… goes the saying and I have yet to hear a good enough case, from a beneficial output point of view, to justify creating a wholly or mostly elected House of Lords.
I went to the Lords in 2007 and I never cease to be impressed by the sheer value for money the taxpayer and the voter gets from its workings and its input. Peers from all parties have experience in a certain field; they know what they’re talking about. In debate experienced experts can develop an argument in courteous silence for ten minutes; people who have done something with their lives. And they give their time, their experience and their knowledgeable input for free!
One excellent characteristic of the present system is the Crossbench. Non-aligned experts informing the debate and influencing the revision and amendment of legislation. For a Government of the day (of any party) to get legislation through the Lords it has to win the argument, not just whip dutiful party members into one lobby or another.
A fully or mostly elected Lords would lose the important existence of political neutrality. It would lose the experience and the sense of unpaid service. It would lose the knowledge. It could no longer be the conscience of the legislature.
And for what? So we could have a carbon copy of the Commons but worse, with party machines getting their way through careerist politicians who couldn’t get elected anywhere else?
For what? So the primacy of the Commons … quite right with its democratic mandate … is challenged every day from the understandable justification of similar elected representation.
I just don’t see what’s in it for the taxpaying voter?
By all means have, say, 20% of the seats elected.
By all means have every appointment made by an independent commission to rid the system of the enormous power of Prime Ministerial patronage.
By all means put a time limit of service on the system of say fifteen years and an age limit of 75 or 80.
By all means call them Senators. But full-blown reform? Where is the output? Where is the benefit?
It ain’t broke … so don’t in the name of misplaced ideology fix it.