Kerouac



Pomes all sizes.

City Lights Books

San Francisco. 1992.


* vertaling Joris Lenstra




Ik ben slechts een mens met een heleboel

 shit op mijn lever 


 Het was niet mijn ambitie om een geweldige minnaar

                        te zijn,

            maar dat ben ik nou eenmaal

        Zelfs in dromen bespringen

                 verloofden van andere

               mannen mijn lijf & leden

      En ik ben het Vliegende Paard

                  van Mien Mo

 Als ik een oude man ben,

    zal ik rotten in mijn graf

 Ik hield van hen die gestoord waren

     zonder dat ze wisten waarom

 Als ik oud ben, zal ik gapen

Jack Kerouac


12:59 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: stodgy


And, yes, I have a dream


We crazy people reasoning from the heart.jpg


Poet for Our Times

I write the headlines for a Daily Paper.
It’s just a knack one’s born with all-right-Squire.
You don’t have to be an educator,
just bang the words down like they’re screaming Fire!

Cheers. Thing is, you got to grab attention
with just one phrase as punters rush on by.
I’ve made mistakes too numerous to mention,
so now we print the buggers inches high.

I like to think that I’m a sort of poet
for our times. My shout. Know what I mean?
I’ve got a special talent and I show it
in punchy haikus featuring the Queen.

Of course, these days, there’s not the sense of panic
you got a few years back. What with the box
et cet. I wish I’d been around when the Titanic
sank. To headline that, mate, would’ve been the tops.

And, yes, I have a dream – make that a scotch, ta –
that kids will know my headlines off by heart.
The poems of the decade… Stuff ’em! Gotcha!
The instant tits and bottom line of art.

Carol Ann Duffy

The Other Country

Anvil, 1990

22:45 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: headlines


Endless nights


The morning after an endless night.jpg


Eindeloze nachten

Slaap, kom en neem mij op,
geef mij rust,
breng mij naar andere horizonten,
verander mij in een heldere ster
aan de hemel.

Vandaar zal ik jullie zien en meeleven
met jullie genoegens en problemen.
We zullen een praatje maken,
want we weten dat de doden
leven onder de levenden.

Stella Timonidou


De Contrabas

december 2007

15:14 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: dood


E che bellezza essere al mondo con te

Owly Images

00:29 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: doorzicht


Si je reste ici, vous ne serez pas écouter mon coeur.

Lyrics | Rod Stewart lyrics - I Don't Want To Talk About It lyrics

19:15 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: dagen


Wie immer. Das Gold von Schubert.


Wiens code oranje

12:25 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: hartendief


De van De Tweets

Tweets by @shevekjl

19:17 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: dakraam


Tea Party Bear

08:54 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: dakraam


Too much again

Het is altijd weer dat miezerige weer weer.



“What a fine weather today! Can’t choose whether to drink tea or to hang myself.”    

 Anton Chekhov






Watch live streaming video from passaporta at livestream.com

20:03 | Commentaren (0)


Upset the applecart



Les ciel est à nos pieds, glissons,

L’esprit est dans nos pieds, volons,

Tout se retourne en équilibre,

La voûte pèse et l’air est libre.

La terre est à nos têtes, demeurons,

fatigue est dans nos têtes, reposons.

Les pieds glissent au ciel et la pensée

Sur terre se repose, renversée


Franz Hellens



De lucht ligt aan je voeten – vlucht!

Je ziel zit in je zolen – vlieg dan,vlug!

Het Al roteert, in evenwicht verscholen.

Gewelven wegen waar de wind toch waait.

De grond groeit in je kop – toe: blijf!

Vermoeid in elke lob – verstijf!

ten hemel vaart je schoeisel en op aard

Verpozen je gedachten, omgedraaid.


Franz Hellens

Vertaling Tom Lanoye


Ceci n’est pas une poésie

[Uitgeverij Atlas – Amsterdam/Antwerpen 2005]


21:39 | Commentaren (0)


Hé ben jij ook bevrijd

In stil gebed.jpg


Er is de stilte
waarin de mens
een tijdelijke waarneming
doet en is

waarin hij de aarde beziet de vrucht
noemt en eet

waarin hij tijd en geluiden
verdeelt en vervoegt

waarin hij onzichtbare goden
en dromen verzwijgt

er is de stilte
die zich bevindt binnen
wat genoemd wordt:

dat wat verstaan wordt

Hester Knibbe

Oogststeen. Een keuze uit de gedichten 1982-2008
De Arbeiderspers
Amsterdam, 2009


19:56 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: lauwe thee


For the beloved in your heart


"Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips."

Khalil Gibran - The Prophet

19:32 | Commentaren (0)


Let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone

"Dance Me To The End Of Love"

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We're both of us beneath our love, we're both of us above
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in
Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Leonard Cohen

Various Positions the seventh studio album by was released in December 1984 (and February 1985)

21:45 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: lief

A Paper "Look back here and now" ii

 Look back.jpg


09:45 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: doorzicht


A paper - De près ou de loin "Look back" ii

09:45 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: doorzicht


Remarkable eighteen days.

21:30 | Commentaren (0) | Tags: doorzicht

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