There is much current discussion about the reform of the House Of Lords and whether it should be elected or not. It should be elected, but not by the general public that periodically elects one set of mediocrities after another, including some corrupt enough to claim large fictional expenses to add to their already over-sufficient salaries. A new set of Lords (and they do not necessarily have to be titled) should consist of four groups, numbering about a hundred in all and required to be there every day.
The four groups should be elected by their peers n what they do, and represent not only their colleagues, but the nation. One group should be elected by academics, those who teach at the highest level, historians, philosophers, social scientists, scientists and others, all from universities. Knowledge, wisdom and academic experience is what they would bring with them.
The second group should be elected by the professions, doctors of medicine, lawyers, accountants and others with professional qualifications. A third group would represent industry and commerce, trade unions, financial services of different kinds and even societies advocating different causes and interests.
The last should be elected from those who were previously in the Lords, both hereditary and appointed peers. They should be unlikely to elect much of the old dead-wood. The new House would be a little like Plato’s Guasanas. The blending of intelligence, knowledge and experience should produce good debate, imaginative solutions and new ideas in a civilized atmosphere, unlike the brawls and postures that we get at present in the Commons, where it is only too obvious that no-one knows what to do, where incompetence is almost universal and shouting inanities had long replaced oratory and argument from men and women of principle and understanding of the world.
More than a hundred means more absenteeism, fewer results and much longer delays in decisions and action. This project would oblige the new Members of the house to know each other better, understand each other, be more articulate and bring results. Elections every two years would discourage corruption and enable new blood to replace those who fail in the task of running the country well and transparently.
John Calder. 30/06/11