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How To Elect The House Of Lords

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This is a post cribbed from the comment thread of Daniel Hannan's blog by someone called DRC.

It struck me as an elegantly simple, democratic and brilliant way of replacing the house of lords with what would be an elected chamber.

read on...

Another way to assemble a fully elected Second Chamber, with the explicit intention of ensuring that a single party with a Commons majority could not also command a majority in the Second Chamber.

Step 1 - Nobody voted for Lord Steel to be in the present Parliament, so remove him.

Step 2 - Last May 15,903 people in the Camborne and Redruth constituency voted for Julia Goldsworthy to be in the present Parliament.

She isn't, because 66 more people, 15,969, voted for George Eustice to be in Parliament instead and there is only one seat allocated to that parliamentary constituency.

Now that there is a vacancy in the Second Chamber with the removal of Lord Steel, give that seat to Julia Goldsworthy.

Repeat this process until 650 of the present incumbents of the Second Chamber have been replaced by the parliamentary candidates who came second in their constituency elections last May.

Then remove all the remaining incumbents.

Job done.

The party political breakdown of the Commons would still be:

Tory 306

Labour 258

LibDem 57

Others 29

While the party political breakdown of the new Second Chamber would be:

Tory 190

Labour 159

LibDem 243

Others 58

The party political breakdown across both chambers compared to shares of votes cast would be:

Tory 38% of representatives cf 36% of votes

Labour 32% of representatives cf 29% of votes

LibDem 23% of representatives cf 23% of votes

Others 7% of representatives cf 12% of votes

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But then all the parties would submit 2 candidates, each campaigning for their chosen venue... with people not paying attention and just voting by party anyway.

Then the danger comes from splitting votes etc. Surely becomes unworkable.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not as clear about the different roles and responsibilities of the Commons and the Lords as I could be, but it feels as if a typical member of the Lords ought to be different from a typical member of the Commons.

MPs tend to be young (relatively), pumped up with youthful hormones, and are often fiercely partisan. I think it's probably useful for a typical Lord to be more experienced, not such a slave to bodily fluids (perhaps apart from more frequent trips to the lavatory required in some cases) and who can, at least in principle, have a view of their own that doesn't have to fall in line with their normal political leanings.

If the Lords became an overflow Commons, I don't think it would be an improvement.

It's not necessarily an especially considered opinion on my part (more of a gut feeling), but democracy isn't ideal. When representatives have to fight for votes at relatively frequent intervals, politics can become more about the process than anything else. I think it's probably quite useful to have a chamber where the members don't have to worry so much about wooing voters (who, for the most part, don't really have a clue, e.g. most want lower taxes and more public services) and can get on with sanity-checking the outpourings of another chamber that specifically does have to worry about popularity, and has to time all their good and bad news around election times and such like.

So, in short -- maybe an elected second chamber isn't such a wonderful thing. Maybe we need some other form of chamber to keep democracy (as useful as it is in many respects) in check.

Edited by Ologhai Jones
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  • 441 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?

      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%

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