It always amazes me when the British Parliament is held up as a shining example of democracy. How can that be even remotely so, given the structure of our legislature: a non-elected House of Lords and a first-past-the post House of Commons that benefits a 2 party system, where the leader of the party in power – barring statistical accident – can together with his cronies dictate (sic!) pretty much anything that he or she wants to do? When I took ‘British Constitution at ‘A Level’, great weight was placed on the concept of the ‘unwritten constitution’ – that notion that we Britons played the political game with a straight bat and no Prime Minister would take unfair advantage of a majority to do something against the grain of popular opinion. This clearly was bollocks then and since Thatcher, total bollocks. So it pains me greatly that the two opportunities negotiated by the Liberal Democrats, in this coalition government, have been killed on the vine. The blame for the first failure – a House of Commons elected via proportional representation – can be laid squarely in the court of the LibDems themselves, whose inept and limp campaign was a tragedy. But yesterday’s trashing of the proposal to have a timetabled discussion, on the subject of an elected Second Chamber, was an abuse of power of Animal House proportions.