The case for an elected second chamber is a reasonable one,
Many criticise an appointed second chamber as an extreme example of the appropriation of power by the centre than the way the House of Lord is appointed – by a system of patronage that is totally unaccountable. MPs are edged out of safe seats to make way for new blood and given a berth in the Lords as compensation; or party donors are gifted a seat in return for their largesse. And then there are the hereditary peers.
The Liberal Democrats are pushing for a fully elected chamber, the conservatives have thus compromised their position of 2005 and have agreed to pursue this; reform is promised before 2015.
A wholly unregulated appointments" has become "critical". In less than a year, he appointed 117 peers, a third of Tony Blair's total in 11 years in power. When it comes to the House of Lords, Cameron would seem to think that Whitehall does indeed have all the answers. Swollen patronage makes proportionality among the parties difficult and renders the House of Lords "completely unable to do its job". Opponents of the status quo add that while sagacity is evident in some peers, in others prejudice, bigotry and docility to whichever party granted them a peerage is abundant.
A partially or fully elected upper chamber would not be without major challenges. The primacy of the Commons will have to be ensured and, critically, the question of how Britain can keep the degree of independence, experience and diversity that is unique to the Lords.
But the strongest case for reform is to remove the democratic deficit that is baked into our society by the current system. The House of Lords is a closed political world in an increasingly open society in which citizen democracy and grassroots activism flourish, not least through social media. There is a danger that it will start to feel increasingly archaic in a world in which – as at the last European elections – the…