WHEN Ruth Davidson was given her seat in the Lords for services to making out that the Conservatives are not really Alien Lizard people who steal food from poor children, she promised that she was taking up her seat in order to “reform” the House of Lords.

Upon taking up her ermine robes in 2021, Ruth “don't call me Baroness” Davidson said that she was doing so in large measure in order to "reform the House of Lords into a democratic chamber".

However, over a year later, it transpires that she has had as much success in reforming the House of Lords as she had in reforming the Scottish Conservatives – so not a whole lot, then.

The Lords continues to be a bloated House of Patronage, stuffed to the gills with political has-beens, lackeys, toadies and failures. Davidson will shortly be joined in her unelected and unaccountable privilege by such, ahem, luminaries, as Alister Jack and Nadine Dorries.

They have both been awarded peerages for their sterling work in enabling the most dishonest, corrupt and detestable waste of space who has occupied Number 10 in the modern era, further bloating an already bloated chamber which is only exceeded in the number of its members by the National People's Congress of China, which unlike the House of Lords at least has the grace to pretend to be democratic.

There is no legislative chamber anywhere in the world, and certainly not in any democratic state, which is so nakedly undemocratic and based upon such open patronage.

The Lords is an offence to democratic decency. It continues to exist because the leaders of the two main parties in the UK's unfair and anti-democratic two-party first-past-the-post system find it a useful means of rewarding their cronies and donors and for providing a convenient retirement home on the public purse from which senior party members like Ruth Davidson can continue to enjoy a political platform and keep influencing public policy and legislation without having to trouble themselves with trivial issues like democracy.

The Conservatives continue to stuff the Lords with new members. Johnson did so in his resignation honours list despite being forced out of office by a Conservative Party which could no longer tolerate his lack of honour, and it's not as if the modern Conservative Party has set the bar especially high in that regard.

Liz Truss, too, will have her resignation honours list despite scarcely being in office long enough to complain about the wallpaper and having as her sole achievement a disaster of a mini-Budget which has cost the public purse an estimated £30 billion, meaning that Truss cost the public £682m every single day that she was in office. Remember that figure the next time that Douglas Ross complains about the cost to the public of the ferries.

Despite her claims to have accepted her peerage in order to reform the House of Lords, in the year that she has been a member of the Lords, Ruth Davidson has not once seen fit to mention democratic reform of the upper chamber during any of the six times she has spoken since arriving there. Far less has she done anything about reform of the Lords. The formerly prolific tweeter has not published a single tweet about reform of the Lords since taking up her seat.

Now we have learned that despite her fitful attendance record and limited speaking in the chamber, Ruth Davidson has claimed more than £15,000 in allowances and expenses. Records from the Lords show that Davidson has only attended 34 days and a mere 18% of the 194 votes held in the chamber during the 11 months which official records cover so far.

Members of the Lords are entitled to claim £323 for each day that they attend. Davidson claimed £9744 for her 34 days of attendance and a further £5716 in expenses. It's a nice wee side gig for her and for the other beneficiaries of unaccountable political patronage.

However, the real issue here is not that Davidson has cost the public £15,000 for very little return – that sum is a drop in the ocean compared to the vast sums that the Conservatives have cost us these past two months alone.

It's the offence to democracy that the Lords represents, an outdated and insulting relic that has no place in a modern society, a ridiculous anachronism that both Labour and the Tories continue to defend, because it's in their narrow party political interests to do so.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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