Asked about his favorite joke, David Cameron once famously replied: “Nick Clegg.” That’s made both men a little uncomfortable since the hung parliament after the last British election forced Cameron to offer Clegg the post of Deputy Prime Minister in a coalition government, but life goes on.The PM may have a new punch line this week thanks to Lib Dem party president Tim Farron, who likened British democracy to Syrian tyranny on the grounds that the upper house of parliament, the House of Lords, is not democratically elected. Mr. Farron, the Telegraph reported, charged that it was “ludicrous” for William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, “to have been discussing ‘many undemocratic countries overseas’ in an earlier interview on the Syrian crisis, while ‘here we are, with half our legislature being appointed and not democratically elected.’”Nobody other than the Lib Dems ever really thinks about the House of Lords, even in the UK. Gilbert and Sullivan got it right when they celebrated the irrelevance of the UK’s upper house in Iolanthe: the House of Lords does nothing in particular — and does it very well. But to argue that because that useless appendage isn’t elected, Britain compares with a country that routinely stifles all political dissent and currently shoots its citizens down like dogs in the street is buncombe and poppycock.The propensity to indulge in occasional outbursts of piffle like this helps relegate the Lib Dems to the ornamental rather than the functional parts of the British government; Mr. Farron seems to be doing his little bit to keep the party on the outside looking in for the next 100 years. Nick Clegg, one suspects, is not amused.
David Cameron Gets a New Punchline