Nanny Ogg, we have a House of Commons too but the etymology of the name never occurred to me. Very interesting. (No House of Lords here though.) Isn't there some sort of reform happening with the House of Lords right now?
Edit: So it is classist? Nanny Ogg, I think you're the only Brit in this thread?
Yup, I'm probably the only Brit in the thread cos the rest of the e hell Brits are enjoying street parties and going down the pub to celebrate the wedding!! We've just got back from my sisters street party- it was brilliant, union jack bunting, red white and blue cakes, cucumber sandwiches, and more Pimms than you can shake a stick at (pimms is THE British summertime drink, hands down. You mix it with lemonade and put chopped cucumber, mint, apple and strawberries in it) All the girls were wearing their "it could have been me" t shirts... And we all went ahhhhhh when they kissed!
Anyway, commoner is classist, but not in a "wrong" way. It's really hard to explain, but it just means "not a toff", and is a term for the majority of the queens subjects. Its a descriptor rather than a word with negative associations - sort of how my doctor could call me obese and sadly be factual, but if she called me a chunky monkey with thunder thighs I'd be getting outta my pram!
I guess if you take the word back, commoner = common = everyday, which is what commoner means "the every day man". I think "common" became an insult around the time that the middle class expanded, and they misused the context of the word to mean an insult ("that's so common", "a common trollop" etc). Common in this context and commoner are very different indeed. If you want to call someone in the UK common these days, you'd call them a Chav or a Ned.
No idea about the house of commons- with the Con-Dem coalition government, theres a large amount of policy reform going through and it's difficult to keep abreast of it. The most interesting political thing happening is the referendum on the first past the post voting system, with the hope to change to the AV system. That's a bit off topic though.