HOUSE OF LORDS REFORM
Why do we have to reform the House of Lords?
It is now universally accepted that the House of Lords is in need of significant reform. The reasons for this widely held view are many, and only the most significant shall be discussed here.
1 – Members of the House of Lords are appointed using archaic systems that are anti-democratic and anti-meritocratic. It is also possible that many individuals who have been awarded peerages have received them in return for party political donations, an issue highlighted by the cash for honours scandal which, rather predictably, found no wrongdoing.
2 – The House of Lords has been continually abused by many of its peers who often take their £300 per day allowance for doing little of nothing in return. Many of those holding peerages are also at a stage of their lives were simply remaining awake in the chamber is a challenge.
In summary, the House of Lords is mostly populated with individuals who have often been appointed for poor reasons, are often poor value for money and often lack the skills and/or intelligence to perform the work properly.
The current House of Lords must be entirely dissolved and then repopulated using a meritocratic system of appointment.
Detailed reform principles
The following reforms are necessary to deliver a second chamber that the public can trust and respect.
A – Any member of the public may apply to become a member of the House of Lords.
B – The first stage for all applicants will be a series of assessments designed to grade individuals in several areas. These should include character, psychological health, intellect and knowledge. The H.O.C.D.E will develop all assessments used in the selection process for the House of Lords.
C – The most promising 650 candidates from stage 1 will then be rigorously background screened with those who are cleared being appointed. The best candidates who failed the first cut of stage 1 shall then be used to replace those who fail stage 2 background screening. This will continue until the full complement of 650 has been reached.
D – Successful candidates shall be awarded with a single 5 year term in the House of Lords that is non repeatable*. Unsuccessful candidates will however be able to reapply.
E – The House of Lords will retain the powers it currently holds and shall be further invested with a limited power of veto over the House of Commons. This veto may only be invoked when a majority of peers charge the House of Commons with pursuing policies that violate the public interest, place members of the public at undue risk, or are suspected of being motivated by political corruption.
*Singular terms of five years must also be applied to all mid and senior level civil service positions.
The UK has many extraordinarily gifted people, yet our structures of power are continually filled with lesser individuals. It is now time for us to insist that our very best and brightest have access to these front line positions so we can realise a superior form of governance. Until we make this a reality our nation will never reach its full potential, and we all pay a price for that.
Shouldn’t members of the house of lords be elected?
The answer to this question is yes if our intention is to create a second House of Commons with all the same failings as the first one. If however we believe that it is necessary to create a second chamber that is distinct from the House of Commons, such that it is capable of bringing a completely different perspective to the process of law making, then the answer is no. It is vital that the composition of the House of Lords is thoroughly balanced in every way, and this cannot be achieved using personality based system of elections. An appointment system is necessary to meet this requirement however it must be an appointment system that places meritocracy at its heart, and opens itself fully to the every member of the public.
Why should the lords be able to veto legislation?
The House of Commons has many serious problems some of which are so grave that the executive can, and often does, press for legislation that violates the public interest. When this occurs a safety valve is necessary to protect the public, but also to give the H.O.C.D.E an opportunity to look more closely at the actions of the executive, the motivations for them and consider whether an formal investigation is required.
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