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Select Lords by Lottery

1 Comment 4th February 2016

Smiley Scrutineers have replace the Lords

Going to first principles:  the main job of the House of Lords is to scrutinise laws made by the House of Commons.  

My suggestions would be:

1  Rename the House of Lords the House of Scrutineers.  

Lets face it the main job of the present Lords is to check laws made in the Commons.

2  We need to select people who are independent of the party influences.

I would suggest we adopt the methods of the ancient Athenians which is to identify potential candidates in each section of society and then select by lottery.  

How I would see it working is that we split the country into regions and then into different segments of society, such as:

  • corporate business
  • trade unions
  • small business
  • social enterprise
  • religion
  • the unemployed
  • charity sector
  • public sector and 
  • academia.  
  • Other sectors would need to be decided by discussion. 

People could apply to be candidates in one of these sections.  

There would be a vetting system for candidates dependent of the sector.  So the small business candidates would have to had worked for a small business or a relevant organisation, such as a Chamber of Commerce.  

There could be many or few candidates in each sector.  

The Lottery 

On a specific date each sector would be dealt with separately.  

So if their were say 300 candidates for the charity sector in the north-west and there were only 3 places in the new House of Scrutineers, then the names would be put into some form lottery, probably electronic, or like the balls in the Lottery, then the three successful applicants would be chosen.  

Terms of office for Scrutineers

It is assumed that Scrutineers would probably work the equivalent of half time and would therefore be eligible to combine this post with work in their appropriate sector or to work on projects for such organisations, such as the National Audit Office. 

Two year initial contract: I would suggest an initial two year contract for Scrutineers.  At the end of which the Scrutineer can resign or renew their contract.  There would also be some requirements of the Scrutineer to attend the House, to have voted and been in discussions and committees.  

Six year renewed contracts: The Scrutineer would then be able to renew their contract two, or possibly three, times.  This would ensure that there would a mixture of new Scrutineers as well as more experienced practitioners. 

Support

The Scrutineers would get a reasonable pay and a fixed living allowance.  In the region they come from there will be set up a secretarial and research service.  

Roles  

  • Scrutinise the work of the House of Commons
  • Evaluate existing laws and where necessary propose updates
  • Introduce laws for consideration by the commons.  

 

And the existng House of Lords?

  • It will lose its power.  
  • Whether existing Lords can retain their titles is a discussion for the public and the political class.
  • Some of the ceremonies, such as the Opening of Parliament, can be retained, as its good for tourism etc.  
  • However, the influence of the Lords will effectively have been removed.  

 

Why does this matter?

This idea is important in the following ways:

  1. It will produce better law
  2. It will improve the public's conception of democracy
  3. It will inhibit knee-jerk reaction, badly drafted laws
  4. It will be a counter-balance a too powerful Prime Minister or political elite
  5. It will provide an evaluation of the effectiveness of existing laws
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One Response to Select Lords by Lottery

  1. J Robertson says:

    I suggested something like this!

    Mr Cool has put it better though.

    I don’t mind the time lords of feel a student essay kind of need to discuss house of lords reform, as some MPs do, but I do notice the excess patronage for political croneys both in London and Dublin, and I’d like to get fresh ideas discussed too – hence noticing this web site.

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