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Them & Us
Job for life for new hereditary lord...
Aeneas Simon Mackay, a Tory investment banker, can now vote on our laws and claim £305 a day for life after an election he could only enter because his great-grandad's cousin's dad's fourth cousin's dad's cousin's great-great-great-grandad was made a Lord in 1628.
Mackay is the 15th Lord Reay and won a recent 'hereditary peer by-election' and is now a member of the House of Lords. The 53-year-old is the chief of ancient Scottish Clan Mackay, whose former leader Donald Mackay was handed a peerage by Charles I.
Charles I must have been off his head to award a peerage to the original Lord Reay as he was described by the family as a "magician who won a work-loving gang of fairies in an encounter with a witch in a cave".
This feudal relic is a hangover from Tony Blair's reform of the House of Lords in 1999. As part of the reform he compromised and allowed 92 hereditary peers to remain.
But even those who are not hereditary peers only get there by pleasing the government that appointed them.
We need elected workers' representatives in parliament. But for fundamental social change to come about we also need independent working-class movements outside parliament.
Abolition of the House of Lords is an important step in the democratisation of politics.
...homeless deaths rise
The 15th Lord Reay went to university in Oxford which, despite educating Britain's elite, has seen a massive spike in homeless deaths as the city's poor face a severe lack of housing and little support for people with mental health and addiction problems.
Four homeless people have died in Oxford since November. One formerly homeless woman who volunteers to support rough sleepers in the city, said: "I am worried about who is going to be next. This is the worst I have seen it in Oxford."
Oxford is not alone either. Other towns and cities have seen homeless deaths, and the amount of rough sleepers has gone up considerably.
The high rents that force people out need to be capped. The cuts to housing and homelessness services that have taken place so far should be stopped and reversed. Build houses and fund services now to stop any more homeless deaths!
In The Socialist 6 February 2019:
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