Should we scrap the unelected house of Lords?

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saayagain
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#41
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#41
(Original post by Birkenhead)
Elected judges? Are you insane?
I'm democratic..
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MaxReid
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#42
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(Original post by looseseal;[url="tel:58084943")
58084943[/url]]I would like to see proportional representation in the House of Lords and a fixed term of service.

PR would be hard to bring in to the House of Commons as it takes away the accountability of MPs whereas in the House of Lords it can serve to better represent the views of the public as a whole.
If the Lords was elected then it would be able to challenge the legislative supremacy and sovereignty of the Commons, because it would also be elected. In my opinion this could lead to legislative gridlock if both houses were elected and the Lords would surely have a strong case for the repeal of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 which curbed the power of the unelected House of Lords. Of course, if people didn't engage in split-ticket voting for the two chambers then with straight-ticket voting the two Houses would mirror each other. There would be scrutiny yes but less of it if both houses were controlled by the same party and there would be, in my view in that situation, essentially two House of Commons as an elected Lords could be a carbon copy, but if it used STV and a proportional system it would certainly be interesting to see the result of such extensive Lords reform.
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MaxReid
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#43
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(Original post by saayagain;[url="tel:58099161")
58099161[/url]]I'm democratic..
I am also a democrat (I believe in democracy) but I don't think we should politicize the judiciary in that way. I'm not saying the judiciary is not partisan but I think it would be politicized to too great a degree if it was an elected branch of government. I agree with Birkenhead on this point
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saayagain
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#44
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#44
(Original post by gladders)
Anything and everything that takes Members' fancy, as it should be.
This is bs then.

(Original post by gladders)
What type of question is that? They are a chamber of parliament. That should be sufficient.
So they just chat about stuff then let then vote on the legislation.

(Original post by gladders)
As error-free as possible, yes, given what they have to work with and that all legislation, over time, becomes more erroneous.
So why is a whole other house required? My instinct tells me the house of lords was originally created so that upper class people can have a say in government. The house of lords shouldn't exist.

(Original post by gladders)
Well, hang on. In your previous post you were making pretty clear noises about changing, not abolishing, the upper house. So which is it? Are you now saying it should be abolished?
Yeah. I've changed my mind. The role of the house of lords doesn't require another house. It just needs a review committee that works with the Commons when legislation is being created to ensure there are no errors. It should be a purely technical task.

(Original post by gladders)
Which is why we don't base policy on personal prejudice. Based on empirical analysis by such sources as UCL's Constitution Unit, the House of Lords is one of the busiest chambers in the world and certainly very effective at what it does. The general call about Lords reform is that most people acknowledge the excellent work the Lords does, but simply want it to be differently composed.
What do they do?!?! Give me examples.

(Original post by gladders)
They do, all the time. Committees especially. But an expert alone will be drowned out in the greater scheme of things, and honestly anyone can be dragged out and be a self-declared 'expert'. In order for it to be taken seriously as responded to, it has to be through Parliament. And it's always far more useful if the Member is themself the expert, who is questioning the minister directly.
So they don't need the house of lords.

(Original post by gladders)
Well firstly, they do do that, in both Houses, informally through MPs and also formally through consultations.

Such a process is enormously expensive. Moreover, you can't get everyone to participate, or participate in a way that's helpful. You can take a horse to water, but you can't get it to drink, sort of thing. A lot of the consultations descend into nothing more than NIMBY statements. Or the type of dross that's peddled on this forum sometimes.
Let the people vote on legislation.

(Original post by gladders)
That's the point. It's a revising chamber - not a blocking one, which is what we don't want. The Government deserves to get its legislation through as chosen by the people at the election. It's the job of the Lords to as much as it can turn broad-brush strokes of legislation into effective, tailored instruments.

And anyway, your claim about the Lords is false. The Lords blocks government legislative proposals all the time. I gave you a few examples in my previous post which you seem to have overlooked. Just the other week, the Lords defeated the government over regional devolution in England.

What's more, the Commons blocks government legislation even less regularly - what makes you think electing the Lords would make it behave any differently?
Exactly. We agree they just do their usual revisions and it gets through.

It's defeated. So what? What happens now? Why was it blocked? Why didn't the Lords vote in favour of the legislation? They submit an amendment and the Commons discusses it and puts it back in the House of Lords for a vote then it carries on.

(Original post by gladders)
Go read some literature by Professor Juan Linz on how the parliamentary system is light years superior to the presidential system. The Government predominates in parliament because it earned it, through winning the election. The Commons can strike down legislation outright whenever it likes, but doesn't because a majority of its legislators agree with the government. That's entirely fine.

Moreover, you know what tends to happen when the government thinks its legislation won't pass parliament? It doesn't submit the legislation at all. So simply counting the number of Bills blocked is inherently flawed.
Ok so you're okay with the lack of separation of powers. That's your silly position. The executive and the legislative are one branch. The Tories get 37% of the vote and have absolute control of the parliament lol

(Original post by gladders)
A very effective reviewing platform. In 2012-13 the Lords considered 71 bills, debated 3,800 changes to them, passed over a thousand, and 38 of those bills became law. In the same period It looked at 893 statutory instruments.
How do you know they are effective? Who said so? You?

(Original post by gladders)
I would argue 'control' is a bit too strong. It has a predominating influence, yes, but it can be overriden and defied in both chambers. The Lords more than the Commons.
Why are you trying to defy me at ever turn. It can't be overridden in the Commons and the Lords don't block legislation according to you.

(Original post by gladders)
Direct democracy is fine in certain circumstances by you can't govern 60 million people with it.
60 million people will govern themselves with it.

(Original post by gladders)
Well then you need an education
It doesn't. Their function can be carried out within the Commons in a review committee. No need to go to the House of Lords for the long, repetitive process of draft readings and committees.

(Original post by gladders)
Nah, not appealing in the slightest.
You like dictatorship then. Congrats
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saayagain
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#45
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(Original post by MaxReid)
I am also a democrat (I believe in democracy) but I don't think we should politicize the judiciary in that way. I'm not saying the judiciary is not partisan but I think it would be politicized to too great a degree if it was an elected branch of government. I agree with Birkenhead on this point
How are they selected in the UK? I don't even know...
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MaxReid
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#46
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(Original post by saayagain;[url="tel:58099429")
58099429[/url]]How are they selected in the UK? I don't even know...
I think there's a committee or something. I studied this last year in politics AND law, can't believe I don't remember
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Arbolus
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#47
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(Original post by saayagain)
What is the purpose of the upper house?

What is their relationship with the lower house and the citizens?

If the purpose is solely technical, then those who are in the upper house should have no affiliation with political parties (like a civil servant).

If the purpose is political, then it should be a house that represents those who are effected by the legislation so they can provide their relevant recommendations. (constituency level). This would require a change in the whole electoral system.

Their relationship with the lower house is close. MPs and speakers of the house move seamlessly into the house of lords. The PM can 'recommend' MPs for peerage. How is this an effective check and balance? When has the house of lords prevented a government bill going through? They haven't. Their power is limited to the power to review and recommend amendments.

Their relationship with the citizens is non existent.

So, overall, depending on the purpose of the upper house, it should either be depoliticized or changed into a 'The National Congress of Councils' where Councils have direct oversight of the legislative process therefore providing relevant input that should be incorporated into legislation. This must be coupled with a change in the electoral system for the lower house. It should move to a PR system, kind of like Switzerland. The head of government should comprise a multitude of parties if no outright majority stands. Which means informal coalitions will be required. The parties select their potential government members and people can choose on a party basis and person basis. This will create a nationally representative lower house and a relevant upper house. I haven't figured out how the legislative powers should be separated between the two houses. Generally the upper house should funnel people's thoughts to ensure that they are considered during the legislative process.

What do you think?
So you're essentially saying that the House of Lords needs to be radically reformed, rather than abolished altogether? As it happens, I agree.

The role of the Lords can either be one of decision-making and setting policy, or one of reviewing and moderating those decisions and policies, but not both. If the latter, then as you say it needs to be politically neutral - but electing members would be actively counterproductive towards this, because anyone standing for election has no choice but to hold a political position and make promises and bargains in order to persuade people that they're better than the other candidates. If the former, then members would need to be elected in order to reflect the opinions of the country as a whole, but we already have the House of Commons to do that. We don't need two Commons.

(It could be argued that, in fact, our voting system means the Commons doesn't actually reflect the opinions of the country as a whole, but that's a debate for another time.)

My preferred option, then, would be to keep the Lords appointed as it is now, but to remove the power of appointment from the Prime Minister and instead give it to an independent committee made up of a small number of sitting MPs, Lords, and non-politicians chosen from among the electorate by lot. The members from the Commons and Lords could be elected by each chamber, but only so long as they agree to leave their parties and be completely non-partisan in their choices, like the Speakers are supposed to be. Such a system should eliminate the political appointments frequently given to former MPs and government ministers who have done nothing to deserve it, whilst ensuring that the idea of selecting for experience and expertise rather than popularity is maintained.
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MaxReid
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#48
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#48
An independent House of Lords Appointments Committee is a good idea
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saayagain
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#49
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(Original post by Arbolus)
So you're essentially saying that the House of Lords needs to be radically reformed, rather than abolished altogether? As it happens, I agree.

The role of the Lords can either be one of decision-making and setting policy, or one of reviewing and moderating those decisions and policies, but not both. If the latter, then as you say it needs to be politically neutral - but electing members would be actively counterproductive towards this, because anyone standing for election has no choice but to hold a political position and make promises and bargains in order to persuade people that they're better than the other candidates. If the former, then members would need to be elected in order to reflect the opinions of the country as a whole, but we already have the House of Commons to do that. We don't need two Commons.

(It could be argued that, in fact, our voting system means the Commons doesn't actually reflect the opinions of the country as a whole, but that's a debate for another time.)

My preferred option, then, would be to keep the Lords appointed as it is now, but to remove the power of appointment from the Prime Minister and instead give it to an independent committee made up of a small number of sitting MPs, Lords, and non-politicians chosen from among the electorate by lot. The members from the Commons and Lords could be elected by each chamber, but only so long as they agree to leave their parties and be completely non-partisan in their choices, like the Speakers are supposed to be. Such a system should eliminate the political appointments frequently given to former MPs and government ministers who have done nothing to deserve it, whilst ensuring that the idea of selecting for experience and expertise rather than popularity is maintained.
I've recently changed my view and advocate a removal of the House of Lords. Their role should be taken over by an independent group that reviews legislation for technical issues. Civil servants that are there to make sure legislation doesn't have errors. The Commons should include a more comprehensive debate and inspection of legislation so as to ensure that the legislation covers all the areas it is supposed to.

The way the members of parliament are selected needs to be change too.
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newpersonage
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(Original post by TomatoLounge)
I think we should definitely scrap the house of Lords; it's absurd, outdated and unaccountable. ..
Britain has a Parliamentary System in which the House of Commons is sovereign. The role of the Lords is to vet legislation and hand it back to the Commons if they believe it is flawed.

The most sensible amendment to the Lords would be to scrap hereditary peerages and replace these with members such as the President of the Royal Society etc. Peerages should be for 20 years so that they outlast temporary fads in society.

Under no circumstances should we create a second elected chamber. This would add no expertise and simply provide another talking shop.
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looseseal
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#51
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(Original post by MaxReid)
If the Lords was elected then it would be able to challenge the legislative supremacy and sovereignty of the Commons, because it would also be elected. In my opinion this could lead to legislative gridlock if both houses were elected and the Lords would surely have a strong case for the repeal of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 which curbed the power of the unelected House of Lords. Of course, if people didn't engage in split-ticket voting for the two chambers then with straight-ticket voting the two Houses would mirror each other. There would be scrutiny yes but less of it if both houses were controlled by the same party and there would be, in my view in that situation, essentially two House of Commons as an elected Lords could be a carbon copy, but if it used STV and a proportional system it would certainly be interesting to see the result of such extensive Lords reform.
Sorry, I think you misunderstood me when i referred to a PR system being used for the House of Lords which is not suprising considering my post is very ambiguous. Here's what I told another poster:

Its composition should reflect the proportion of votes in the country. In other words, each party will have a fixed number of individuals that they would be allowed to select for the House of Lords dependent on the percentage of votes they received in the general election. Combine this with a fixed term of service and you get, in effect, a PR system.
This also allows a second chamber more representative of the will of the public in regards to party support. Of course, such a chamber is only necessary while FPTP remains for the House of Commons.

Additionally, if it were desired that members of the House of Lords were required to have a certain expertise (i.e. an almost technocratic system) then an independent panel would be able to evaluate the suitability of each individual selected by the parties.

Also, this system still allows scope for members without political leaning to be selected to the chamber (also to be done by an independent panel).

With regard to the respective power of each chamber, I would say that the current convention for not permitting the House of Lords to block policies explicitly stated in a party's manifesto should remain.
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MaxReid
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#52
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(Original post by looseseal;[url="tel:58103083")
58103083[/url]]Sorry, I think you misunderstood me when i referred to a PR system being used for the House of Lords which is not suprising considering my post is very ambiguous. Here's what I told another poster:



This also allows a second chamber more representative of the will of the public in regards to party support. Of course, such a chamber is only necessary while FPTP remains for the House of Commons.

Additionally, if it were desired that members of the House of Lords were required to have a certain expertise (i.e. an almost technocratic system) then an independent panel would be able to evaluate the suitability of each individual selected by the parties.

Also, this system still allows scope for members without political leaning to be selected to the chamber (also to be done by an independent panel).

With regard to the respective power of each chamber, I would say that the current convention for not permitting the House of Lords to block policies explicitly stated in a party's manifesto should remain.
I wish for that convention to remain but I don't think it could if the Lords were elected as the Upper House would no longer be unelected.
Essentially I don't think an elected Upper House is compatible with the sovereignty and legislative supremacy of the Commons.
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looseseal
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#53
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(Original post by MaxReid)
I wish for that convention to remain but I don't think it could if the Lords were elected as the Upper House would no longer be unelected.
Essentially I don't think an elected Upper House is compatible with the sovereignty and legislative supremacy of the Commons.
That's why I wish for it to remain unelected. The system I proposed is essentially the same system as we have now aside from the fact that parties are limited in the number of individuals they are allowed to grant peerages. These peerages will also be of a fixed term thereby allowing the composition of the House of Lords to remain representative of the proportion of votes cast in each general election.

In this system, a party such as UKIP may have only 1 MP under the FPTP system in the House of Commons but be allowed to select up to 26 members in the House of Lords if each GE percentage point represented 2 members in the House of Lords. Of course this system is not perfect but I feel it's probably the closest we'll get to PR while retaining the accountability of MPs for each respective constituency.
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TinDrummer
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#54
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The House of Lords is the largest parliamentary chamber in any democracy. It is surpassed in size only by China’s National People’s Congress (2987 members), and membership of the Lords is growing. It is the personal privilege of the PM to appoint or agree to the appointment of new members ( so very open to many forms of corruption or cronyism). By continuing to allow a significant role for unelected parliamentarians, the UK finds itself in the company of states such as Belize, Lesotho, Madagascar, Oman, Russia and Saudi Arabia.A second PR elected chamber with fixed terms and mid term elections would allow oversight of the commons (which is also in need of reform). Whilst in the second chamber members interests should be restricted to only their parliamentary work. Regulation and proper management of it should be with the law courts and not in the chamber. Recall by local electorate should be amandatory process every mid term. A term could be seven years to give a longer view than the commons and no one should be allowed more than 2 terms.
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TinDrummer
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#55
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The House of Lords is the largest parliamentary chamber in any democracy. It is surpassed in size only by China’s National People’s Congress (2987 members), and membership of the Lords is growing. It is the personal privilege of the PM to appoint or agree to the appointment of new members ( so very open to many forms of corruption or cronyism). By continuing to allow a significant role for unelected parliamentarians, the UK finds itself in the company of states such as Belize, Lesotho, Madagascar, Oman, Russia and Saudi Arabia.A second PR elected chamber with fixed terms and mid term elections would allow oversight of the commons (which is also in need of reform). Whilst in the second chamber members interests should be restricted to only their parliamentary work. Regulation and proper management of it should be with the law courts and not in the chamber. Recall by local electorate should be amandatory process every mid term. A term could be seven years to give a longer view than the commons and no one should be allowed more than 2 terms.
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