I have just noticed that Dr John Parkinson (a politics lecturer at the University of York) has a comment in the Guardian
regarding the House of Lords reform, the government is revisiting this question. Earlier I appreciated the comments about the same thing by Nosemonkey at Europhobia
Basically the argument is that it is not vital for democracy that members of the House of Lords be elected: “Given that, one of the most important roles of democratic institutions is to scrutinise the government, forcing it to defend its proposals in public, and to amend those proposals if they are found wanting.
That is one of the roles that the House of Lords should be playing in British democracy, and in many ways it performs it rather well. The point to emphasise is that it does so in large part because the majority of its members are appointed for life. Appointees are not dependent on parties for their future career
I suppose I could make the point that what we need for the House of Lords is something akin to what we had before TB started to muck about with it. But I cannot see any reason why the lottery of birth should be an automatic entry ticket into the government of the country.
I think the main points should be, not how the members get there, but the power of the second chamber to control possible excesses of any government, independence from executive interference, and a return to a division of state powers.
A commenter at Europhobia said “being free of political attachments has to be a pre-requisite”
I would agree with that. I would add that the second chambers other job would be to see that the Government worked within the bounds of its authority.
That of course presupposes that there are boundaries to the power of the executive. Dr Parkinson says according to the "majoritarian" view of democracy, parties that win elections win a mandate to implement their manifesto promises without interference. Majoritarians think that anything else would be undemocratic: it would be to frustrate the free choice of the people."
But when a party writes a manifesto it might say we will bring in laws to combat terrorism, serious crime, and street crime, all things with which we would agree. It does not say we will bring in laws that enable us to bypass parliament, to lock you up without trial, and create mandatory punishments without due process of law, these may well achieve the aims of the manifesto, but they hardly translate from the manifesto.
Unless we live in a dictatorship there should be limits to the power of government, even if those limits are to be found in their own pre-election manifestos. A major part of the second chambers job aught be to ensure that government power is moderated