Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Is this what History feels like?

So the House of Commons has voted for a fully elected second chamber; potentially marking the beginning of the final chapter, of the long march to democratic government in the UK begun with the Great Reform Act of 1832 (or even the glorious revolution of 1688 depending on your taste).

I can remember spending weeks learning about the intricacies of the run-up to the Great Reform Act of 1832 as callow 17 year-old A-level student. In 200 years time the 18 year olds of the day, if they focus on the Blair years at all, will be writing essays about devolution and Lords reform.

So is it a sign of the times that this morning the front pages were dominated by the latest non-revelations in some tawdry little political scandal and the 'news' that premium rate phone-ins are a rip-off. You could have probably read through most of the papers cover to cover without realising the Commons was voting on something of deep constitutional significance tonight.

I comfort myself with the suspicion that outside of Westminster there were very few people talking about voting reform in the Dog and Duck in 1832 either.

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