IN the wake of the news that Labour peers were leading the field in the acquisition of public funds through sitting, sleeping or munching in the House of Lords, it is gratifying to note that Kevin McKenna (December 29) has not only analysed this but written so well about the hypocrisy it reveals.

Mr McKenna is quite correct to emphasise that alleged values and aims of the Labour Party, such as their claim to improve ordinary people’s lives through the utilisation of power, are utterly meaningless when presented with policies that support the continued existence of the archaic House of Lords. The Lords is an affront to democracy, abused by countless UK administrations and their leaders to reward party apparatchiks and cynical party donors as well as high-profile supporters.

The second largest legislative chamber in the world behind the Chinese National People’s Congress welcomes Labour Party carpetbaggers such as the befuddled Baron of Cumnock and the intellectually challenged Baron McConnell who shamelessly claim tax-free allowances and expenses with nary a thought, it would appear, for the ordinary people of Scotland.

They join such cerebral giants as Baroness Mone and Baron Botham in warming the green leather seats in the Lords for £305 a day. As Mr McKenna states, this should maintain all of their affluent and gentrified lifestyles for a while. Like many prime ministers before him, Boris Johnson has openly exploited the Lords to expediently further his own political ends. The case of failed election candidate and generous Tory donor Malcolm Offord, being ennobled prior to gaining his junior ministerial position, is both unscrupulous and ridiculous in equal measure and merely highlights the absurd and illiberal nature of the Labour Party’s decision to continue the underpinning of a democratic Jurassic Park that, in Kevin McKenna’s words, “embeds the concept of deference in our society”.

Surprisingly few Labour leaders, such as Michael Foot and Jeremy Corbyn, have been in favour of the abolition of the Lords. Most, such as Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair, have favoured piecemeal and tokenistic reforms that won’t upset the status quo too much or risk their party being viewed as left-wing by voters in middle England. Keir Starmer, like so many Labour leaders before him, has abandoned his election pledge to abolish the Lords and now mutters incoherently about “measured reform”.

The House of Lords is a transparently undemocratic chamber that perpetuates the British class system and bolsters the concept of elitism. It is an extravagantly expensive and largely impotent body that is inhabited by a hotch-potch of freeloaders and obsolete politicians. The SNP, thank goodness, have never bought into this parliamentary imbroglio, viewing it, as Mr McKenna does, as a “grace-and-favour bribes factory”.

The Labour Party’s continued participation in this obscene and anachronistic waste of time and money is unforgivable. Described by Clement Attlee as having all the allure of a five-day-old glass of champagne and by Tony Benn as being the equivalent of a British Outer Mongolia for retired politicians, it is time our present-day Labour politicians showed some moral and professional courage by consigning the House of Lords to the dustbin of history, though our own independence may well make this null and void before they eventually take the plunge.

Owen Kelly

THE wes a guid airtikill in The Naitional (December 29) bi Alyn Smith anent the howpfu outcum o the vott ti wale a nyow Preses fur Chile. Alyn tels uz at thai hauddit a referr whedder ir no ti hae a nyow Constitutioun furby. Thusgates Chile hes a Conventioun at is ti pit forrit sicna document nixt eir.

A hae threipit afoir at Scotland suid hae a Constitutiounall Conventioun an ither mair skeillie cheils grie. Than we wul ken whitlik we ir vottin fur whan Scotland hes a referr on hits Benevolence (Independence). Nou Chile ettils at anither gate at we cuid follae. Hae a referr speirin gif we wiss ti hae a Constitutioun drauchtit first an than eftir we can vott ti adop hit ir no. The nyow Constitutioun cuid disyde whit kinna mandate we wuid nott – electioun, referr, ir sempil resilin frae the Treatie o Uinioun.

Westminster wuidna be expekkin hit. Mibbies thai wuidna ken the poust o a Scotch Constitutioun at is a kinna lawbiggin bodie. Gif thai say hit isna ane elekkit bodie, naither is the Houss o Lordes. An gif we wir yibbils ti wun griement we wuid be forderin the main emm, ti jyne Chile in the Unit Nautiouns belyve.

Iain WD Forde