How should peers be chosen?
All appointed
35.7% (10)
35.7% (10)
75% appointed 25% elected
7.1% (2)
7.1% (2)
50% appointed 50% elected
3.6% (1)
3.6% (1)
25% appointed 75% elected
3.6% (1)
3.6% (1)
All elected
21.4% (6)
21.4% (6)
Abolish the House of Lords
17.9% (5)
17.9% (5)
Other
7.1% (2)
7.1% (2)
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Poll: Should the House of Lords be elected/reformed?

So, we've been discussing this in my politics class recently, and I was wondering what my escapist compatriots thought about this, especially since this is the Lib Dems big thing now that AV is dead. For the benefit of those who are unaware, the House of Lords is currently fully appointed.

Also, non-british escapists feel free to share your opinion on this.

For what it's worth, I like it how it is, the Lords has a lot of expertise that the Commons lacks, and protects a lot of important things, like healthcare, although that's gone through now.

I'm English.

I believe the House of Lords is essential, as it provides a group of people who are not beholden to popular opinion.

While democracy is a wonderful thing, it is essentially mob rule. Law making should, at least in part, be about what is good for the nation as an ongoing political entity not just about what is "right" or what people feel like at that moment.

From an outside perspective I can see how it makes sense to have expert opinions actually take part in the final say of government, not just advise them. On the other hand there is still the nutjobbery that is Lords Spiritual and the hereditary peers.

I think the most important thing is what the people want. In Australia and the US, systems derived from the UK, the upper house is made up of representatives by state, with states having equal representatives. My guess is that the small geographical size of the UK makes geographical representation less of an issue.

75% Appointed.
25% elected.

Also no man or woman who has served in the house of Commons may be appointed to a position in the lords. The may be elected to a position but not appointed.

I agree that the Lords purpose is mainly to be the wise elder that looks over the country but can be vetoed ifthere is a clear demand for that decision.

Making the change so that former MP's cannot be appointed to lords will stop bastards such as Mandleson being kept on and on and on without the Public having a say. Also rewarding those with a long political career with a peerage thus staying in Parliment... no... stop doing that... if they want to continue then they must be elected.

Also take appointment out of the hands of politicians and into that of a select committee of lords so people like business specialists, economists, industry specialists, scientists, doctors, long time soldiers, outstanding induviduals etc etc. No more party affiliated politicians in all but name...

pyrate:
On the other hand there is still the nutjobbery that is Lords Spiritual and the hereditary peers.

Lord Spiritual... meh, only a few of 'em though I do see you point.

The Hereditary Peers have been dealt with once and for all... 90% of them were gotten rid of and the remaining 10% will not be replaced by their "heir" but those remaining are experianced peers who... yeah let them stay until death... it'll only be 20 years at most until they are all gone. Unless one of them is very lucky/healthy.

im aussie so it doesnt really matter to me but i voted abolish it, but i do think it should be replaced.

as far as my limited understanding goes the house of lords as slowly had its power stripped over the years to the point that it doesnt do much that could not be accomplished by a much more efficient system. it also has the issue that some people are kind of born into it (even though that was ended wasnt it? but there are still those people in there) and you have the religious lords or whatever they are called.

so i do not think you need a house of lords, especially one with over 700 members. i do think there should be some sort of upper house though whose job would be similar to what our senate committees in australia do.

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=com-list.htm

theres the website for our senate committees if you have no idea what i am talking about. it lists the committees and what they do. for example we have the scrutiny of bills committee whos job is to

"The committee examines all bills which come before the Parliament and reports to the Senate whether such bills:

trespass unduly on personal rights and liberties;

make rights, liberties or obligations unduly dependent upon insufficiently defined administrative powers;

make rights, liberties or obligations unduly dependent upon non-reviewable decisions;

inappropriately delegate legislative powers; or

insufficiently subject the exercise of legislative power to parliamentary scrutiny."

so basically i think a 700+ member house of lords is not needed any more and should be replaced with a smaller house with much more defined roles in government accountability. i also do not see why having appointed people to this role would be an issue, assuming the appointing is not done by the house of commons.

reonhato:
im aussie so it doesnt really matter to me but i voted abolish it, but i do think it should be replaced.

as far as my limited understanding goes the house of lords as slowly had its power stripped over the years to the point that it doesnt do much that could not be accomplished by a much more efficient system. it also has the issue that some people are kind of born into it (even though that was ended wasnt it? but there are still those people in there) and you have the religious lords or whatever they are called.

so i do not think you need a house of lords, especially one with over 700 members. i do think there should be some sort of upper house though whose job would be similar to what our senate committees in australia do.

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=com-list.htm

theres the website for our senate committees if you have no idea what i am talking about. it lists the committees and what they do. for example we have the scrutiny of bills committee whos job is to

"The committee examines all bills which come before the Parliament and reports to the Senate whether such bills:

trespass unduly on personal rights and liberties;

make rights, liberties or obligations unduly dependent upon insufficiently defined administrative powers;

make rights, liberties or obligations unduly dependent upon non-reviewable decisions;

inappropriately delegate legislative powers; or

insufficiently subject the exercise of legislative power to parliamentary scrutiny."

so basically i think a 700+ member house of lords is not needed any more and should be replaced with a smaller house with much more defined roles in government accountability. i also do not see why having appointed people to this role would be an issue, assuming the appointing is not done by the house of commons.

We do have committees like that in the UK, called legislative committees, each House forms one to scrutinise a bill, and it dissolves once its job is done.

We made ours elected in the 19th century, and in 1953 we abolished it. During its tenure it worked desperately to maintain the conservative military dictatorship up until 1901, at which point it fought against universal suffrage, female suffrage, and then against the efforts of the elected government to prevent the economy from collapsing during the Great Depression.

I went for all elected. It's crazy insane and insane crazy that representatives from the church still hold seats there, same for positions based on nobility.

With the understanding that this election shouldn't be direct, as that would undo part of the point behind having a two chambered parliament. If the UK has provincial or other lower authorities who are elected it might be an idea to let those elect the members of the house of lords.

Blablahb:
I went for all elected. It's crazy insane and insane crazy that representatives from the church still hold seats there, same for positions based on nobility.

With the understanding that this election shouldn't be direct, as that would undo part of the point behind having a two chambered parliament. If the UK has provincial or other lower authorities who are elected it might be an idea to let those elect the members of the house of lords.

Well we have county/town councils, but they're fairly far down the hierarchy. Alternatively there are the devolved Assemblies/Parliament, but England doesn't have one, so it wouldn't really be fair.

As far as the church thing goes, there are only about 24 (I think) in a House of around 800 peers, which cannot make or decisively alter legislation anyway, so they don't really do any harm.

DJjaffacake:

reonhato:
im aussie so it doesnt really matter to me but i voted abolish it, but i do think it should be replaced.

as far as my limited understanding goes the house of lords as slowly had its power stripped over the years to the point that it doesnt do much that could not be accomplished by a much more efficient system. it also has the issue that some people are kind of born into it (even though that was ended wasnt it? but there are still those people in there) and you have the religious lords or whatever they are called.

so i do not think you need a house of lords, especially one with over 700 members. i do think there should be some sort of upper house though whose job would be similar to what our senate committees in australia do.

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=com-list.htm

theres the website for our senate committees if you have no idea what i am talking about. it lists the committees and what they do. for example we have the scrutiny of bills committee whos job is to

"The committee examines all bills which come before the Parliament and reports to the Senate whether such bills:

trespass unduly on personal rights and liberties;

make rights, liberties or obligations unduly dependent upon insufficiently defined administrative powers;

make rights, liberties or obligations unduly dependent upon non-reviewable decisions;

inappropriately delegate legislative powers; or

insufficiently subject the exercise of legislative power to parliamentary scrutiny."

so basically i think a 700+ member house of lords is not needed any more and should be replaced with a smaller house with much more defined roles in government accountability. i also do not see why having appointed people to this role would be an issue, assuming the appointing is not done by the house of commons.

We do have committees like that in the UK, called legislative committees, each House forms one to scrutinise a bill, and it dissolves once its job is done.

yeah but its not exactly the same. you guys have people from the house of commons looking over the stuff from the house of commons... can you see where things could get a bit iffy.

even if your system does work and the chance of corruption is low i do believe there is potential for issues to arise.

Keep it. It might need some reform in various ways, but as it stands it provides a very important check & balance to the power of the sitting government.

Can you imagine what state the country might be in right now if the House of Lords was elected too? We'd either have heavily-conservative second-chamber that would mean all Acts get thrown straight through the parliamentary system without any efficient analysis and criticisms of the bills (because in order to pander to the electorate, the Lords of respective parties are largely going to be touting the party line). Look at the number of amendments to the Health Care reforms - if the Lords was stacked in the same manner a "Lords coalition" would have just put Andrew Lansley's propositions through totally unmodified. I guarantee that it would not be long before there were "whips" in the Lords as well as the Commons.

No, it is far better to have an appointed chamber, particularly as it largely acts on its areas of expertise and analysis of what is best for the public in line with what the public wants, rather than pandering to the party base.

Votes "Other", as I don't know if a percentage-split between appointees and elected would strike a fair balance, but the system as it is seems to be working quite well.

reonhato:

DJjaffacake:

reonhato:
im aussie so it doesnt really matter to me but i voted abolish it, but i do think it should be replaced.

as far as my limited understanding goes the house of lords as slowly had its power stripped over the years to the point that it doesnt do much that could not be accomplished by a much more efficient system. it also has the issue that some people are kind of born into it (even though that was ended wasnt it? but there are still those people in there) and you have the religious lords or whatever they are called.

so i do not think you need a house of lords, especially one with over 700 members. i do think there should be some sort of upper house though whose job would be similar to what our senate committees in australia do.

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=com-list.htm

theres the website for our senate committees if you have no idea what i am talking about. it lists the committees and what they do. for example we have the scrutiny of bills committee whos job is to

"The committee examines all bills which come before the Parliament and reports to the Senate whether such bills:

trespass unduly on personal rights and liberties;

make rights, liberties or obligations unduly dependent upon insufficiently defined administrative powers;

make rights, liberties or obligations unduly dependent upon non-reviewable decisions;

inappropriately delegate legislative powers; or

insufficiently subject the exercise of legislative power to parliamentary scrutiny."

so basically i think a 700+ member house of lords is not needed any more and should be replaced with a smaller house with much more defined roles in government accountability. i also do not see why having appointed people to this role would be an issue, assuming the appointing is not done by the house of commons.

We do have committees like that in the UK, called legislative committees, each House forms one to scrutinise a bill, and it dissolves once its job is done.

yeah but its not exactly the same. you guys have people from the house of commons looking over the stuff from the house of commons... can you see where things could get a bit iffy.

even if your system does work and the chance of corruption is low i do believe there is potential for issues to arise.

It's true that legislative committees in the Commons are dominated by the government, but the Lords forms one as well, which gets more time and is more neutral, but yeah, I see your point.

Australia has much the same system to how I believe the UK operates, except the upper houses are elected, though in a very different way to the lower houses.

thaluikhain:
Australia has much the same system to how I believe the UK operates, except the upper houses are elected, though in a very different way to the lower houses.

australia uses what is often called the washminster system because it is a combination of the UK and US system. it is often ranked in the top 5 as the most open and accountable governments in the world. when you have this kind of openness about government it really helps to push that whole government should fear the people, not the people should fear the government thing america has going on.

personally (if you cannot already tell) i think openness and accountability are the most important things in government. if you cannot get those things right then chances are things will being to fall and fail in other areas.

i basically agree with Craorach.

i think it should appointed and have some kind of independent panel + a separate public nomination process + possibly a voting aspect at some point in the process.

possibly with nominations coming from both the panel and the public and then subjected to a threshold vote via internet and post ?

so for example someone gets nominated and then has to get X hundred thousand public votes then the are invited to serve.

i did actually start a thread a while back asking for peoples "nominations" to the lords as an attempt at a lighter "fun" thread (that mostly turned into me trying to explain the house of lords to Seekster if i remember correctly:P).

there is an aspect of the house of lords that is about meritocracy and valuing the experience of (generally semi retired & aged) "experts" in almost every walk of life and imo if anything its that aspect that should be extended not the party political aspect.

gawd help us we don't need more of that.

i've written quite a lot about the house of lords before on these forums (and about the actual value of the meritocracy that is the civil service some people hold a wholly negative few of because they are "unelected & undemocratic" ) and i'd love to rattle of a page about how valuable these things actually are imo for the nation but i'm feeling a bit scunnered atm and dont have wherewithal to make a decent show of it so i'll leave it at that and hopefully someone else will lift and carry the torch.

i may come back to the thread later of i feel a bit better.

what i will say is the situation atm where appointments are virtually in the hands of the sitting prime minster is almost a hidden constitutional crisis and has been hugely abused by the current one.

The system now is working fine. Their power is mostly symbolic and they can't really do anything effectively, but they can bring attention to something if it really goes off the rails.

Sleekit:
the situation atm where appointments are virtually in the hands of the sitting prime minster is almost a hidden constitutional crisis and has been hugely abused by the current one.

Actually they're in the hands of an appointments committee, and although the PM is on the committee, he's the only politician.

The problem with an elected house of lords is that it may just end up being a clone of the house of commons, removing any power it had to veto anything by removing the desire to veto anything.

There may be reforms that could be made to turn the house of lords into a true "Panel of experts" that it should be.

Craorach:
I'm English.

I believe the House of Lords is essential, as it provides a group of people who are not beholden to popular opinion.

While democracy is a wonderful thing, it is essentially mob rule. Law making should, at least in part, be about what is good for the nation as an ongoing political entity not just about what is "right" or what people feel like at that moment.

Pretty much this, minus the "im english" part. Although I would take that a bit further.

The popular opinion of the masses has never been a good basis for either electing officials or for making laws and should, in my opinion, be restricted to the role of ensuring that the government remains fair and effective.

I think that if oligarchs have no political representation in a society, that they will simply use their powerbases to undermine it's system of government until they do.
Better to recognise this political relationship than to disenfranchise it.

I also consider wealthy people to be less corruptable.

Shakepeare addresses this subject in his play Julius Caesar

Caesar:
Let me have men about me that are fat,
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights.
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look,
He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.

Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2, 190-195

 

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