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【2015.10.31】Right answer, spoken out of turn 不合时宜的正确答案

发表于 2015-11-6 12:36:54 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
本帖最后由 黑蔷薇 于 2015-11-6 14:17 编辑

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Britain’s House of Lords
Right answer, spoken out of turn

As long as it remains unelected, the second chamber cannot be a serious check on government

Oct 31st 2015 | From the print edition

RETURNED to power with a surprise majority in May and now facing a weak Labour opposition, Britain’s Conservative government has found everything almost too easy. Sure enough, on October 26th came the banana skin: a flailing defeat in the House of Lords, the drowsy but occasionally deadly upper chamber, which voted to delay a big welfare cut.


The slip-up was richly deserved. The scotched plan, to take £4.4 billion ($6.7 billion) in tax credits, mostly from the lowest-paid, would have inflicted hardship on the country’s poorest children and reduced incentives for their parents to work. Britain is better off with the measures on ice. Yet the defeat by the Lords presents a bigger problem. Unelected and unaccountable, the peers tread on dangerous ground when they slap down the plans of an elected government. If the House of Lords is to serve as a check on power—which, as this week showed, is needed—it must undergo a few reforms of its own.


Peer pressure 贵族的压力

The tax-credit plans deserved a trashing. The people they affected would not, as the government claimed, be fully reimbursed by other tweaks to tax policy and a higher minimum wage (see article). Far from nudging more people into employment, the cuts would reduce the incentive to work for most of them, raising the effective marginal rate of tax to as much as 80%. The higher minimum wage will add to the mess by reducing the incentive for employers to create jobs.


Following the defeat in the Lords the chancellor, George Osborne, has promised to soften the reform’s impact, perhaps by raising the threshold for national-insurance contributions. That wouldn’t work: tax credits are aimed at poor families, whereas higher thresholds would benefit a broader, richer group. The only way to cancel the effects of this flawed policy is to junk it—or take less money out of the system.

被上议院否决后,George Osborne承诺将会以更加温和的方式进行改革,比如提高国民保险费的阀值。(然而)这样并不起作用:税收补贴针对的是贫困家庭,而提高国民保险费阀值将会使基数更大、更加富裕的人群受惠。唯一能消除其瑕疵政策所带来的负面影响的办法是彻底抛弃它,或少削减一些国民预算。

So the Lords are right. But they are also wrong, having overstepped their constitutional limit, in so far as anyone can tell where it lies. A 300-year-old convention—formalised, sort of, in a century-old law—holds that the Lords cannot scupper “money bills” (see article). The tax-credit measure is a statutory instrument, not a bill, so some argue it is open to scrutiny (the Tories only have themselves to blame for this doubt: they chose a statutory instrument to curb debate in the Commons). But the billions in play make it a money bill in all but name.  


Every time the unelected Lords flex their muscles Britain is less democratic. Labour and the Liberal Democrats handily outnumber the Tories there, though Labour was pummelled in the May election, and the Liberal Democrats were almost wiped out. Peers almost never retire—even after earning criminal convictions—meaning the chamber takes a lifetime to overhaul. Unlike ministers of other religions, 26 Church of England bishops get a place, though only one in six Britons is Anglican. The bishops anointed their first woman only this year and still exclude “practising” homosexuals. Bad as the tax-credit plan is, it is hard to cheer its defeat by a chamber of losers, crooks and self-appointed holy men.


With Labour so weak in the Commons, an alternative check on the government is more valuable than ever. The Lords have defeated the government 19 times since May, often with good reason. But, to act as a brake, they need clarity and a mandate. That means a written constitution to codify their powers, and election of its members. The Commons resists Lords reform for fear of a rival chamber with the legitimacy to challenge it—and then proceeds to scream illegitimacy whenever the Lords blocks legislation. If the tax-credits debacle provokes a rethink, it will be long overdue.


From the print edition: Leaders



上议院(House of Lords),直译贵族院,是英国国会的上院(upper house)。英国国会同时也由英国君主与下议院(British House of Commons,直译庶民院)组成。上议院有大约700多名非选举产生之议员,当中包括英国国教会的26名大主教或主教(即“灵职议员”,英文为Lords Spiritual)以及600多名贵族(即“俗职议员”,英文为Lords Temporal)。灵职担任者于其保有神职身份时续任,而俗职为终身职。



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发表于 2015-11-6 15:50:14 | 显示全部楼层
Unlike ministers of other religions, 26 Church of England bishops get a place, though only one in six Britons is Anglican.


谢谢哦~~Church of England只指括英国新教是吗?  详情 回复 发表于 2015-11-8 06:55
发表于 2015-11-7 10:32:33 | 显示全部楼层
1。they chose a statutory instrument to curb debate in the Commons

2。 The bishops anointed their first woman only this year  。
         anoint: To anoint someone means to put oil or water on a part of their body, usually for religious reasons. 意即任命或者授予。

3。 RETURNED to power with a surprise majority  

4。 check  我更喜欢翻译成:制衡。因为监督存在一个问题:谁来监督行使监督权力的人或者机构?

5。 raising the threshold for national-insurance contributions  提高国民保险缴费的门槛。经济学人的文章是深入浅出,能用大白话说明白的,就应该用大白话。


学习了,谢谢~ checkf翻译成制衡太有才了! 不过有两句我还是有点没看懂,第一句“他们选择了一种调控工具来抑制议会中的辩论”是什么意思呢?调控工具怎么用来抑制辩论呢? 第二句“主教今年才任命了第一名女性  详情 回复 发表于 2015-11-8 07:05
 楼主| 发表于 2015-11-8 06:55:57 | 显示全部楼层
Ivlianvs 发表于 2015-11-6 15:50
Unlike ministers of other religions, 26 Church of England bishops get a place, though only one in si ...

谢谢哦~~Church of England只指括英国新教是吗?
 楼主| 发表于 2015-11-8 07:05:50 | 显示全部楼层
fsz 发表于 2015-11-7 10:32
1。they chose a statutory instrument to curb debate in the Commons
       他们选择了一种调控工具以 ...

学习了,谢谢~  checkf翻译成制衡太有才了!



发表于 2015-11-9 09:59:10 | 显示全部楼层
黑蔷薇 发表于 2015-11-8 06:55
谢谢哦~~Church of England只指括英国新教是吗?

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