I like that members of the House Of Lords cannot be leant on, and do not have to worry about re-election. It allows them to function as impartially as possible. I also like the idea that they get more and more expertise as time goes on, and we don't have worry about losing that expertise after a few years because they're pushed out of office.
What I'd like to see is a more proportional makeup of the House of Lords. But I'm not convinced that direct election is the way to go for that. Nor am I convinced that popularity is the correct way forward - if we're not going to be re-electing them every few years then we're talking about a very small number being elected each time (possibly one), and I can't see that working well.
So, what I'd like to see for the House of Lords is this:
For life (with the possibility of removal in the case of senility or some criminal acts). I think we can trust most people to retire when they reach the point they aren't functioning well any more.
If the number of members of the House of Lords is less than the number of members of the House of Commons, then the party (which has at least one MP) whose proportion of Lords is the furthest below the proportion** of their share of the vote at the last national election will name a new member.
This would mean that the membership will vary slowly in line with the proportions of recent elections, and stay generally in line with the general public. At the moment we have a ridiculously high number of people in the House of Lords(789 vs 650 MPs)***, so we may need either a purge down to the same number as the House Of Commons to start with, or an interim period where we replace 1 in every 2, to move things in the right direction until they achieve parity.
So, having come up with this on the bus into work this morning, I'm sure it's full of holes - someone care to point them out to me?
*The second chamber in the UK. It can revise and reject laws proposed by the first chamber - the House Of Commons. It used to be made up of hereditary peers, but nowadays is mostly made up of people appointed by whichever party is in power.
**i.e. calculate for each party "Percentage of vote - (Party Lords/Total Lords)" - the one that with the highest number gets to name the new member.
***Because having control of the Lords is handy, and there's no theoretical limit to the membership, parties like stacking it full of their own members.
Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comments there.